Corporate governance e sostenibilità: dice la sua Blackrock

Circa il tema in oggetto, sempre più importante, Blackrock (poi: B.), uno dei maggiori investitori al mondo (se non il maggiore in assoluto), ha fatto uscire il Report sui propri progetti Our approach to  sustainability-BlackRock Investment Stewardship, n° 343750-EN-JUL2020 (informazioni aggiornate a luglio 2020, si legge).

Riguarda non solo l’emergenza ambientale, ma anche altri aspetti della sostenibilità. Il succo è che B. si attiverà per promuoverla, pungolando il management delle società partecipate, ritenendo che la sostenibilità socioambientale sia anche portatrice di profitti.

Il punto è invero discusso, ma -nel lungo termine-  probabilmente è così (è solo questione di durata temporale della prospettiva di investimento adottata). Il vero punto giuridico è: alla luce del fatto che  la catastrofe ambientale, cui stiamo andando incontro, è assai probabile se non certa, la sostenibilità può essere perseguita anche se pregiudica nell’immediato i profitti, nel caso -frequentissimo, se non totaltiario- che il contratto di “ingaggio” del management e quello sociale nulla dicano in proposito? O magari anche se questi documenti contrattuali per ipotesi si esprimessero contro la sostenibilità, invocando una prospettiva di corto periodo?

Vediamo alcuni passi di queste dichiraizoni pubblicate da B..

sezione 1 sul clima:

<In our direct dialogue with company leadership, we seek to understand how a company’s strategy, operations and long-term performance would be affected by the transition to a low-carbon economy and other climate risks. Broadly, we aim to ensure that companies are effectively managing the risks and opportunities presented by climate change and that their strategies and operations are aligned with the transition to a low-carbon economy – and specifically, the Paris Agreement’s scenario of limiting warming to two degrees Celsius or less, which is laid out in the ‘Metrics and Targets’ pillar of the TCFD framework. Such engagement can help inform the approach taken by corporate leadership as they advance their sustainability practices and disclosure>, p. 7

Il processo “persuasivo” sarà graduale: <Our approach employs a natural escalation process. If we are not satisfied with a company’s disclosures, we typically put it ‘on watch’ and give the company 12 to 18 months to meet our expectations. (The complexity of many sustainability issues may necessitate detailed reviews of operations by the company if it is to make substantive disclosures that inform investors.) If a company has still failed to make progress after this timeframe, voting action against management typically follows.>, p. 8.

B. spiega il votare contro il management e l’appoggiare proposte dei soci: <When we vote against a company, we do so with a singular purpose: maximizing long-term value for shareholders. There are two main categories of our voting actions: holding directors accountable and supporting shareholder proposals. Both can be valuable tools in the stewardship toolkit. Shareholder proposals, while often non-binding and less common outside of the U.S., can garner significant attention and send a strong public signal of disapproval. Our approach typically employs votes against directors more frequently since they are a globally applicable signal of concern; additionally, significant votes against directors register strongly with both the individual director and the full board, and, importantly, failure to win a substantial majority frequently results in a director stepping down before the next annual meeting.>, p. 9

Quanto alle proposte degli azionisti, dice così: <Voting on shareholder proposals offers another way to express targeted disapproval of a company’s policies or practices. BIS may support shareholder proposals that address issues material to a company’s business model, which need to be remedied urgently and that, once remedied, would help build long-term value. We may support proposals seeking enhanced disclosure if the information requested would be useful to us as an investor and if management has not already substantively provided it. To gain our support, the requests made in a shareholder proposal should be reasonable and achievable in the time frame specified. In some cases, shareholder proposals address issues that may not be material to the company’s business operations or risk or suggest changes that are not reasonably achievable within the specified timeframe. In such instances, we generally decline to support the proposals but may vote against directors where we agree that the proposal highlights a failure (such as insufficient climate  risk disclosure).>, p. 9-10.

sezione2 : Promoting transparency on climate and broader sustainability risks:

Prosegue B dicendo che spingerà le società <to use the TCFD framework and SASB standards as the basis for their sustainability reporting. Both are practitioner-led and continue to evolve in response to feedback from stakeholders on the materiality of certain sustainability issues, on what information is most relevant to investment decision-making and on the need for globally applicable, industry-specific reporting standards. BlackRock contributes to improving market practices, as an original member of the TCFD Board and a member of the Investor Advisory Group of the SASB. We also expect that emerging regulatory standards, particularly the European Union’s Non-Financial Reporting Directive, will provide the granular, comparable metrics and targets that investors are seeking.>, p. 18.

La sostenibilità, poi, va oltre la questione climatica, involvendo altri profili tra cui la qualità dei rapporti interpersonali: <It is our investment conviction, grounded in research, that companies with sustainable business practices can deliver better long-term, risk-adjusted returns. Companies with clear purpose that build strong relationships with their employees, suppliers, and other stakeholders are more likely to meet their strategic objectives, while poor relationships can reduce productivity, harm product and service quality, and even jeopardize a company’s social license to operate. For this reason, we have long made human capital management one of our engagement priorities. Our broad approach to human capital management touches upon eight of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – including decent work and economic growth, gender equality, reduced inequalities, and good health and well-being. Well-supported employees, who align with the company’s purpose, are more likely to be engaged and play a central role in creating sustainable long-term value. As such, our approach focuses on the board’s effectiveness in overseeing how a company meets the expectations of its workforce.>, p. 21.