Hain-Celestial: Request for Report on Sustainability Goals and Progress
WHEREAS: Hain Celestial (Hain) is admired for its leading environmental and social efforts, mission, and innovative brand portfolio.
Tracking and reporting environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices strengthens a company’s ability to compete in today’s global business environment. Reporting helps companies capture value from existing sustainability efforts, identify opportunities, and recruit and retain employees. A 2014 Harvard Business School study concluded that corporate investment in ESG practices led to consistent outperformance among sustainability leaders and suggested that a supporting factor was the “propensity to engage with stakeholders and disclose non-financial information to the market.” 1
Shareholders were encouraged by the detailed and measurable goals Hain set out in “The Healthier Way Vision” which take into account the social, environmental, and health impacts of the Company’s products and supply chains. However, the deadlines for Hain’s sustainability goals are quickly approaching, and investors have not received updates on the Company’s progress in meeting these goals.
Hain’s most recent sustainability report was published for 2015, and the Company has not responded to the 2017 CDP Water Questionnaire. Without publicly available information, shareholders are unable to make informed risk assessments or understand the Company’s progress toward implementation of its stated goals.
A recent Ceres report benchmarking water management and stewardship policies in the agricultural industry ranked Hain 18 out of 21 in the packaged food industry, scoring 65 points lower than leader Nestle.2 In contrast, several peer companies track multiple ESG goals and publish measurable progress in annual sustainability reports such as:
General Mills and Kellogg have committed to sustainably source and report on key ingredient inputs by 2020;
Unilever calculates its water footprint down to product impact per consumer use, and discloses amounts of pesticides avoided by farmers utilizing sustainable practices;
Campbell Soup reports on progress reducing nitrogen use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually.
Hain’s lack of sustainability reporting in recent years in comparison to peer companies risks irreparable damage to the Company’s brand reputation.
BE IT RESOLVED: Shareholders request the Company issue a sustainability report, prepared at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, describing its policies, performance, and improvement targets related to key ESG risks and opportunities. The report should be available on the Company's website within 12 months of the 2017 annual meeting.
SUPPORTING STATEMENT: Shareholders recommend that the report include:
discussion of the Company’s approach to managing water stewardship throughout its supply chain;
discussion of the Company’s approach to managing and mitigating the impacts of pesticide use in its agricultural supply chain, including impacts on pollinators;
discussion of the Company’s approach to managing climate risks in its supply chain, including an assessment of time-bound, quantitative, company-wide goals for reducing total GHG emissions;
relevant metrics, goals, and timelines for 1-3.
We recommend the Company use a transparent mechanism to regularly disclose progress in adopting and implementing stated policies and goals, such as CDP, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), and/or the Global Reporting Initiative.
As You Sow and Green Century Equity Fund
Initiative(s): GMOs and Pesticides
Status: Withdrawn; Company will address