Ralph Lauren Corp. has agreed to issue a report on its environmental and social practices next year in response to pressure from the trustee of New York State’s pension fund.
This story first appeared in the May 29, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Thomas DiNapoli, the state’s comptroller, had submitted a shareholder resolution requiring such an account but withdrew the measure after the New York-based company agreed to issue a sustainability report when it files its next annual report. The company’s most recent report, covering the fiscal year ended March 30, was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last Thursday.
A spokeswoman for Ralph Lauren confirmed the firm had agreed to issue the report in tandem with its year-end filings.
DiNapoli is the sole trustee for the New York State Common Retirement Fund, which covers state and local government workers in New York State and has requested similar reports from other companies in which the fund has invested. In March, his office disclosed agreements with Best Buy and Bed Bath & Beyond calling for the retailers’ suppliers to account for their sustainability practices.
The fund was also one of several sponsors of the shareholder initiative pressing Urban Outfitters Inc. to expand the diversity of its board, a proposal voted upon by the company’s shareholders Tuesday. The results of Tuesday’s vote weren’t available at press time. Similar resolutions failed in 2011 and 2012, receiving 22 percent and 39 percent shareholder support, respectively. The nomination of Margaret Hayne, president of Urban’s Free People unit and wife of founder and chief executive officer Richard Hayne, to serve on the board and become its only female director “failed to meet the resolution’s request for an open and inclusive candidate selection process,” read a statement issued by DiNapoli’s office on Monday. DiNapoli characterized Margaret Hayne as “the ultimate insider.”
As in previous years, Urban’s board has opposed the proposal, stating it “could impede [the firm’s] ability to select the most suitable and qualified candidates for membership on the board of directors and would impose unnecessary administrative burdens and costs.”