BIS regularly reviews Sanderson Farms’ governance structure and risk profile. In advance of this year’s annual meeting, BIS had two engagements with the company’s board and management where we discussed a range of material issues driving long-term shareholder value, including board oversight and company disclosures regarding environmental and social issues. Sustainability topics we covered during the engagements include energy conservation efforts, waste management, greenhouse gas emissions management, water stewardship, and human rights.
In their latest corporate responsibility report, Sanderson Farms discloses their annual corporate water usage as well as their water conservation goals and renovation initiatives. Additionally, the company’s 2020 proxy statement provides additional details relating to its sustainable agriculture initiatives and high water stress exposure. Regarding their human rights due diligence process, Sanderson Farms discloses details in their corporate responsibility report, proxy statement and supplement filing. During our engagement, management reiterated their policies and process, confirming visibility and auditing of their supply chain.
- Report on Human Rights Due Diligence
Following our engagement, BlackRock determined that Sanderson Farms’ policies and processes adequately addressed the proponents’ concerns regarding the company’s oversight of the environmental and social issues pertaining to water stewardship and human rights. While neither resolution garnered majority support, the company issued a press release following its annual meeting announcing its commitment to align its sustainability reporting with Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) standards.