The Vanguard funds supported a shareholder proposal for diversity-related risk disclosure at Genuine Parts Company, an American consumer discretionary firm.
Our research and engagement with the company led us to conclude that the proposal was an appropriate request, that it targeted material risks, and that a gap existed between the company’s disclosure on this topic and that of its peers. Management team members highlighted several internal programs that they believed support a positive workplace. We found, however, that Genuine Parts did not disclose quantitative data on its practices, that its metrics were not publicly available, and that although third-party reporting frameworks were analyzed for the company’s corporate sustainability report, it established its own custom framework.
We provided candid feedback that Genuine Parts’ disclosure lagged that of peers, and we encouraged the company to include more details about these programs in its reporting. We also emphasized our support for using industry-recognized frameworks, such as SASB’s, to provide decision-useful, comparable information to investors. We have found that custom frameworks can omit details that are crucial to understanding boards’ oversight of certain topics.
The funds’ vote reflects our belief that Genuine Parts should make greater progress on its disclosures, to help the market understand its current practices and exposure to material risk.