Marriott International, a U.S. hospitality company, received a shareholder proposal to publish an employment diversity report that included the gender and racial composition of its workforce.
We met with company executives and the shareholder proponent to inform our research. We were pleased to hear that Marriott’s board is devoted to employment diversity and regularly meets with company management on diversity matters. Marriott discussed its holistic approach to disclosure, and we learned that the board had previously engaged with the proponent and committed to improve its reporting to be more consistent with data provided by peers. We acknowledged that the proponent’s assessment of diversity data focused more on gender than on race or ethnicity, but we noted that they were primarily comparing Marriott’s disclosures with those of peers outside the company’s sector where more diversity progress has been made. Our own research found that Marriott’s diversity disclosure was comparable with that of hospitality peers…we found the request in this case to be misguided; Marriott publishes diversity disclosures that are in line with those of direct peers, and it has committed to improve that disclosure.