Arjuna Capital/Proxy Impact: Over Half of Top U.S. Companies Get an “F” on Racial and Gender Pay Scorecard

In New Report Marking Equal Pay Day, Only 5 Companies Get “A” Grade, While Those Earning “F”s Include Goldman Sachs, Colgate, AT&T, McDonalds, Walmart and Verizon

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Of 51 companies examined in the “Racial and Gender Pay Scorecard” released today to mark Equal Pay Day, fewer than one in 10 — Mastercard, Starbucks, Pfizer, Citigroup, and Bank of New York Mellon – get an “A,” while over half (26) get an “F.”

The 4th edition of the Scorecard is being released today by the investment management firm Arjuna Capital and Proxy Impact. The grades are based on quantitative disclosures (versus qualitative assurances) by companies taking concrete steps to close racial and gender pay gaps. The 51 companies in the ranking have all been engaged by investors through the shareholder proposal process and asked to improve their public pay equity disclosures.

Natasha Lamb, managing partner, Arjuna Capital, said: “The world’s largest corporations are under intense pressure to close their racial and gender pay gaps in response to investor insistence, the #BLM and #MeToo movements, and increasing public policy and regulation. But despite a wave of corporate statements expressing solidarity with Black Americans and women, there are very few standout companies that actually provide an honest accounting of and commitment to closing racial and gender pay gaps.”

Michael Passoff, CEO, Proxy Impact, said: “Racial and gender pay gaps at some of the world’s largest corporations are an area of increased concern and focus. Pay discrepancies have raised reputational, regulatory, financial, and legal risks for companies. An increasing number of shareholders have asked companies to report on their analyses, policies, and goals to reduce any racial and gender pay gaps. The global Coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated racial and gender pay gaps and underlined the need for action.”

Key findings of the report include:

  • Some of the biggest names in corporate America earned an “F” grade, including Goldman Sachs, Colgate, AT&T, McDonalds, Walmart, and Verizon.
  • Nine companies’ scores deteriorated year-over-year, including Amazon, Wells Fargo, Intel, Google, Microsoft, Verizon, Expedia, Starbucks, and Arthur J. Gallagher. Twenty-four companies improved their scores.
  • Only 23 out of 51 companies disclose on racial pay gaps. And there is a noticeable difference in racial/gender pay disclosure by sector. For example, while two-thirds of financial companies have improved their scores from last year, only one-third of tech companies achieved such progress.
  • Bank of New York Mellon and Pfizer earned an “A” grade this year, joining Mastercard, Starbucks, and Citigroup at the top of the list, due to commitments to best-practice disclosures.
  • Eleven companies (in order of rank from best to worst) — Adobe, Nike, Progressive Insurance, American Express, Reinsurance Group, JP Morgan Chase, Apple, Cincinnati Financial, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Intel—garnered a “B” grade for their efforts to disclose and act on their racial and gender pay gaps.
  • Many of the companies in the Scorecard have provided adjusted pay data, but almost all have refused to provide investors unadjusted (median) pay gap data beyond their U.K. operations, where it is mandated. In fact, the only companies to report both adjusted and unadjusted median global pay gap numbers are Citigroup, Starbucks, Mastercard, and Pfizer, which has earned them top ranks. Bank of New York Mellon has agreed to do so in 2021.
  • Over the last seven years, 132 shareholder proposals on this issue have been filed at more than 69 companies (including the 51 in the Scorecard), and many more have been engaged through shareholder dialogues.

Arjuna Capital is an investor champion of workplace concerns for minorities and women. In the 2020 proxy season, Arjuna Capital submitted a total of 13 shareholder resolutions seeking median race and gender pay equity disclosure, and an additional four in 2021. Since 2016, Arjuna has compelled gender pay gap disclosures at 22 companies, and racial pay gap disclosures at 17 companies, including leading U.S. tech, finance, and retail firms Apple, Amazon, Intel, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Nike, and Adobe.

ABOUT THE REPORT AUTHORS

Arjuna Capital is a sustainable and impact investment firm that works with high-net-worth individuals, families, and institutions to invest their assets with a lens toward Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) risk and opportunity. Natasha Lamb and Arjuna Capital have been recognized for using shareholder resolutions to promote gender and racial pay equity in the tech, banking, and retail sectors. Lamb was named to the “Bloomberg 50” list of influencers who defined global business in 2017. For more information, visit www.Arjuna-Capital.com.

Proxy Impact provides shareholder advocacy and proxy voting services that promote sustainable and responsible business practices. Proxy Impact’s Women’s Inclusion Project engages companies on issues of board diversity, workplace diversity, racial and gender pay gaps, and child sexual exploitation online. For more information, visit www.proxyimpact.com.

Contacts

Alexander Frank, (703) 276-3264 or [email protected].

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