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NY Comptroller Joins Campaign to Require Racial Equity Audits

Published on: January 29, 2022

Authors: Ani Huang

Topics: ESG and Diversity & Inclusion

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and the state’s pension fund announced they are filing a number of shareholder proposals this year seeking racial equity audits at target companies. So far DiNapoli has filed proposals at Amazon (where it received 44% support last year), Chipotle, Dollar General, Dollar Tree and Match Group. 

The new campaign builds on DiNapoli’s previous success with shareholder proposals on EEO-1 reporting, board diversity and tying diversity to pay. Racial equity audits are expected to be the topic of more shareholder proposals this year, with SOC Investment Group (formerly known as CtW) and the SEIU making them a key priority for their shareholder engagement agenda. Citigroup agreed to conduct such an audit last year after SOC’s proposal there received almost 39% support.

Racial equity proposals garnered an average 30% support last year, an impressive showing given that most of them were first-time proposals. ISS updated its policy this year to state that it will consider them on a case-by-case basis but will take into account factors such as whether the company has an established framework for addressing racial inequality and discrimination and whether it has been the subject of recent controversy or litigation on the subject. Meanwhile, Glass Lewis recommended investors support almost every racial equity audit proposal that was put to a ballot last year.

Ani Huang

President and CEO, Center On Executive Compensation

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Contact Ani Huang LinkedIn

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