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September 26, 2011
Sysco Agrees to Report to CDP Water
    by Robert Kropp

CalSTRS withdraws shareowner resolution after foodservice giant agrees to transparent sustainability management strategies.

The California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS), the nation's second-largest public pension fund, announced last week that it had withdrawn a shareowner resolution filed at Sysco after the foodservice giant agreed to include water risk management and sustainable agriculture in its sustainability initiative. The company also agreed to provide CalSTRS with updates on the progress of the initiative.

In addition, Sysco agreed to report to CDP Water Disclosure, beginning in 2013. Launched in 2009 amid growing concerns about the impacts of water stress and scarcity, CDP Water Disclosure seeks to increase reporting on water-related risks and opportunities, especially by companies operating in water-intensive sectors.

The initiative issued its first annual report last year. On behalf of 137 institutional investors with $16 trillion of assets under management, CDP Water Disclosure sent requests for information to 302 companies, 150 of which responded.

In the 2011 proxy season, CalSTRS submitted five shareowner resolutions relating to environmental matters. Four were withdrawn after the companies agreed to improve their disclosures on climate risk management, or agreed to publish annual sustainability reports.

A fifth resolution, filed at ConocoPhillips, requested that the company report on the financial risks of its oil sands operation. The resolution gained 30% of shareowner support.

Overall, social and environmental resolutions gained more than 20% support this year, the highest percentage ever.

Jack Ehnes, CalSTRS chief executive officer, stated, "Transparency about water risk and other sustainability issues is important as it is a significant risk facing investors. Companies that report on environmental, social and governmental practices are more responsive to the global business environment, allowing them to realize value from these efforts."


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