Group Urges Dillard's to Release 'Sustainability' Reports

by Lance Turner  on Wednesday, Sep. 12, 2007 12:51 pm  

Christian Brothers Investment Services on Wednesday urged Dillard's Inc. of Little Rock to issue sustainability reports disclosing information about its environmental, social and governance performance.

The group pointed out that it and other shareholders sponsored a resolution urging the company to prepare a sustainability report during the company's last annual meeting. It said that 23,872,195 shares, (or 46.36 percent) were cast in support of the resolution, which did not pass.

"Given the company’s current lack of disclosure and the fact that preparation of this report will provide shareholders with a more complete view of the company’s policies, especially related to the strength of its existing supplier code of conduct, we encourage Dillard’s to join the mainstream of retail industry practices," Julie Tanner, Christian Brothers' corporate advocacy coordinator, said in a news release.

"Apparel manufacturers and retailers such as The Gap, Nike, Target and Timberland have recognized the growing relevance of global labor standards practices and have disclosed their supplier codes of conduct in publicly available reports. We know that Dillard’s cares a lot about these issues and does not want to be looked upon as a laggard in the industry," she said.

In addition to CBIS, the shareholder resolution was sponsored by the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, the New York City Pension Funds, and Amalgamated Bank’s LongView Collective Investment Funds, which had a total of 550,000 shares of Dillard’s stock.

CBIS' complete statement is available here

With its statement Wednesday, CBIS joins another Dillard's shareholder, Barington Capital Group, in seeking more information from the publicly traded department store chain.

Barington, which represents more than 3 percent of Dillard's shares, last month questioned the retailer's commitment to stockholders and called on the board to change the company's management structure.

Barington also criticized the Dillard's family for running the company as if it were a private firm, and said the board of directors had "relegated its responsibilities to the Dillard family ..." The firm has repeatedly requested a meeting with Dillard's to find ways to increase shareholder value, but Dillard's has not done so.



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