Provision on Disclosing Contributions Is All About Transparency
November 16, 2011
CalPERS adoption of a provision recommending that public companies disclose their charitable and political donations is about promoting accountability and transparency – and helping shareowners decide whether their money is being spent in a way that benefits the company and helps ensure its continuing success.
The provision is part of the CalPERS Global Principles of Accountable Corporate Governance. Those principles are used as guidelines for our engagement with companies to improve corporate governance. That behind-the-scenes work has real financial impact: Studies by Wilshire Associates and others have shown that CalPERS engagement with underperforming companies helps increase stock price and shareowner value and improve the companies’ long-term sustainability.
In last year’s Citizens United
case, which allowed unlimited campaign spending from corporations and unions, the Supreme Court ruled that “prompt disclosure” of political expenditures can help shareholders “determine whether their corporation’s political speech advances the corporation’s interest in making profits.”
CalPERS corporate governance principle on political and charitable donations stays true to the court’s reasoning. Transparency and accountability are governance principles that help drive shareowner value, ultimately benefiting the CalPERS Fund and our 1.6 million members.View CalPERS Global Principles of Accountable Corporate Governance
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