PORTSMOUTH, N.H. March 6, 2018 – Pax World Funds (Pax), a pioneer in sustainable investing advised by Impax Asset Management LLC, today announced the results of a successful shareholder engagement with US Foods Holdings (US Foods) to improve its board diversity policies and take steps to diversify its board of directors.
In November 2017, Pax and Mercy Investment Services (Mercy) co-filed a board diversity proposal with US Foods calling for the company to enhance its current disclosures on board diversity and to provide investors with a better understanding of the company’s commitment to diversity on its board. At the time the proposal was filed, US Foods had no women on its board.
Pax and Mercy engaged in a dialogue with US Foods and withdrew their proposal after US Foods’ Board of Directors amended its corporate governance guidelines to state that they would actively seek out highly qualified women and individuals from minority groups, as well as candidates with diverse or non-traditional backgrounds, skills and experiences as part of the director search process. The company also agreed to include similar language in its 2018 proxy statement, and to include board diversity as part of the Board’s annual self-assessment process. Additionally, Ann E. Ziegler joined the company’s board in January 2018.
“We are pleased that US Foods is making board diversity a priority, and believe that these changes and their recent female director appointment are important first steps towards achieving and maintaining a more diverse board,” said Heather Smith, Lead Sustainability Research Analyst, Impax Asset Management LLC/Pax World Funds. “In our view, companies that combine competitive financial performance with high standards of corporate governance, including board diversity, are better positioned to generate long-term value for their shareholders.”
“We applaud US Foods for listening to shareholders’ concerns and recognizing that a more diverse board of directors better represents the customers it serves and will benefit the company in the long run,” said Susan Makos, vice president of social responsibility, Mercy Investment Services. “As one of the largest foodservice distributors, we hope that US Foods will be an example to other companies who will consider the positive impact of a diverse board of directors and make diversity a priority.”
Pax is a leader in promoting greater representation of women on boards. Over the last six years, Pax has filed board diversity proposals at nine companies, urging them to adopt gender diversity policies for their boards. Each proposal yielded meaningful dialogues with companies that ultimately resulted in changes to corporate governance policies specifying gender diversity as a criterion in all director searches. Seven of the nine companies, including Cognizant Technology Solutions, Stericycle, and eBay, have since announced female director appointments.
Pax also seeks to advance board diversity by voting against all-male slates of directors at company annual meetings and against male nominees on slates with only one woman. Since 2010, Pax has voted against over 1,100 board slates due to insufficient gender diversity, including 130 during the most recent proxy season.
About Pax World Funds
Pax World Funds (“Pax”) are advised by Impax Asset Management LLC, formerly Pax World Management LLC, a pioneer in the field of sustainable investing. Pax offers a diverse lineup of mutual funds focused on the risks and opportunities arising from the transition to a more sustainable global economy. Each fund integrates environmental, social and governance (ESG) research into the investment process to better manage risk and deliver competitive long-term investment performance. Since 1971, Pax has made it possible for investors to pursue financial returns while having a positive social and environmental impact.
You should consider a fund’s investment objectives, risks, and charges and expenses carefully before investing. For this and other information, call 800.767.1729 or visit www.paxworld.com for a fund prospectus and read it carefully before investing.
Pax World Funds are distributed by ALPS Distributors, Inc. Member FINRA.
ALPS Distributors, Inc. is not affiliated with Mercy Investment Services.