ESG Focus for Retail Leaders at Annual Meeting

RILA’s ESG Executive Committee Meeting had its first in-person meeting in late June in Washington, DC, co-located with RILA's Retail CEO Washington Summit. More than a dozen RILA ESG Executive Committee members were in attendance for a day and half of expert-facilitated sessions and benchmarking discussions on a wide range of topics, including ESG landscape updates, proxy proposals, supplier data collection resources, and the future of reporting and goalsetting. RILA ESG Exec Committee members also had opportunities to network to get to know their peer community of retail ESG leads, as the role has been established or evolved at their companies. It was great to see everyone in 3D after over a year of virtual meetings!

The following are some agenda highlights:

Investor Conversations, Proxy Proposals, and the Role of the Board with Sullivan & Cromwell

This session was a level set on preliminary 2022 Proxy Season data, observations, and trends as well as key regulatory and political landscape developments led by Melissa Sawyer, Partner and co-head of Firm Corporate Governance & Activism Practice, Sullivan & Cromwell. This was followed by group discussion and benchmarking in investor conversations, proxy proposals and the role of the board.

Joint Session with CEOs: A Conversation with Lowe’s CEO, Marvin Ellison with Lowe’s and RILA

Marvin Ellison, CEO of Lowe’s shared how Lowe’s responded to unexpected challenges faced during the pandemic and embraced them as opportunities to adapt and serve customers and employees in creative ways. He also discussed his philosophy to when and how to speak up around social issues.

ESG Data Technologies – Supplier Data Collection with Higg, SAC and VF

Led by Andrew Martin, VP Membership & Stakeholder Engagement, Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), Erin McVeigh, VP Partnerships, Higg, and Sean Cady, Vice President of Global Sustainability, Responsibility and Trade, VF Corporation, this session included a discussion of ESG data collection and reporting technology types. The time focused on a deep dive on VF’s experiences with environmental and social supplier data collection with Higg and the SAC, who also spoke to their industry-designed approach to supplier data collection and plans to expand their work into other retail categories.

ESG Landscape – Government and Voluntary Reporting Frameworks Update with RILA

This session was a discussion of federal and state regulatory and legislative ESG updates, including RILA activities with the SEC to date around Climate Disclosure and future engagement regarding Human Capital Management.

The Future of Reporting & Goalsetting – Balancing Transparency & Risk with Joele Frank

This session, led by Natalia Weaver, Manager Director of Joele Frank, was a level set on opportunity and risk considerations for reporting and goalsetting, followed by group discussion. Attendees explored what metrics are suited for the SEC, voluntary reporting, executive compensation programs, or private investor discussions? Members discussed tactics for managing theoretical target performance outcomes and year-over-year goal changes.

International Sustainable Standards Board (ISSB) – Updates and Ask Me Anything with ISSB

This session began with an update on the consolidation of the Value Reporting Foundation (VRF), the organization that manages the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Standards, into the new ISSB. Granville Martin, Director of Global Regulatory Outreach, VRF/ISSB discussed the latest updates and next steps for the ISSB and how to engage, followed by open Q&A.

Retail “S” Metrics – What metrics are suited for the SEC, voluntary reporting, or private investor discussions? With RILA

Members engaged in a conversation on “S” metrics currently shared in annual financial reporting versus requested in voluntary frameworks and what we may see from an SEC HCM proposed rule.

Seeing the Forest for the Trees – Prioritizing Industry ESG Leadership and Collaboration with World Economic Forum and Sustainability Frameworks

The final session of the meeting explored how retail can embrace a leadership role to help drive progress through cross-sector engagement to make ESG goals with global implications achievable. Led by Andy Moose, Head of Retail, Consumer and Lifestyle Industries with the World Economic Forum (WEF), Charles Di Leva, Partner, Sustainability Frameworks, and Scott Fulton, Partner, Sustainability Frameworks, our speaker shared past examples of successful cross-sector and public and private partnerships as well as their insights about which ESG topics currently have the most collaborative momentum and greatest need to ensure necessary progress is made.

For more information on ESG-related topics and RILA’s ESG Executive Committee, contact Erin Hiatt, Vice President, CSR at or Moni Adeyi, Coordinator, CSR & ESG at

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