New York City funds trigger Microsoft supply chain commitment

Software giant says it appreciates discussions with shareholders

US software giant Microsoft is to start requiring suppliers to report on their adherence to its vendor code of conduct – in response to engagement from the five New York City Pension Funds.

From 2013, Microsoft will include a summary of information from vendor reports in its annual Citizenship Report; vendors will be encouraged to make their reports public and use Global Reporting Initiative guidelines.

“Microsoft is taking this step in response to a shareholder proposal received from New York City Comptroller John Liu on behalf of the New York City Pension Funds,” the Redmond, Washington-based company said in a statement.

It added the reporting requirement “will also drive sustainability improvements” its supply chain”.

“Microsoft has taken an important step to promote sustainability and transparency among its global suppliers,” Liu said. He added the New York City funds, which have a combined value of $119.9bn (€87bn), are taking the proposal to other companies.“We appreciate and value the discussions we’ve had with Comptroller Liu’s office and the opportunity to continue our collaborative work with shareholders on initiatives that further demonstrate our commitment to corporate citizenship,” said Microsoft’s legal chief Brad Smith.

The five New York City funds comprise the NYC Board of Education Retirement System, the NYC City Employees’ Retirement System, NYC Fire Department Pension Fund, NYC Police Pension Fund and the NYC Teachers’ Retirement System.
Microsoft holds its annual shareholder meeting next month. It is advising shareholders to vote against a proposal brought by Harrington Investments calling for the establishment of a board committee on environmental sustainability. The AGM will be held in Bellevue, Washington on November 15.
Liu’s predecessor as New York City Comptroller William Thompson had in previous years submitted shareholder resolutions at Microsoft AGMs on Internet censorship and human rights.