August 7, 2014, Contact: Press Office (518) 474-4015
DiNapoli: Ralph Lauren Should Ensure Human and Worker Rights are Upheld in its Operations
New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli released the following statement in support of a shareholder proposal presented at Ralph Lauren’s annual shareholders meeting in Manhattan today. The proposal, filed by the AFL-CIO, urges the clothing maker to detail how it handles potential and actual human rights risks in its operations and supply chain.
“The devastating loss of life in the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Bangladesh still reverberates,” Comptroller DiNapoli said. “As global investors, the New York Common Retirement Fund supports the AFL-CIO’s proposal. Ralph Lauren uses numerous suppliers in Bangladesh and should explain what steps it is taking to ensure human rights are upheld there and throughout its supply chain. Safety in the workplace is not just a human right; it is necessary to good business management and integral to preserving a positive corporate reputation. It is vital that companies take all steps possible to hold their suppliers accountable for upholding human and workers rights in order to protect themselves and their investors against the risks that can damage long-term value.”
As trustee of the $176.8 billion New York Common Retirement Fund, DiNapoli supports greater disclosure on how companies are mitigating the risk inherent to their supply chains. In May 2013, after discussions with DiNapoli’s office, Ralph Lauren agreed to issue a sustainability report that would measure and analyze its labor practices, and its human rights and environmental impacts.
The Common Retirement Fund holds 173,000 shares of Ralph Lauren with an approximate market value of $27,864,000.
About the Common Retirement Fund
The $176.8 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund is the third largest public pension fund in the United States. The Fund holds and invests the assets of the New York State and Local Retirement System on behalf of more than one million state and local government employees and retirees and their beneficiaries. The Fund has a diversified portfolio of public and private equities, fixed income, real estate and alternative instruments.