Starbucks Corp. announced plans to phase out single-serve plastic straws by 2020 and pledged to reduce packaging waste from their drinks and meals. Burger King, Dunkin Doughnuts, Hyatt and McDonald’s have also announced similar plans to reduce waste. But we believe a lack of reporting remains a challenge for ESG investors.
On February 2, 2018, the Federal Reserve took the unusual step of sanctioning Wells Fargo, citing “widespread consumer abuses and other compliance breakdowns.” In what was the last major action by outgoing Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen, the Fed took the unprecedented step of capping the asset growth of the bank and requiring it to replace three board members in April and another by the end of the year. Not surprisingly, the stock of Wells Fargo was negatively impacted. In ESG speak (Environmental, Social, Governance), this is a governance issue.