Number of companies disclosing workplace practices jumps

WDI submissions are increasing year-on-year, but there are still notable absences including household names

Nearly a quarter more publicly listed companies disclosed their workforce practices to investors through the Workforce Disclosure Initiative (WDI) last year than the year before.

Some 173 disclosed data to the ShareAction initiative in 2021, up from 141 the year before. Since 2017, submissions have increased year on year.

The WDI aims to “improve corporate transparency and accountability on workforce issues, provide companies and investors with comprehensive and comparable data and help increase the provision of good jobs worldwide”.

It is now backed by 62 investors, with $8.6trn in assets under management – up from 52 investors with $6.5trn in assets the previous year. New signatories include Aviva Investors, Schroders and Italian asset manager BancoPosta Fondi.

ShareAction said the number of FTSE 100 companies disclosing employee data now stands at 50 – up from 39 in 2018 – with BlackRock, abrdn, M&S, Mahindra, Puma, SingTel and TSMC among the new firms taking part.

However, it said there are still notable names missing including:

Organisation nameSector
Boohoo GroupConsumer discretionary
BPEnergy
JD SportsConsumer discretionary
Next Consumer discretionary
Royal MailIndustrials
AlphabetCommunication services
Exxon MobilEnergy
SiemensIndustrials
Starbucks Consumer discretionary
The Home Depot Consumer discretionary
Walmart Consumer discretionary

Amazon has also not provided data but is currently in discussion with the WDI about disclosing practices.

Rosie Mackenzie, company engagement manager at the WDI, said: “With half of the FTSE 100 now disclosing workforce data to investors, these persistent non-responders are beginning to look like laggards with something to hide.

“We hope these firms will recognise what their peers around the world already have – that transparency around workforce practices is beneficial not just for employees and investors, but also for the companies themselves.”

Responding companies’ disclosures will be analysed by the WDI secretariat and published in full in April.

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Natasha Turner

Natasha is global deputy editor at ESG Clarity, part of the Bonhill Group, and has been a financial journalist for six years. She has been shortlisted for Story of the Year and Investment Journalist of...