Corporate Governance and Sustainable Strategies LLC
CGSS provides global consulting services for investors, government and non-profits on corporate governance and sustainable investment strategies. CGSS’s Managing Partners, Beth Young and Meredith Miller have content expertise in climate change, compensation, governance, human capital, human rights and other workforce issues. CGSS services include strategic advice, research and public policy support.
CGSS' Policy on sustainable Strategies including environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors includes the following principles:
Companies in which funds invest may engage in activities that positively or negatively affect the long-term sustainability of the enterprise, its employees, the communities within which it resides and the capital markets.
Company actions may also contribute to system level risks such as climate change, income inequality, and healthcare access.
As universal investors with broad exposure across asset classes, investors need information about such ESG factors that is consistent, comparable and verifiable.
Such information may assist investors in making informed decisions related to capital allocation and to identify emerging risks.
Investors are best suited to identify which ESG factors are material to their investments and their stakeholders.
With over two decades of working together, Beth and Meredith have achieved several notable governance milestones, including:
Petitioned the SEC for rule making on the independence of compensation consultants on behalf of the Connecticut State Treasurer which resulted in new SEC disclosure rules for the proxy and provisions in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (SEC Petition)
Petitioned the SEC for rule making on human capital management on behalf of the Human Capital Management Coalition that became the basis for the 2020 SEC s-K disclosure rules on human capital (UAW Trust SEC Petition).
Founded the Midwest Investor Diversity Initiative (MIDI) and developed the first Rooney Rule shareholder proposal calling on boards to ensure a diverse candidate pool for director openings resulting in the appointment of 90 diverse directors; publication of the Diverse Search Company Toolkit for nominating and governance committees (Diverse Search Toolkit for Nom/Gov Committees).
Developed new policies for compensation committee oversight on workforce equity issues adopted by Disney, Southwest Airlines and Chipotle (see https://bit.ly/3GH6tJo).
Convened 11 investors and six pharmaceutical companies in 2011 to successfully develop sector wide adoption of governance reforms including board risk report assessments a misconduct clawback policy resulting a landmark agreement with six pharmaceutical companies on an executive compensation clawback policy (Press Announcement)
In 2017, established and co-led the Investors for Pharmaceutical and Accountability (IOPA) coalition consisting of 64 labor, faith-based, public sector and asset manager members with over $4T in assets under management. The IOPA engaged with pharmaceutical distributors, retail pharmacies and manufacturers on seven key corporate governance reforms including13 board risk reports, 19 misconduct clawbacks, and several majority votes. See IOPA
Submitted comments to the FDA and FTC on behalf of a coalition of investors, resulting in FDA stakeholder meeting on biosimilar market opportunities and challenges.
Developed and provided technical review for the first shareholder proposal by a public fund on climate risk scenario disclosure that resulted in a landmark settlement at American Electric Power in 2002; see https://nyti.ms/3GJDXXq
Meet Our Team
Beth Young is a lawyer and consultant on ESG issues, including shareholder proposals, “vote no” campaigns, corporate engagements, regulatory matters and proxy voting. Her clients include pension funds, religious organizations, employee-owners, policy groups and foundations, for whom she has designed approaches to climate change board accountability, executive pay, drug pricing disclosure, human rights due diligence and director elections.
As a consultant, Beth is principal advisor to several large investor coalition initiatives on climate change, human capital, opioid and pharmaceutical accountability. In this capacity, she has been instrumental in developing innovative solutions on a wide range of issues including the framework for misconduct clawbacks, operationalizing the Rooney Rule, bonus deferral, proxy access, and human rights due diligence. Chief among her achievements is her contributions to SEC rule making on compensation consultants, proxy access, and human capital.
Her policy work also includes co-authoring reports for the Council of Institutional Investors on monitoring delegated proxy voting and the limits of private ordering that was recognized as a seminal work in the governance field. Beth is nationally recognized as an expert on the 14(a)8 Securities and Exchange rule making process and provides auditing services of proxy advisory voting for clients.
Throughout her career, Beth has contributed to investors’ initiatives on ESG issues. Most recently, she has conducted research on how investors can enhance current ESG policies and processes within their fund’s investment frameworks.
Prior to her consulting business, Beth served as the Shareholder Initiatives Coordinator in the AFL-CIO Office of Investment and as a Senior Research Associate for The Corporate Library/GMI. Beth also co-taught a Harvard Law School seminar on Shareholder Activism for several years and has taught Corporations at Fordham Law School.
Beth received her Bachelor’s degree from Yale and her Doctor of Law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the Wisconsin Law Review.
Meredith is a corporate governance and ESG professional with areas of expertise in ESG business strategies, board risk oversight, human capital management, compensation and ESG corporate reporting. Throughout her career, she has engaged with top global fund managers and Fortune 100 companies. Meredith has extensive board service as a director.
Prior to CGSS, Meredith served for eleven years as the Chief Corporate Governance Office for the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust (“UAW Trust”). The UAW Trust was established in 2010 to provide health benefits to over 600,000 UAW retirees and their dependents and currently has $62 billion in assets under management. In this capacity, Meredith had responsibility for several large investor coalitions on healthcare issues, human capital and board diversity. Her team reported to the Chief Investment Officer and she reported directly to the UAW Trust board on program matters.
Before joining the UAW Trust, Meredith was the Assistant Treasurer for Policy for the Office of the Connecticut State Office of the Treasurer, Denise L. Nappier. In this position, Meredith was responsible for carrying out the Treasurer’s initiatives on corporate governance for the $26 billion state pension plan, the state college savings program, financial education, and local economic development. Meredith also staffed the Treasurer in her ex-officio duties on the Bond and Banking Commissions.
Meredith came to the Connecticut Treasury after having served five years as the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (now the Employee Benefits Security Administration--EBSA) which oversaw the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Meredith’s employee benefit expertise was informed by her decade long work previously on pension and health policy at the AFL-CIO and by her collective bargaining experience for the Service Employees International Union; both of which resided in Washington, D.C.
Meredith received her Bachelor’s degree from Hampshire College, Amherst, Mass and her Master of Science from the London School of Economics.