Would investors appreciate such disclosures as Aguilar contends? "Voluntary disclosure of human capital metrics would be helpful to the investment community," says Mark Ubelhart, shareholder and human capital practices leader at Global Analytics. And David Schilling, senior program director at the ICCR, which represents 300 institutional asset managers with approximately $100 billion under management, told me he thinks this kind of information is very important to shareholders. "Workers need to receive a just wage -- and a sustainable living wage so they can meet more than basic expenses," he says. "Some discretionary income is important too so workers aren't just one illness away from poverty." Workers under such stress are unlikely to be happy or productive.
While we can't expect nirvana from disclosure, we can expect that disclosure will raise awareness. Boards think about critical issues in a more focused way when they publicly disclose them. When boards and the C-suite pay attention to stakeholder satisfaction, companies are stronger, more sustainable, and resilient.
Eleanor Bloxham is CEO of The Value Alliance and Corporate Governance Alliance(http://thevaluealliance.com), a board advisory firm.