Warner Music Group (WMG) today released its inaugural Environment Social Governance (ESG) report. A first-of-its-kind standalone report by a major music company, the document is a vehicle to communicate to key stakeholders and a baseline for WMG to measure its ESG progress in areas including employee wellbeing, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, social impact, and climate change.
Spearheaded by Samantha Sims (Vice President, ESG) and WMG’s ESG Executive Oversight Committee, the report was created with the input of more than 70 employees. Sims joined WMG as its first head of ESG in August 2021. She previously spent more than eight years building and driving the implementation of PVH Corp.’s sustainability program.
Steve Cooper (CEO, WMG) said: “Becoming a more equitable and sustainable company is a moral, commercial, and creative imperative. WMG operates in more than 70 countries around the world, each with distinct customs, cultures, needs, and regulations. So, our sustained, global approach to ESG requires us to have a sophisticated local, individualized line of action. We’re exploring what creating positive change should look like for our company, our artists and songwriters, and the broader community. We’ve made some great strides so far, but this report isn’t just a snapshot of what we’ve done to date – it’s a long-term commitment to action and accountability.”
Sims added: “The increased focus on global social and environmental challenges has prompted all stakeholders – from our people to investors – to expect businesses to more proactively address ESG risks and opportunities. I’m incredibly proud to have worked with teams across our global footprint to produce WMG’s first annual ESG report. This report signifies our dedication to creating an ESG platform with measurable targets to catalyze positive societal change and engage more of our stakeholders along the way.”
Dr. Maurice A. Stinnett (WMG’s Global Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) said: “The past two years particularly have highlighted the global fights for social justice, anti-racism, and equitable healthcare, and the needs for ethical workplaces and creative solutions. We’ve set out in the report our company-wide DEI commitments to help create a cultural shift, and we’re excited to translate these commitments to the needs of our teams in all our locations. Reflecting on where we come from and what we’ve done will enable us to move forward, together, in the most informed and effective way possible.”
The report highlights include:
- WMG calculated its first direct greenhouse gas emissions footprint (including emissions from Scopes 1 and 2, as well as employee travel) and will propose a target to the Science-based Targets initiative in 2022.
- WMG became a founding signatory of the Music Climate Pact, developed with support from the UN Environment Programme, to collectively tackle the industry’s environmental impacts.
- The company avoided using 46 tons of virgin plastic by producing 100% recycled vinyl records for artists like Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Gorillaz, Biffy Clyro, and Foals.
- In light of the impacts of the pandemic, WMG enhanced investments in mental health programs, learning and development, and technology to support its people.
- In 2021, WMG was certified as a Great Place to Work™ in the U.S. and France, and was included in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for the third consecutive year.
- WMG established a set of north star DEI commitments, put in place new support for its 45 Employee Resource Group chapters, and developed new recruitment and educational programs to foster more inclusive thinking and behaviors.
- The company piloted mental health initiatives for its creative community. It is also launching a legacy unrecouped advances program for eligible artists and songwriters who signed with WMG before 2000 and didn’t receive an advance during or after 2000. The program will also benefit other artist royalty participants such as producers, engineers, mixers, and remixers. It goes into effect for royalty periods starting July 2022.
- Throughout the pandemic, WMG contributed to more than 20 non-profits around the world, to aid frontline workers, small business owners, out of work concert/touring staff, and others who need assistance during this difficult time.
- Since it was established in 2020, the $100 million Warner Music Group / Blavatnik Family Foundation Social Justice Fund has pledged $22.5 million in grant commitments to 24 organizations.
- The company increased the representation of independent directors on its Board committees and the Board’s Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee has assumed oversight of ESG.
Click here to read the report.