WMG RELEASES INDUSTRY-FIRST ESG REPORT

Warner Music Group has released its inaugural ESG report. “ESG,” it turns out, is short for “Environment Social Governance.” WMG notes that this is the first-ever stand-alone report from a major music company, created to set a baseline for WMG to measure its progress in areas including employee well-being, social impact, climate change and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

Along with enumerating its efforts to reverse climate change, WMG broke out its social agenda. Here’s a synopsis:

  • In light of the impacts of the pandemic, WMG enhanced investment in mental-health programs, technology and learning and development to support its people.
  • In 2021, WMG was certified as a Great Place to Work in the U.S. and France and 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’s 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 artist-royalty participants including producers, engineers, mixers and remixers. It goes into effect in July.
  • Throughout the pandemic, WMG has contributed to more than 20 nonprofits around the world to aid frontline workers, small business owners, out-of-work concert/touring staff and others who need assistance.
  • Since it was established in 2020, the $100m WMG/Blavatnik Family Foundation Social Justice Fund has pledged $22.5m in grant commitments to 24 organizations.

“Becoming a more equitable and sustainable company is a moral, commercial and creative imperative,” asserted CEO Steve Cooper. (Ed. note: Per house style, we’ve removed his Oxford commas.) “We’re exploring what creating positive change should look like for our artists and songwriters, our company 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.”

The report was created by WMG ESG VP Samantha Sims and the company’s ESG Executive Oversight Committee, with more than 70 staffers supplying input.

Said Sims, “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."

Added Dr. Maurice A. Stinnett, WMG’s Global Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, “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 full report is here.

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