CSRHub Blog Research on ESG metrics and comments on sustainability best practice

Sustainability at Our Alma Mater, Harvard Business School

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 21, 2017 9:46:22 AM / by Bahar Gidwani

Two of CSRHub’s founders went to Harvard Business School.  (Cynthia and I were in the same study group!)  So we remain interested in the affairs of our alma mater—especially as they relate to sustainability.

Colleges and Universities are pretty interesting “entities” from a sustainability perspective.  Many of them are huge enterprises—as big or bigger than most major corporations.  For instance, Harvard University employs about 16,000 faculty and staff (more staff than the 11,000+ students they serve).  The University of Texas at Austin has about the same number of staff, 15,000, watching over its 50,000 students.  In contrast, US Steel employs only 21,000 people—not too different!

We have 11 sources of information and 158 elements of data available on Harvard University, but can only rate it on 8 of our twelve measures of sustainability.  This is a common situation for Colleges and Universities (we have 47 sources for US Steel).

Harvard University CSR Ranking.jpg

We currently offer full ratings on only 9 of the 88 education entities that we cover in CSRHub.  This situation should improve as we gather more crowd and government sources.  (For instance, the US Department of Education provides an interesting Scorecard that has more than 100 data items per college.  (E.g., did you know that Harvard University graduates earn an average of $87,200 ten years after graduation, compared to $52,800 for UT grads?)

Colleges and universities face many of the same sustainability-related issues that businesses do.  For instance, Harvard has tussled with its host communities (with both Cambridge and Allston), as it has expanded its facilities and grown its “footprint.”  The University recently went through a strike with its food workers, narrowly avoided a strike with its janitors, and faces a unionization effort among its graduate student workers.  It has also made public commitments to reduce its carbon footprint, waste production, etc.

While schools like Harvard may have a “sustainability report,” few educational institutions have generated a GRI report (10 in the past two years out of the 88 entities in this group) and none have done a CDP report.  This lack of formal reporting, coupled with public/private governance structures that diffuse responsibility, make it hard to hold educational institutions to the same standard of behavior that we do for business entities.  However, the core buyer for education is young and more socially aware than the average consumer of most business products.  We expect to see students (and faculty) increase pressure on universities and colleges to both disclose more of their social behavior and to press schools to improve their social performance.

 

Search a company on CSRHub and see their sustainability performance.

  Search CSRHub Ratings & Rankings


Bahar Gidwani

Bahar Gidwani is CEO and Co-founder of CSRHub.  He has built and run large technology-based businesses for many years. Bahar holds a CFA, worked on Wall Street with Kidder, Peabody, and with McKinsey & Co. Bahar has consulted to a number of major companies and currently serves on the board of several software and Web companies. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree in physics and astronomy. He plays bridge, races sailboats, and is based in New York City.

CSRHub provides access to the world’s largest corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information.  It covers over 16,800 companies from 135 industries in 133 countries. By aggregating and normalizing the information from 500 data sources, CSRHub has created a broad, consistent rating system and a searchable database that links millions of rating elements back to their source. Managers, researchers and activists use CSRHub to benchmark company performance, learn how stakeholders evaluate company CSR practices, and seek ways to improve corporate sustainability performance.

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CSRHub shares more Rays of Hope - reach 500 sources

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 17, 2017 11:01:42 AM / by Cynthia Figge

We enter the New Year with some Rays of Hope for the world and at CSRHub.  After nine years of pioneering work, we have just ingested our 500th data source and track the perceived sustainability performance of almost 17,000 companies worldwide. We now aggregate 13 expert ESG investor research databases, and a vast array of NGO and rich data sources providing a strong signal on how companies are perceived by financial analysts and other stakeholders.

During 2017, we plan to continue expanding both the range of sources we ingest500 sources v2.jpg (we have >100 new sources in our pipeline) and the number of companies we track (we have data on another 140,000 companies).

We are adding 3 million data elements per month to our 100 million analyzed data elements. If you haven’t visited our new company page new design lately, please see the Wal-mart company page sample or request a demo to get a glimpse of how big data and benchmark tools can increase your CSR / ESG business intelligence. 

  See Wal-Mart Sample Page         Request a Demo

This year we will continue working on our goal to make a public, affordable, and standardized measure of company ESG performance that empowers our users to improve corporate social performance. 

Thank you for the work you do and for being members of our community.

Best regards,

Cynthia Figge

Co-founder and COO, CSRHub

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Three Drivers for Corporate Knights’ Global 100

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 15, 2017 10:23:34 AM / by Bahar Gidwani

Each year our friends at Corporate Knights pull together a list of the 100 most sustainable corporations in the world.  They base their assessment on an extensive analysis of the companies they study that includes a review of numerous facts and figures. CSRHub’s aggregation engine strives to determine a consensus of the perceived sustainability performance for the 17,000 companies we track by combining input from 500 different sources.  It is satisfying to see that Corporate Knights’ more direct measurement and analysis approach aligns well with our methodology.  Every one of the 100 companies on the Global 100 list had above average CSRHub ratings and the average overall rank was just below the 90th percentile.

We’ve pointed out in the past that some of the other efforts to pick top companies have not been as successful.  A simple contrast of the average rating for Corporate Knight’s picks with those of several other popular lists and indexes illustrates the difference. 

Index Comparison.jpg

We found it interesting to dig down one more layer in the Global 100 scores and look at the averages for each of CSRHub’s twelve ratings subcategories.  As you can see below, the Global 100 companies are especially strong in three areas: Compensation & Benefits, Energy & Climate Change, and Transparency & Reporting.

CSRHub Rank for Global 100.jpg

These three areas have historically been the best understood and most watched aspects of sustainability.  However our field is developing and expanding to include many other areas of corporate social behavior.  It will be interesting to see if Corporate Knights assigns more weight to these other areas of sustainability behavior in the future.  If it does, we could see new players rise to the top of future Global 100 lists.

Search a company on CSRHub and see their sustainability performance.

  Search CSRHub Ratings & Rankings


Bahar Gidwani

Bahar Gidwani is CEO and Co-founder of CSRHub.  He has built and run large technology-based businesses for many years. Bahar holds a CFA, worked on Wall Street with Kidder, Peabody, and with McKinsey & Co. Bahar has consulted to a number of major companies and currently serves on the board of several software and Web companies. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree in physics and astronomy. He plays bridge, races sailboats, and is based in New York City.

CSRHub provides access to the world’s largest corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information.  It covers over 16,800 companies from 135 industries in 133 countries. By aggregating and normalizing the information from 500 data sources, CSRHub has created a broad, consistent rating system and a searchable database that links millions of rating elements back to their source. Managers, researchers and activists use CSRHub to benchmark company performance, learn how stakeholders evaluate company CSR practices, and seek ways to improve corporate sustainability performance.

 

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CSRHub’s Cynthia Figge speaking at CSR 3.0

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 13, 2017 9:57:49 AM / by CSRHub Blogging

Skytop Strategies CSR 3 b.jpg

Skytop Strategies will launch its second annual CSR Summit on March 9th in San Francisco.

This year’s program will bring together leaders in corporate responsibility, citizenship, philanthropy, marketing, strategy, procurement, and human capital to discuss the alignment between CSR and company strategy, and how that alignment affects reputation and company value.

This full-day discussion will help companies and CSR practitioners assess how to maximize the benefits of their programs for themselves and align their interests with those of their stakeholders.

CSRHub’s co-founder Cynthia Figge will be contributing to The Performance Connection: How Feedback (Criticism) from Highly Active Stakeholders Improves CSR Reporting session.  She will be interviewing Justin Murrill, Senior Manager, Corporate Sustainability, Advanced Micro.

For the full program, click here.

 

Some of the other thought leaders who will join this year's summit include:

  • Lori Duvall, Director, Global Impact, Ebay Inc.
  • Sunya Ojure, Senior Manager, Sustainability, Salesforce
  • Phil Berry, Former Sustainability Director, Nike Inc.
  • Cecily Joseph, Vice President, Corporate Responsibility & Chief Diversity Officer, Symantec
  • Michelle Crozier, Director, Sustainability & Social Impact, Adobe, Executive Director, Adobe Foundation
  • Evan Harvey, Director, Corporate Responsibility, Nasdaq
  • Andrew Behar, Chief Executive Officer, As You Sow
  • Susan Beverly, Director, Global Citizenship & Policy, Abbott

 

Selected agenda topics include:

  • Communicating the Value in Effective CSR Practices
  • The Generational Divide: It’s Not the Data, It’s Who’s Interpreting—and Reacting—to It
  • Storytelling: How to Effectively Build Internal Consensus, Secure Resources and Forge Ahead with a Winning Strategy
  • How to Take CSR to the Next Level: Tools for Integrating Business Purpose and Social Purpose
  • The Performance Connection: How Criticism from Highly Active Stakeholders Improves CSR Reporting

 

Members of CSRHub receive a 25% discount off the dated price. To register at this special rate please contact Josh Galow - VP Delegate Engagement at JGalow@skytopstrategies.com.  

 


Cynthia Figge, Co-founder and COO of CSRHubCynthia Figge is a forerunner and thought leader in the corporate sustainability movement who co-founded EKOS International in 1996, one of the first consultancies integrating sustainability and corporate strategy. Cynthia is COO and Cofounder of CSRHub. Cynthia has worked with major organizations including BNSF, Boeing, Coca-Cola, Dow Jones, and REI to help craft sustainability strategy integrated with business. She was an Officer of LIN Broadcasting/McCaw Cellular leading new services development, and started a new “Greenfield” mill with Weyerhaeuser. She serves as Advisor to media and technology companies, and served as President of the Board of Sustainable Seattle. Cynthia has an MBA from Harvard Business School. Cynthia is based in the Seattle area.

 

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A Quick Look at Brand Finance’s 2017 Banking League Table

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 7, 2017 10:14:04 AM / by Bahar Gidwani

Brand Finance has recently released its analysis of the brand strength for the world’s 500 top banks.  This annual review uses Brand Finance’s royalty relief methodology to estimate how much of a bank’s market value derives from its brand assets.

Over the past few years, we have studied the relationship between brand strength and sustainability.  With help from both Brand Finance and other partners and data sources in the brand measurement space, we’ve determined there is a stable and reasonably strong correlation (between 10% and 30% depending on the source, time, period and type of data) between our data and these gages of corporate success.

Therefore, we were not surprised to see that those banks who had big increases in brand strength also had big increases in sustainability performance and vice versa.  The chart below shows companies who had a two step change in brand strength (e.g., from A to AA- or from AAA to AA+) on the horizontal axis compared to those who had a multi-point change in their overall CSRHub rating.  The top right and bottom right corners show banks where brand and sustainability score changes agree.

Brand Finance - Improved Sustainability - Stronger Brand 2.jpgThere are always outliers in any analysis.  So the presence of one bank (Intesa Sanpaolo) in the top left box didn’t bother us too much.  However, there were four names in the bottom right box, that had brand strength increases but sustainability strength declines.

A quick analysis shows that the driver for the change in perceived sustainability performance for these banks was governance issues—an area we’d previously showed did not have much affect on brand.  These four banks showed relatively little change on the community, employee and environment issues that are most tied to brand.

Bank Governance Issues 2.jpg

We look forward to working with more data from Brand Finance as they populate the rest of this year’s league tables.  Our partnership with Brand Finance allows them to share details of our ratings with their clients.  I’m sure that there will be many banks—and other companies—who will be interested to see how improving their sustainability performance could affect their brand values.

Search a company on CSRHub and see their sustainability performance.

 


Bahar Gidwani

Bahar Gidwani is CEO and Co-founder of CSRHub.  He has built and run large technology-based businesses for many years. Bahar holds a CFA, worked on Wall Street with Kidder, Peabody, and with McKinsey & Co. Bahar has consulted to a number of major companies and currently serves on the board of several software and Web companies. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree in physics and astronomy. He plays bridge, races sailboats, and is based in New York City.

CSRHub provides access to the world’s largest corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information.  It covers over 16,800 companies from 135 industries in 133 countries. By aggregating and normalizing the information from 500 data sources, CSRHub has created a broad, consistent rating system and a searchable database that links millions of rating elements back to their source. Managers, researchers and activists use CSRHub to benchmark company performance, learn how stakeholders evaluate company CSR practices, and seek ways to improve corporate sustainability performance.

 

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[fa icon="comment"] 0 Comments posted in Bahar Gidwani, Brand Finance, brand value, CSRHub, brand strength and sustainability, Bank Governance Issues, Brand Finance’s 2017 Banking League Table

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