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

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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Second Generation of CSR/ESG Metrics & Bringing ‘Dark Data’ to Light

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 25, 2017 10:06:35 AM / by Cynthia Figge

We are seeing a rising wave of change as we transition from our current metrics systems to a second generation.

Since cofounding EKOS 20 years ago, I have worked with great companies including Alaska Airlines, Boeing, Coca Cola and REI on helping to develop their first and early Sustainability Reports. The first generation of sustainability metrics was provided mostly by voluntary self-reported data designed primarily for Wall Street Socially Responsible Investors, employees and stakeholders. Now, a second generation of more rigorously defined metrics is being developed by both government-related and non-governmental organizations. 

How can we transition our companies towards a disclosure landscape that is less confusing, more consistent, and more empowering?

How can we greatly expand the coverage of companies that disclose?

Download the Sustainable Brands New Metrics full presentation below to learn more. 

 

  Second Generation of CSR/ESG Metrics - Bringing Dark Data to Light

  


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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Tears Don’t Mend Broken China

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 12, 2017 11:32:16 AM / by Bahar Gidwani

renewal.jpgI’ve always been clumsy.  There were many broken dishes and glasses in my childhood.  My Mom was always kind about it.  She’d say, “Tears don’t mend broken China.”  She had other similar phrases I remember (e.g., “If you get a load of lemons, it is time to make lemonade!”), but the lesson was always Midwestern positivism.  Don’t sit around moaning about what can’t be fixed—keep moving forward and don’t let your own failures hold you back.

Our recent election broke dishes for those of us in sustainability.  Many of my friends in the field and a number of our clients have asked if US corporate sustainability programs will be put on hold for the next four years.

I’m not as good as my mother was, at mending dishes (or comforting someone who is crying!).  But I do see some reasons for hope:

  • Well-run corporations care about profit, reputation, and mission. If their sustainability programs generate a profit, reduce risk, or help them accomplish their longer-range goals, they should continue to pursue them.
  • Young folks soon take over. We get requests daily from students around the world who need data for a sustainability study or project.  For every student who majors in CSR there are ten other young people who care passionately about the world’s future.  Unless something dramatically changes how young people view the future, we will continue seeing a generation-driven rise in interest in sustainability.
  • US companies trade with the rest of the world—and the rest of the world won’t backtrack on sustainability. If a US company wants to be successful in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, etc. it must adhere to a high standard of ethics, respect indigenous peoples, avoid polluting local water supplies, combat climate change, etc.
  • US companies have the same stakeholders they did on November 7. Managers, employees, communities, suppliers, customers, and investors will continue to remind companies about the risks that companies will face if they do not behave responsibly. It will remain important to have a “social license to operate.”
  • Momentum matters. Corporations are big ships that turn slowly.  They have put money and time into corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.  They won’t shift these resources into other things, without good reason and a lengthy analysis process.

 

What types of changes may occur?  Don’t expect stringent new guidelines from US regulators (e.g., the SEC, the EPA, OSHA, etc.).  Look for more boycotts and “buycotts.”  (Several groups are boycotting Trump-related brands and there seems to be a countervailing push to punish firms that won’t advertise on Breitbart.)  Some companies may offer less-sustainable alternatives in certain product areas.  (E.g., muscle cars, heavily-sugared cereals, and other “retro” products.)  Corporations may put on hold major new green investments until things “settle down.” None of this is long-term stuff.  We can mend these pieces and fix these holes.

We at CSRHub see our data and tools as a way to improve how a company communicates its progress and a means to reduce the cost of and improve the effectiveness of sustainability reporting. My mom once put the lid of a tea pot I’d smashed under my pillow and told me that it would give me sweet dreams.  Let’s remember what we’ve been through and all that we’ve accomplished so far.  Then, let’s move forward and dream again, about a better future.

Photo courtesy of  Ruth Edwards


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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