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

Sustainable Brands ’17 Detroit- New Metrics

[fa icon="calendar'] May 18, 2017 8:00:00 AM / by Cynthia Figge

I will be attending the Sustainable Brands conference held in Detroit, MI from May 22nd until May 25th. Since speaking at SB’s inaugural conference in New Orleans in 2007, I have found that what unites the SB community is the gift of seeing ahead and bringing that vision back to our work, clients, and colleagues. While societal actions are shifting to integrate sustainability with business value creation, the pace of change in the next 10 years will be far more rapid than in the previous decade.  

This conference strives to unite brand leaders in Detroit for a collective conversation about how businesses can drive positive impact through sustainability-led innovation, with the backdrop of changing societal needs. As Sustainable Brands provides new insights, research data, tools and stories, CSRHub will continue to improve our metrics and tools for measuring our CSR/ESG progress.  

Following my time at the SB conference, I will be posting my findings on the New Metrics Tracking sessions I attended.

If you are planning on attending the SB conference in Detroit, please reach out as I would love to meet with you!

Best wishes,

Cynthia

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WHERE:

Detroit, MI

Cobo Convention Center

May 22-25, 2017

Learn more.

 


Cynthia Figge photo.jpg Cynthia 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.

CSRHub provides access to the world’s largest corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information.  It covers over 17,400 companies from 135 industries in 134 countries. By aggregating and normalizing the information from 530 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 Releases Second e-Book in How to Improve Your CSR Score Series

[fa icon="calendar'] May 10, 2017 9:56:40 AM / by CSRHub Blogging

CSRHub is pleased to release the second e-Book in the new series, How to Improve Your CSR Score, sponsored by Triple Pundit. “Ratings and Frameworks…Where is the Puck Going?” is now available for download.

Here is a taste of Book 2 of the series:

Ratings and Frameworks: Where is the Puck Going?

Wayne Gretsky, the well-known hockey player said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” As the CSR/ESG/Sustainability disclosure landscape changes, where is the puck going? Learn more and how it impacts ratings and rankings in the new e-Book.

Download e-Book

 “Ratings and Frameworks…Where is the Puck Going?” explores:CSRHub e-Book 2 Ratings and Frameworks.jpg

  • Where Has the Puck Been?
  • Why the Puck Hasn’t Gone Into the Goal
  • Where the Puck Will Head Next
  • If You Want to Score, You Will Need to Change the Way You Play

As the world’s largest sustainability business intelligence database, CSRHub is in a unique position to understand corporate social responsibility (CSR) ratings. We have studied each of our 525 data sources’ metrics, and our system automatically identifies which sustainability reporting investments add the most value, pinpoints areas of lagging or leading performance, and produces benchmarks against other companies. In How to Improve Your CSR Score, CSRHub will try to share some of the “secret sauce” its co-founders, Cynthia Figge and Bahar Gidwani, have developed through their combined 30+ years of experience with sustainability metrics.

Download the second e-Book of the series, Ratings and Frameworks: Where is the Puck Going?

Bookmark this page and check back often, as we will list all of the e-Books in the series on this page.

TriplePundit, a Certified B-Corporation, is a global media platform covering the intersection of people, planet and profit. We believe business can be a force for good. With over 10 million unique annual page views, we cover topics ranging from global water and energy challenges to social justice and economic equality, sustainable food to corporate social responsibility, and much more!

TriplePundit’s mission is to further the conversation on the Triple Bottom Line in business.  

CSRHub provides access to the world’s largest corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information.  It covers over 17,400 companies from 135 industries in 134 countries. By aggregating and normalizing the information from 530 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 Bahar Gidwani Speaking at CSR Certificate Program at Rutgers

[fa icon="calendar'] May 9, 2017 10:28:00 AM / by CSRHub Blogging

As previously seen on Governance & Accountability Institute's sustainabilityupdate.

Meet Bahar Gidwani

Joining Outstanding Faculty for Spring CSR Certificate Course
May 16th and 17th at Rutgers University Business School
 

On May 16th and 17th, the Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership and Governance & Accountability Institute present the Spring 2017 CSR Certificate Program for corporate managers, not-for-profit and foundation managers, and others interested in career opportunities and advancement in the fields of Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”), Corporate Citizenship, Corporate Sustainability, Philanthropy, Risk Management, Ethics, and related positions.

An outstanding faculty of professionals from leading CSR and sustainable investment organizations will lead the interactive discussions which are a feature of the course. 

For more information about the course and to register, visit: http://bit.ly/RutgersCSR  - 
CSRHub readers can enjoy 20% off using coupon code "CSRHUB20".

Meet one of the course leaders:
Bahar Gidwani, CEO of CSRHub, and NY metro area Angel Investor
Topic:  Bridging the Gap: Sustainability vs. Profitability

 

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A conversation with Bahar:

Q: How is your day-to-day work related to the CSR Certificate Program?
[BG]  We support around 15,000 CSR professionals, more than half of whom are located outside North America.  Our users include sustainability managers, consultant/accountants/lawyers and other advisors, academics, not-for-profit organizations, journalists, and activists.  We provide these users with aggregated sustainability ratings on more than 17,000 entities—public companies, private companies, government agencies, and not-for-profits.  Most of our users do not have formal training in sustainability.  They have had to learn the contents of your program through experience (and probably by making a fair number of preventable mistakes!).

Q: What can Rutgers course attendees expect to learn from your session?
[BG] There has been a perception that corporate sustainability is not directly related to corporate profitability.  We have done research that we believe shows there is a relationship between various aspects of sustainability and important drivers of business success.  We will share some of the reasons we believe these relationships have not yet been fully appreciated and show where further research could be done in the future.

Q: What advice do you have or opportunity that you see for attendees who complete the CSR Certificate Program?
[BG] There is no clear career path yet for sustainability professionals.  While people talk about “Chief Sustainability Officer” roles—very few of them exist in the US.  So, sustainability professionals should be open to incorporating the tools they get from the program into general business practice.  Being aware of sustainability opportunities should help them advance their careers towards other “V level” and “C level” positions.  Once in these positions, they should be able to influence others in their management teams to share their interest in sustainability practice and bring its benefits into their organizations.

* * * * * * * *

Career Background: Bahar Gidwani
Bahar Gidwani
is Chief Executive Officer of CSRHub, co-founded by him in 2007.  The organization provides CSR and sustainability metrics to corporate managers, professionals and researchers.  These metrics are used to manage ESG, employment and community issues.  There are more than 17,000 companies monitored by CSRHub and the “big data” results are sourced from more than 500 organizations.

Before founding CSRHub, Bahar was CEO of Sonobyte Podcasting Voiceover Services; CEO of Index Stock Imagery; and Vice President, Kidder Peabody & Company.

Bahar holds the MBA-Marketing from Harvard Business School (where he was a Baker Scholar); and a B.A.- Astronomy and Physics from Amherst College.  He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designations (securities analysis) from the CFA Institute (Levels I and II); also, the FSI designation from the Financial and Sustainability Initiative organization.  He is trained in Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) reporting.

For more information about the course and to register, visit: http://bit.ly/RutgersCSR  - CSRHub readers can enjoy 20% off using coupon code "CSRHUB20".

 

 

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The Secret Word for Today Is…UN SDGs

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 26, 2017 9:00:00 AM / by Bahar Gidwani

Some readers of this blog may remember how in Pee Wee Herman’s Playhouse, there was always a secret word.  When someone said this word, everyone jumped up and down, screamed, and ran around.  The same sort of thing sometimes happens in sustainability metrics.  Words such as “stranded assets” and “integrated reporting” take on extra weight and meaning that can be surprising to those of us who track the field.

A recent example is the release of the “SDG Commitment Report 100.”  This study came from a new group, the UN Global Sustainability Index Institute (UNGSII).  The UNGSII is a “multi-stakeholder, not-for-profit initiative endorsed by the United Nations.”  It is based in Vaduz, Switzerland, and it aims to provide “an evaluation and comparison of companies’ sustainability performance in a transparent manner” and “develop tools to provide guidance and benchmarking to companies and stakeholders, including investors, so as to encourage progress, but also put them under pressure to improve sustainability performance.”

We support the group’s goal of encouraging corporations to study, understand, and attempt to integrate their sustainability goals with those laid out by the UN.  The bulk of the SDG Commitment Report 100 discusses how a group of 100 companies has attempted to accomplish this.  The UNGSII claims it will use existing assessment and measurement approaches as a starting point for its methodology.  Unfortunately, it included in this first report a ranking of the 100 large companies, solely based on how often they mention the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) in their public statements and financial reports.

Of the 100 companies studied, 18 didn’t mention the UN goals.  As a result, they were ranked at the bottom of this new index.  The top three positions went to Volvo, Novartis, and J. Sainsbury who mentioned the UNSDGs 360, 331, and 316 times, respectively.  While all three of these firms are well-regarded for their sustainability performance, none of them were among the top ten scoring companies from this group, using CSRHub ratings.

We believe CSRHub’s ratings are a fair estimate of the consensus perceived performance for the companies UNGSII studied.  Our system has an average of 46 sources of information (and thousands of individual data points) for the 100 studied companies.  A simple regression of the number of mentions indicator used in the study against CSRHub’s overall percentile rank shows only a 7% correlation between mentions of the UNSDGs and consensus rank.

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We hope that sustainability managers who hear about this new index will realize that this approach to measuring their company’s sustainability performance is limited.  They should not aspire to “win” next year’s iteration by packing their annual reports, financial filings, and sustainability reports with one or another phrase associated with the UNSDGs.  Instead, it would make more sense to stay focused on provided balanced descriptions of a company’s efforts to improve society and the welfare of its stakeholders.  Plus, next year’s “secret word” might be different—and any work to stick in extra versions of this year’s word could be wasted.


Bahar_Gidwani.jpgBahar 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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Does Trump-Putin Aim Lead to the Arctic?

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 20, 2017 8:00:00 AM / by Carol Pierson Holding

In an analysis in Vanity Fair titled “In Trump’s Amerika”, Mike Mariani posits that Trump is using the same “chaos theory” techniques to accumulate power that Putin has used successfully for twenty years. From tweets to out-and-out lies, Trump forces the media to focus on fact-checking rather than digging for truth, making honesty and values irrelevant and feeding passivity among the citizenry. Once this quagmire is established, Trump can pursue his aim unfettered.

      But what is his ultimate aim? What if we were to follow the money and engage in some wild speculation? What’s the most profitable financial benefit of an alliance between Trump and Putin? Why make Rex Tillerson, an Exxon-lifer with a history of doing deals for Putin’s oil operations in the North Sea and Arctic, Secretary of State?

      Arctic-Trump-1.jpgCombine the two leaders’ obsession with personal wealth accumulation with their outsized egos and you might be one of the many pointing to the Arctic. 

      The Arctic is our “last frontier” with gigantic fossil fuel reserves and motherlodes of minerals. If you wanted to (finally) be the richest man in the world, this wouldn’t be a bad place to start.

      First, appreciate the scale. A 2008 United States Geological Survey estimated that areas north of the Arctic Circle have 90 billion barrels of undiscovered, recoverable oil, 17 trillion cubic feet of gas and 44 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.

      What is that worth? The oil and gas is estimated, granted at 2014 prices, to be $17.2 trillion. In addition, the Arctic contains untold deposits of nickel, copper, coal, gold, uranium, tungsten, diamonds, nickel, and iron. And don’t forget the value of a Northern passage that cuts shipping time from Europe to Asia by almost half.

      For some perspective: Exxon’s current proved oil reserves worldwide are worth $2.9 trillion. John D. Rockefeller’s fortune from Standard Oil equaled $340 billion, the largest to date. Bill Gates, today’s richest man, is worth $83.9 billion.

      More than $17 trillion to be carved up by the biggest global powers. A wild west for two cowboys to conquer and divvy up. A chance to finally become the richest men in the world.

      The arctic has pushed back, thrashing would-be drillers with vicious storms. One example: in 2015, Shell lost $8 billion before it was forced to abandon plans for drilling in the Chukchi Sea.

      The best solution, from the Trump-Putin perspective, could be to let climate change do the work. Anything that speeds up climate change melts ice and icebergs, dissolves key impediments to Arctic drilling, and could explain the ubiquity of climate deniers in the Trump cabinet as well as Putin’s assertion that climate change is beneficial for Russia’s economy.

      Rex Tillerson plays a critical role in smoothing U.S.-Russia relations. He has worked with Putin for years. His former company, Exxon, is poised to restart drilling whenever the sanctions against Russia are lifted. Both Trump and Putin can act to remove regulatory barriers.

      It’s already happening. Just last week, Chris D’Angelo reported in the The Huffington Post that —

“President Donald Trump is crafting an executive order aimed (in part) at …revoking former President Barack Obama’s decision to permanently block drilling in 115 million acres in the Arctic.”

      D’Angelo goes on to review potential hurdles to Arctic drilling, including legal challenges and moral outrage. Could Trump and Putin really not care about the future of earth? With everyone in Trump’s administration espousing the view that climate change is a hoax and questioning the scientific proof — if not science itself — we’re watching Trump and Putin apply their chaos technique to drilling in the Arctic.

      Last week Trump’s military dropped the Mother Of All Bombs on Afghanistan, supposedly threatening U.S. relations with Russia. My hunch is that those relations aren’t in any danger at all.

            I posed my crazy theory to a career investment banker, who seemed to have heard it before. But wouldn’t flooding the market with oil boost supply and depress prices? He replied, “A war in the Middle East should take care of that.”

Photo courtesy of Guido Appenzeller


Carol Pierson Holding photo.pngCarol Pierson Holding is President and Founder, Holding Associates. Carol serves as Guest Blogger for CSRHub. Her firm has focused on the intersection of brand and social responsibility, working with Cisco Systems, Wilmington Trust, Bankrate.com, the US EPA, Yale University’s School of Environmental Sciences, and various non-profits. Before founding Holding Associates, Carol worked in executive management positions at Siegel & Gale, McCann Erickson, and Citibank. She is a Board Member of AMREF (African Medical and Research Foundation). Carol received her AB from Smith College and her MBA from Harvard University.

CSRHub provides access to corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and rankings information on 16,495+ companies from 135 industries in 133 countries. Managers, researchers and activists use CSRHub to benchmark company performance, learn how stakeholders evaluate company CSR practices and seek ways to change the world.

 

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