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

CSRHub's Bahar Gidwani to Speak at NAEM's 2016 Sustainability Management Conference

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 1, 2016 9:00:04 AM / by Bahar Gidwani

CSRHub Co-Founder and CEO, Bahar Gidwani, will be speaking at NAEM’s 2016 Sustainability Management Conference, in Milwaukee WI, on August 2-3. Bahar will NAEM's Sustainability Management Conference 2016discuss The Next Generation of Sustainability Tools and Data Analysis. At NAEM’s annual conference, attendees will learn how to further integrate sustainability into their business operations from fellow corporate EHS and sustainability leaders. Through a mix of peer-led case studies and benchmark dialogues, NAEM’s annual sustainability conferences allow for participants to gain insights in order to  immediately improve performance, identify opportunities for their businesses and set better sustainability goals.

Wednesday, August 3rd 1:00pm-2:00pm CDT

The Next Generation of Sustainability Tools and Data Analysis

  • Bahar Gidwani, Co-Founder & CEO; CSRHub
  • Jeff Hintzke, Vice President, Deployment Services; Alta Energy Inc.

More powerful technology and ever-improving software are making it easier than ever to collect and report large amounts of data. So, what’s possible now, and what can we expect in the future? Hear from two experts about the new generation of tools at your disposal to sort and dissect data in ways that reveal valuable insights about your sustainability program and company as a whole.

NAEM

The National Association for Environmental Management (NAEM) empowers corporate leaders to advance environmental stewardship, create safe and healthy workplaces, and promote global sustainability. As the largest professional community for EHS and sustainability decision-makers, they provide peer-led educational conferences and an active network for sharing solutions to today’s corporate EHS and sustainability management challenges.

 

To register for this conference please click here.


Bahar GidwaniBahar 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 16,000 companies from 135 industries in 132 countries. By aggregating and normalizing the information from 461 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.

Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]

[fa icon="comment"] 0 Comments posted in Bahar Gidwani, Data Analysis, Sustainability Tools, Uncategorized, NAEM, Alta Energy Inc., CSRHub

Site Selection Magazine Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Analysis

[fa icon="calendar'] Jul 26, 2016 12:28:02 PM / by Bahar Gidwani

By: Bahar Gidwani

Do some states attract more progressive companies while others receive investment from companies who are thought to be less socially progressive?  If so, why might this occur?

A recent article in Site Selection Magazine used the CSRHub database as part of determining which of 50 US states and 132 non-US countries were most attractive for a new site from a sustainability perspective.  This article presents analysis which provides deeper understanding of the corporate social responsibility aspect. Our goal is to make it easier for companies to use sustainability as a site selection criteria and localities to screen siting companies for sustainability, thereby improving their desirability.

CSRHub’s Contribution to the Study

The CSRHub data set contains estimates of the perceived corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance of more than 16,000 entities.  It includes data on both public and private companies and on government entities and not for profits.  CSRHub collects information for its big data engine from more than 469 sources and its data set includes companies from 133 countries.  For more information on how CSRHub ratings are generated, please see the CSRHub site.

Because many Site Magazine entries were from subsidiaries, a total of 3,073 CSRHub companies connected to at least one site decision entry on the Site Selection list, and 2,217 of these matched companies had full CSRHub scores.  These companies were responsible for 5,549 of the site entries—About 55% of these site entries (3,052) were for U.S. sites and the other 45% were for sites in 106 other countries.

Using only scores from fully rated companies, CSRHub calculated two numbers for each US state and for each foreign country:

  • The average perceived CSR performance for the entities headquartered in that location. For example, CSRHub found that the 63 fully rated companies in Minnesota had an average percentile rank of 54.8%. Similarly, the 34 companies in Finland have 88% average ranks.  (CSRHub tracks a total of 137 companies in Minnesota and 72 companies in Finland.
  • The average perceived CSR performance of the entities who placed sites in a location. For example, entities with an average 58.5% rank placed 93 sites in Georgia.  (Another 23 sites were placed by entities who were headquartered in Georgia.)  Entities with an average 70.7% rank placed 75 sites in Brazil  (Another 5 sites were placed in Brazil by Brazilian companies.)

The difference between these numbers shows whether companies selecting sites in a given location are perceived to be more or less sustainable than that location’s current rating.  The following table shows the relevant data on both scores for the 39 US states that had at least 5 sites selected by companies outside of the state and at least five companies tracked by CSRHub.  The table is sorted in order by the difference between the two scores.

Comparison US State-part 1 Comparison US State-part 2

The preponderance of positive scores is probably due to several factors:

  • Many of the new entrants into these US states came from European companies. European companies have consistently higher sustainability ratings than US companies.
  • Idaho and South Dakota companies already have relatively high scores. They may be seeing lower scores for those siting in their state because they are attracting companies primarily interested in extracting their resources.
  • Connecticut has positioned itself as a business-friendly state and this may have encouraged some lower-ranked companies to enter.
  • Arkansas, Delaware, and Mississippi all have lower starting scores and are likely to see benefits from encouraging positive companies join their communities.

The table below shows the same information for non-US countries.  Note that we have narrowed the list to those countries with at least five sites from companies with headquarters outside the country and that have at least five entities that are fully rated by CSRHub.

Comparison Non-US state- part 1 Comparison Non-US state Part 2

The foreign table shows much bigger differences in the baseline performance of the companies in each country.  The three countries with the biggest negative differential are those who also have the highest average scores for their existing companies.  It is probably difficult for these countries to find many companies outside of their jurisdictions who can match this level of performance.

The three countries with the biggest positive score difference with new site contributors are:

  • Greece—which has very low scores from its current companies and who is getting huge support and attention from other higher-scoring parts of the EU.
  • Saudi Arabia—which is trying to build a base of sustainable, non-energy-reliant industries.
  • Egypt—which has such weak performance within its existing base of companies that outside companies must generally seem quite attractive.

We hope that studies such as the one done by Site Selection Magazine will encourage companies to include sustainability factors in their site research strategies.  Our data suggests that the localities who are accepting new sites will generally see candidate companies who are at least as socially positive as the companies who are already in their communities.  However, it may make sense for localities to screen each candidate carefully and seek to improve their reputation for being a socially positive and sustainable place to put a new site.

Appendix 1:  How CSRHub Generates a Score

How CSRHub generates a score

Appendix 2:

Appendix 2- part1 Appendix 2- part2

Appendix 3:

Appendix 3-part1 Appendix 3-part2 Appendix 3-part3



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 16,000 companies from 135 industries in 132 countries. By aggregating and normalizing the information from 461 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.

Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]

[fa icon="comment"] 0 Comments posted in Bahar Gidwani, Corporate Social Resonsibility analysis, CSR performance, CSRHub ratings, CSRHub score, Non-US performance, Uncategorized, Site Selection Magazine, US state performance, CSRHub

Our Annual Look at Newsweek’s Green Rankings

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 28, 2016 11:04:11 AM / by Bahar Gidwani

By Bahar Gidwani

The 2016 Newsweek Green Rankings were released last week.  Our friends at Corporate Knights Capital and HIP Investor again provided the underlying data behind the list.

We probably get more questions about Green Rankings and the radical changes in position that seem to occur each year, than for any of the 461 different rating systems we track.  The table below shows the changes in position on the list that five companies experienced over the past three years.  Some of this variation may be due to changes that Newsweek has made in the way its scores are calculated and for 2013 to 2014, changes in its data providers.  (Last year’s list was driven by the same providers but there were several changes made prior to this.)  Some variation may be due to actual changes in the performance of the companies on the list and the relatively narrow scope of the study.  (CSRHub currently tracks the sustainability performance of more than 16,000 companies.)  Finally, the Newsweek Green Rankings are meant to assess and measure environmental performance.  Most other ranking systems cover a broader set of sustainability metrics.

Newsweek Green Rankings

Newsweek’s scores correlate reasonably well with the aggregate score we generate from the views of the rest of the ESG ratings space.  (We use a small amount of Corporate Knights information and share a data provider with HIP.  But, we probably less than 3% of our data set with them.)  As you can see below, the Newsweek ratings have about a 50% correlation with CSRHub’s ratings for each set of companies.

Newsweek CSRHub Score Comparison

However, even with this degree of correlation, there is a relatively poor agreement between the companies CSRHub would choose on Newsweek’s list of 500 companies as the best or worst performers and the companies on the Newsweek lists.  (Note that the rest of the analysis in this post focuses on the Global Rankings.  However, we found similar results for the US Rankings.)

Newsweek Global 500 and CSRHub comparison

We dug in a bit more to see if we could explain what might be driving these variation at each extreme.  A correlation between the Newsweek rating and CSRHub’s four category ratings shows that Newsweek’s score as expected is most closely tied to CSRHub’s environment rating.  There is also a connection with CSRHub’s Employee and Governance ratings.  However, there is no statistically supported connection with CSRHub’s Community rating, which includes the three subcategories of Product, Community Development & Philanthropy, and Human Rights & Supply Chain.

CSRHub Regression Analysis

The coefficient for the Environment component of this regression is 2.5X bigger than that for Governance and 4.5X bigger than the effect of Employees.  Still, top Newsweek companies probably need to perform well on at least the “E” and “G” parts of ESG.  The Social “S” part though—Employee and Community issues—has only a weak effect.  This would lead us to predict that some of the difference in rank between Newsweek and CSRHub is driven by differences in these factors.

As you can see below, the top CSRHub companies have average Community and Employee ratings that are 14% and 11% respectively above the average for the top Newsweek companies.  The opposite is true for bottom-ranked companies.

CSRHub Newsweek Community and Employees comparison

The companies who moved up this year are likely to trumpet their success.  Those who moved downward may be able to argue that their overall performance didn’t really change—they only changed emphasis from E and G factors, into the S (Social) area.


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 16,000 companies from 135 industries in 132 countries. By aggregating and normalizing the information from 461 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.

Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]

[fa icon="comment"] 1 Comment posted in Bahar Gidwani, community, governance, Human Rights & Supply Chain, Uncategorized, Newsweek's Green Rankings, Product, ratings and rankings, Community Development & Philanthropy, Corporate Knights Capital, CSRHub, Employee, HIP Investor

The Relationship Between Corporate Sustainability and Human Development

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 12, 2016 10:24:32 AM / by Bahar Gidwani

By: Bahar Gidwani

A number of years ago, CSRHub showed that its measures of corporate sustainability correlate with the level of development of countries.  For that study, we used the United Nations Human Development Index (HDI).  We found a correlation of 28% for 27 developed countries, but poor correlation with human conditions in less developed countries.

Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter and his colleagues at a group called The Social Progress Imperative have developed a new way of measuring country human development called the Social Progress Index.  The SPI Index is highly correlated with the UN HDI.

SPI_Development Index

The SPI contains more levels of detail than the HDI.  (For the SPI, 61 raw value indicators lead to 12 calculated scores that roll up to three dimensions and a final score.  The HDI is driven by five measures.)  The SPI covers 161 countries—the HDI tracks 199.  Both cover more countries than CSRHub (we have data on companies in 132 countries).  However, after we throw out the 70 countries where CSRHub does not yet have enough rated companies to generate solid average scores for all four of the categories CSRHub tracks, there is a 57 country overlap with the SPI.

At the most simple level, the SPI score for a country is well-correlated with the average CSRHub ratings for the companies in each country.  The r-square of 33% is paired with a F score of 6.5.  This suggests a greater than 0.9995 confidence that two data sets are related.

CSRHub and SPI scores

Digging down into the details shows that positive corporate behavior in the community area is negatively correlated with gains in SPI.  In contrast, positive corporate behavior in environment areas is positively correlated with gains in SPI.

SPI explained by CSRHub Category

We believe that companies in countries with weak SPI scores have built good community programs to offset their society’s weaknesses.  In contrast, companies in the countries with good SPI scores have built up their environment programs, to help improve trust in their activities.

The high “P-Values” and small tStat coefficients for the correlations with Employees and Governance ratings indicates that these company programs are not directly tied to the SPI.  This makes sense, as the SPI’s indicators are focused on societal issues such as health, literacy, and longevity, not on how well corporations pay their employees, train them, or how well they govern themselves.  Still, it is disappointing that there is not a connection between these elements and the SPI.  We would have liked to believe that paying one’s employees well and giving them good benefits would improve overall health and well-being.  We would also have liked to see a tie between a high standard of ethics within corporations and strong government programs that care for those who are disadvantaged or poor.

Note that our study is limited due to the fact that we tie a company solely to the country it is headquartered in.  Most of the larger companies we track have operations in multiple countries and often, multiple regions.  We are also working with a single year’s data on both companies and countries.  Longer term studies may reveal a richer level of detail.

With the wealth of data now available via the SPI, there should be many opportunities for further study on the tie between corporate behavior and societal performance.  We hope our readers will share any results they uncover so that we can make sure that responsible corporations get fair credit for the social benefits they create within their societies.


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 15,000 companies from 135 industries in 132 countries. By aggregating and normalizing the information from 435 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. 

Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]

[fa icon="comment"] 0 Comments posted in Bahar Gidwani, CSRHub ratings, UN HDI, Uncategorized, United Nations Human Development Index, SPI, CSRHub, Social Progress Index

Implementing SASB - A Role for Regulators and Industry Associations

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 4, 2016 10:04:40 AM / by Bahar Gidwani

By Bahar Gidwani

This is part 3 of a 3-part series on Implementing SASB.

In my last two posts, I showed that two dissimilar industries may have a similar lack of preparedness to disclose material sustainability-related information to investors.  In order to conform to the guidance set out in SASB’s standards, the Metals & Mining (M&M) and Apparel, Accessories, & Footwear (AA&F) will need to collect large quantities of new data or reshape existing data streams.

Outside organizations such as government regulators and industry associations could prove to be crucial factors in moving these industries forward.  For instance, all US mining operations are required to report injuries to the Mining Safety Health Administration (MSHA).  Therefore, a high percentage of M&M companies are able to disclose information on their workplace health and safety issues.

Health and Safety Disclosure

Unfortunately, MSHA does not require companies to publicly disclose their reports to this agency.  Each company tends to to take its own approach to the scope and format of its public disclosure—and outside sources interpret these results in different ways.  The result is that the same company may get a good rating from one source and a bad one from another.

Health and Safety Statistics

MSHA probably cannot change its disclosure rules without Congressional support—but, it could provide a pathway for sharing more of data—and for encouraging more consistent reports—by inviting companies to declare that their raw original filings can be collected and shared.  (This is similar to some of the efforts that have been undertaken in the supply chain area.  For instance SEDEX allows customers to share their audits of suppliers with one another.)  Then, sources who analyze this information would at least have the same starting point for their work—and companies could better compare their performance against those of their peers.

In AA&F the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) has led the way towards improved supply chain management for its members, by creating the Higg Index.  This set of tools is designed to help organize and harmonize supply data for the AA&F industry.  Unfortunately, only 21 of the 159 companies we studied in our AA&F report (13%) are members of SAC.  Note that their perceived sustainability performance is well above the average for the non-members.

SAC member ratings

The AA&F industry has formed special organizations to respond to supply chain issues.  For instance, in response to the Rana Plaza collapse, a group of European-based clothing companies set up the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (Accord).  This group has grown to include 220 members, of whom 67 are tracked by CSRHub and 14 are part of the SICS group of Apparel, Accessories, & Footwear companies.  A second group of 17 mostly US companies set up the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (Alliance).  Labor unions and other NGOs have criticized the garment industry for failing to create a unified response and for some of the actions of both groups.  In general there has been more support for the Accord group than for the Alliance (see this Clean Clothes Accord analysis, for instance), but both groups have been harshly criticized and many of the problems that underlay the Rana disaster (and the previous deadly fire also in Bangladesh, at the Tazreen factory in 2012), continue to be present.  Still, companies in both groups seem to have sustainability performances that are above the level for the industry in general.  This indicates that a combination of intra-industry leadership and external pressure could help move the AA&F industry forward.

CSRHub Ratings of Apparel industry

More details on these findings are available in the SASS reports on these two industries.

In these three posts, we have shown that it may take many years for two industries to disclose all of the investor-material information that is described in the SASB standards.  During the adoption period, investors who desire the material information described in these standards will either need to work with partial data, use indicators that correlate with or can otherwise substitute for the desired metric, or invest in only those companies who have adopted the standard.  We do not know which approach will dominate or how long it will take before compliance becomes the norm and not the exception.  However, the next few years are likely to offer exciting opportunities to investors who specialize in using non-financial sustainability-related information.

See The SASS (Sustainable Accounting Standings Series) Apparel, Accessories and Footwear Industry Report.

See The SASS (Sustainable Accounting Standings Series) Metals & Mining Industry Report.

See part 1 of the Implementing SASB series.

See part 2 of the Implementing SASB series.


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 15,000 companies from 135 industries in 132 countries. By aggregating and normalizing the information from 435 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.

Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]

[fa icon="comment"] 0 Comments posted in Accessories & Footwear, Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, Apparel, Bahar Gidwani, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, SICS, Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Uncategorized, SAC, Sustainability Accounting Standings Series, SASB, SASS, Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, Clean Clothes Accord, CSR ratings, Metals & Mining

Subscribe to Email Updates

Lists by Topic

see all

Posts by Topic

see all