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

CSRHub’s Cynthia Figge to Speak at Sustainable Brand's 2016 New Metrics Conference

[fa icon="calendar'] Oct 25, 2016 8:00:00 AM / by CSRHub Blogging

CSRHub Co-Founder and COO, Cynthia Figge, will be speaking at Sustainable BrandsSustainable Brands New Metrics '16 New Metrics conference, in Boston, Massachusetts, on November 14-16. Cynthia will discuss The Second Generation of ESG Metrics and the Movement to bring “Dark Data” to Light. New Metrics will showcase the macro, corporate and investor landscapes to help business succeed. During the three day conference, new approaches to valuing risk and impact, company goals and KPI’S and new solutions in data management will be among some of the topics discussed.


Monday, November 14th, 5:55pm

Rising Waves: The Second Generation of ESG Metrics and a Movement Toward Bringing ‘Dark Data’ to Light

  • Cynthia Figge, Co-Founder and COO; CSRHub


Virtually all members of the Sustainable Brands community are asking what changes they can expect in corporate disclosure of ESG metrics over the next few years, and how they can best prepare to transition toward a disclosure landscape that is less confusing, less scattered and more consistent over time. While the first generation of sustainability metrics has been driven mostly by custom self-reported data, combined with hundreds of surveys and ratings, a new wave of ESG disclosure trends is shaping up that promises to meet the needs of all stakeholders. This talk will outline the most important features of the next generation of ESG metrics and explain how ‘dark data’ may play a role in it.


Sustainable Brands:

Sustainable Brands is home for the global community of business innovators who are shaping the future of commerce worldwide. Since 2006, their goal has been to inspire, engage and equip today's business and brand leaders to prosper for the near and long term by leading the way to a sustainably abundant future. They do so by offering news and views from thought and practice leaders, live and on-line eventspeer-to-peer learning groups, a robust resource library, a solutions provider directory and more -- all designed to help brand, sustainability and design innovation professionals, social entrepreneurs and the eco-system of value network partners who support them, discover, co-create and successfully execute on new opportunities to profitably innovate for sustainability.



Cynthia Figge, Co-founder and COO of CSRHub

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 corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information on 16,550 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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What’s Next for ESG Metrics?

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 3, 2016 10:17:17 AM / by Bahar Gidwani

By Bahar Gidwani

Several groups have written predictions about the future course of the Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) measurement space.  We’ve seen stories about the importance of millennials (as both customers and employees), a sense that carbon tracking is finally an accepted part of corporate life, and that companies must watch out for a range of new legal and regulatory issues.

At CSRHub, we are exposed to all of these trends, and many more.  Our data collection engine automatically absorbs new data elements on 3,500 topics from 435 data sources.  It analyzes this information, normalizes it, weights it, and outputs ratings on more than 15,000 companies.  Each month we get a fresh look at what sustainability professionals around the world think is important.

One thing we’ve watched for several years is the shift in emphasis between interest in Environmental, Social, and Governance issues (“ESG” issues).  Governance and Environment each had their time as the top area of focus.  However, our data shows clearly that Social issues are now emerging as the focus for corporate social behavior analysis.

The overall sustainability ratings for the companies CSRHub tracks was stable or even dropped a little between 2009 and 2011.  We believe this was due to cutbacks on ESG spending, following the great recession of 2008-9.  Since 2011, we have seen steady overall improvement across companies in all industries and geographic regions.

CSRHub Sustainability Ratings

It is relatively easy to drill down into this data and pull out the average ratings across all of the companies CSRHub tracks, for each aspect of ESG.  However, our coverage has grown rapidly over the past eight years, partly due to the fact that we’ve found more data sources (we started with only 70 sources) and partly due to the fact that more companies are reporting sustainability information.  To ensure that we could focus just on trends in ESG focus, we selected 400 companies from this year’s Fortune 500 for whom we had full ratings back to 2009.

As you can see in the graph below, the ratings on Governance issues for this set of 400 companies have fallen since 2009 (probably as the legal and governmental pressures from the recession receded).  Environment had an upward spike in perceived performance from 2012 through 2014, but has now leveled off.  Social ratings have now started to move up and look likely to soon pass those for the other two areas of ESG.

Social Rating_Rising

We can also track how much information we receive from our sources for each area of social performance.  If we assume that the amount of information our sources receive ties to the amount of information that companies produce, we see evidence that the group of companies we study have generated more data in Social than in either of the other two areas.

Social Data Available_rising rapidly

CSRHub tracks six different social metrics areas: Community Development & Philanthropy; Compensation & Benefits; Diversity & Labor Rights; Human Rights & Supply Chain; Product; and Training Health & Safety.  We expect to see our clients continue to step up their efforts to benchmark their performance against that of their competitors in each of these areas.  Software firms will add more tools and consultants will write more reports on Social practices—just as they did during the 2008-09 era for the Governance space and in the 2012-14 era for the Environment space.  The overall effect should be a refocused interest on improving corporate performance on social issues, over the next few years.

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.


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