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

Use CSRHub for Stock Picks?

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 14, 2013 12:02:01 PM / by Bahar Gidwani

By Bahar Gidwani

A recent post on TriplePundit compared two companies using CSRHub.

Thanks for looking at CSRHub, as part of your investigation. As you know, we bring together hundreds of sources of sustainability information on more than 7,300 companies in 93 countries. Our goal is to create metrics that will help improve corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Our site is not designed to help you pick stocks. It is designed to help you evaluate whether or not a company is transparent about its social activities, how well it treats its employees, whether or not it has taken steps to cut its carbon and improve its supply chain, and so on.

For instance, McDonald's has reported its social performance using the Global Reporting Initiative framework--Chipotle has not. McDonald's has won awards for supporting Hispanic suppliers, for its treatment of women managers, and it has joined the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. Chipotle hasn't won these awards or joined SPC.

[csrhubwidget company="McDonalds-Corporation" size="650x100" hash="c9c0f7"]

At the same time, McDonald's product (e.g., its food), doesn't get good ratings for its sustainability from Better World (McDonald's gets a D- compared to an A for Chipotle). Both companies get decent scores on their human rights performance from Human Rights Campaign, but McDonald's has a more balanced board structure, that probably provides stronger oversight than Chipotle receives.

[csrhubwidget company="Chipotle-Mexican-Grill-Inc" size="650x100" hash="c9c0f7"]

From the above, you can see that if you want a more sustainable sandwich, you might choose Chipotle. If you want to eat in a place that  is friendly to Hispanics, you might choose McDonald's. We believe that improvements in sustainability will be driven by a wide range of factors--and a wide range of personal views. We try to give you the data you need to make your own decision about which company you want to buy from, sell to, or work with--based on what is important to you.

Our data probably won't tell you which stock will go up and which will go down. Stock prices--at least in the near term--are driven much more by earnings and other corporate news than by what score a company gets from a ratings source. However, we believe your personal choice of a Chipotle meal rather than a McDonald's meal--based on your understanding and knowledge of each company's corporate social responsibility performance--should eventually make a difference in how each company behaves. Our goal has been to allow you to make more informed choices. We hope we've achieved that and given you reasons to probe further and to learn more.


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. Bahar is a member of the SASB Advisory Board. He plays bridge, races sailboats, and is based in New York City.

CSRHub provides access to corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information on 7,300+ companies from 135 industries in 93 countries. By aggregating and normalizing the information from 230 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 change the world.

 

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[fa icon="comment"] 3 Comments posted in Bahar Gidwani, Better World, Human Rights Campaign, Sustainable Packaging Coalition, Uncategorized, Triple Pundit, Chipotle, Global Reporting Initiative, Hispanic suppliers, McDonald's

Turning ‘we don’t report’ into ‘we do’

[fa icon="calendar'] May 21, 2013 10:23:52 AM / by Bahar Gidwani

By Bahar Gidwani

We were recently invited by our friends at Trucost to moderate a webinar with the above title.  Our shared goal was to encourage more companies to start reporting their sustainability performance.

You can download the webinar from the Trucost site, here.  However, I thought I’d share a few of the things I learned from preparing for the talk and from the other panelists.

I started the webinar by sharing some figures from the CSRHub database.  I showed the audience that only 30% of companies in developing countries outside the US are using one of the three main reporting systems (the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the Carbon Disclosure Project (now CDP), and the UN Global Compact or UNGC).  US companies lag far behind—with only about 10% of the companies we track reporting via these systems.

I didn’t spend a lot of time during the webinar bragging about this data.  However, I was pretty proud to see that our coverage has now grown to the point where we can start to make broad, worldwide statements about corporate social performance.  We currently cover more than 7,300 companies in 93 countries.  Other sources have claimed that “reporting is rising rapidly” and that “90% of large companies are reporting.”  If we take the term “large company” to include those over $100 billion in revenue, these statements are true.  However, when we look at companies between $100 million and $1 billion (which most people would still consider “large”), reporting remains quite weak.

The next speaker was Lorinda Rowledge, who is one of the founders of EKOS International.  Over the past 17 years, Lorinda has helped many large companies take their first steps towards reporting their performance.  Among other things, she offered this set of insights into the benefits of making an initial report.

Our third speaker was James Salo of Trucost.  Jamie uses Trucost’s proprietary models (some of which he helped build) to improve company understand of their environmental performance.  He showed the audience this great example of how a company could use the data it gathers through a reporting process to help visualize its competitive position.

After we shared our slides, we took questions and comments from the audience.  In particular, there remains confusion about new standards for reporting such as those being proposed by SASB and the IIRC.  We agreed that we are happy to see the quality of reporting improved by these efforts—as long as they don’t discourage or confuse companies who are just starting on their journey into reporting.


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. Bahar is a member of the SASB Advisory Board.  He plays bridge, races sailboats, and is based in New York City.

CSRHub provides access to corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information on 7,300+ companies from 135 industries in 93 countries. By aggregating and normalizing the information from 200 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 change the world.

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[fa icon="comment"] 1 Comment posted in Bahar Gidwani, Carbon Disclosure Project, CSR, EKOS International, UNGC, UN Global Compact, Uncategorized, IIRC, Lorinda R. Rowledge, James Salo, SASB, sustainability performance, Trucost, CDP, Global Reporting Initiative, GRI

Private Company Ratings on CSRHub

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 20, 2013 9:00:29 AM / by Bahar Gidwani

By Bahar Gidwani

Publicly-traded companies are a big part of world economic activity.  However, most of the world’s goods, services, and jobs are generated by privately held companies (including large, medium-sized, and smaller companies), not-for-profit enterprises (including foundations, schools, and religious institutions), and government organizations (airports, ports, municipal governments, agencies, etc.).  CSRHub’s mission is to provide transparent information on the social performance of all types of enterprises.  This past month, we have begun to offer ratings on a number of private and government organizations.

Why couldn’t we do this before?  The original pressure for revealing social performance data came from investors who wanted to put their money only into companies that had a positive social impact.  These investors supported the work of financial analyst groups, encouraged the rise of reporting systems such as the Global Reporting Initiative, and helped fund not for profit groups like the Carbon Disclosure Project (which has recently re-christened itself “CDP”).  These systems tended to focus on the largest and most widely-held companies—the ones that large investors most wanted to know about.

Competitive pressures—and investor interest in investing in smaller growth companies and public companies in less-developed economies—has caused the coverage universe of financially driven research to expand.  Some of our data partners now claim to track the social performance of 30,000 publicly-traded companies.  At the same time, a growing number of non-public organizations have begun reporting data on their sustainability performance.  For example, we estimate that about 1,800 non-public organizations filed Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) reports in 2012, as did at least a thousand of the 5,000 reports offered via CDP.

Two additional sources of data have emerged on non-public companies over the past few years.  One is crowd source/user contributed data feeds.   Employee opinions about 110,000 companies come from Glassdoor, sustainability-oriented user ratings on 5,000 companies come from GoodGuide/ULE and more than 30,000 products and companies come from WeGreen, data on the brand value of 5,000+ organizations derive from Brand Finance, and 27 measures of risk on 32,800 companies, 7,000 projects, 5,300 NGOs and 4,500 governmental bodies come via RepRisk.  Some of these sources receive fees from investors, some are supported by donors, and some generate revenue from selling services such as job ads or consulting.

The second new source arises from the effort by major companies to improve the sustainability of their supply chains.  Engagement from a company’s supply chain is vital to meet announced sustainability goals (e.g., a 20% reduction in carbon use) or respond to pressure from social groups on water user, treatment of indigenous peoples, child labor, etc.  Using software systems from firms such as Source 44, OneReport, Credit360, Enablon, Eco-Vadis, CSRware, and others, large companies gather huge databases of sustainability data on their own operations and on their suppliers—many of whom are not publicly traded.  Industry organizations (e.g., EICC, The Sustainability Consortium, SEDEX, and Sustainable Packaging Coalition) help by providing standard questionnaires and by allowing their members to share data and supply chain audits.

When we add data from some of these new sources to the information we obtain from other more conventional inputs, we can rate almost 200 non-public companies and organizations.  The initial list includes companies such as Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Levi Strauss, S. C. Johnson, and TIAA CREF.  We also have partial ratings on McKinsey & Company, The US Postal Service, and Finnair.  As a group, our non-public companies have a respectable average rating (using our average user profile) of 55.5—seven points above the average for all companies of 48.5.

non-public companies

This good performance makes sense—the first non-public organizations to report are likely to be those who have good social performance and who want others to know about it.  We expect the next wave of smaller organizations and government groups to bring this average down—just as smaller public company scores lag behind those of bigger public companies.  We also expect the number of sources on non-public organizations to converge towards the average for publicly-traded organization of about eight sources.

Average Number of Sources

Non-Public Organizations

4.3

Publicly-Traded Companies

7.8

Would you like to help us further our cause by bringing you more non-public organization information?  If you would, please:

  • Reward non-public organizations who report—even if their scores still are not as good as we might like—by giving them your business and your attention.
  • Share ratings from non-public organizations with other non-public organizations.  We need to break down the organizational barrier that says “we are private so we don’t talk about these things.”
  • Encourage anyone who collects information to allow the groups they collect their data from to control their own data and to have the option of sharing it.  It is unfair for big companies to require their supply chain components to pay to gather and report data, but to not get further value from their work.

Our long term goal is to provide a CSRHub rating for any type of organization—public, private, or governmental—of any size, in any location.  To reach our goal, we need your help to encourage all organizations to report their social performance and to make available more of the data that has already been collected in various sustainability tracking systems.


Bahar GidwaniBahar Gidwani is a Cofounder and CEO of CSRHub. Formerly, he was the CEO of New York-based Index Stock Imagery, Inc, from 1991 through its sale in 2006. He has built and run large technology-based businesses and has experience building a multi-million visitor Web site. Bahar holds a CFA, was a partner at Kidder, Peabody & Co., and worked at McKinsey & Co. Bahar has consulted to both large companies such as Citibank, GE, and Acxiom and a number of smaller software and Web-based companies. He has an MBA (Baker Scholar) from Harvard Business School and a BS in Astronomy and Physics (magna cum laude) from Amherst College. Bahar races sailboats, plays competitive bridge, and is based in New York City.

CSRHub provides access to corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information on 7,000+ companies from 135 industries in 91 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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[fa icon="comment"] 3 Comments posted in Bahar Gidwani, Carbon Disclosure Project, credit360, CSR, GoodGuide, non-public companies, publicly-traded companies, privately- traded companies, Source 44, Uncategorized, WeGreen, industry organizations, Onereport, sustainability, NGO, social performance, software systems, Brand, Brand Finance, CDP, CSRHub, Glassdor, Global Reporting Initiative, GRI

COMMIT!Forum Right Around The Corner!

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 20, 2012 10:02:11 AM / by CSRHub Blogging

CSRHub CEO and Co-founder Bahar Gidwani will be speaking at CR Magazine’s Corporate ResponsibilityCOMMIT!Forum, Good Business Makes the Difference, October 2-3, 2012 in New York, NY.  Joining Bahar’s conference panel, Assuring Sustainability, will be executives from Intel, UPS and the Global Reporting Initiative.

Bahar will be moderating one of the Ask-the-Expert discussions, Assuring Sustainability: When & How to Undergo Third Party Validation…and When Not To.  He will also be leading one of the CROA discussion groups on CSR training.

Assurance can improve trust, but at what cost? Is it right for your firm right now, or should you explore other options? Hear from seasoned practitioners and experts who've weighed the options for themselves and come to different conclusions. In engaging session our panelists will share their perspectives and provide you with a roadmap for making your own decisions.

Featuring:

  • Michael Jacobson, Director, Corporate Responsibility Office, Intel
  • Steve Leffin, Director, Global Sustainability, UPS
  • Marjella Alma, External Relations Manager, Global Reporting Initiative

Register to attend COMMIT!Forum today using ID Code: CSRHUB at  www.eiseverywhere.com/commit2012?discountcode=CSRHUB, to enjoy one of two special offers from CSRHub valued up to $225!


Bahar Gidwani is a Co-founder and CEO of CSRHub. Formerly, he was the CEO of New York-based Index Stock Imagery, Inc, from 1991 through its sale in 2006. He has built and run large technology-based businesses and has experience building a multi-million visitor Web site. Bahar holds a CFA, was a partner at Kidder, Peabody & Co., and worked at McKinsey & Co. Bahar has consulted to both large companies such as Citibank, GE, and Acxiom and a number of smaller software and Web-based companies. He has an MBA (Baker Scholar) from Harvard Business School and a BS in Astronomy and Physics (magna cum laude) from Amherst College. Bahar races sailboats, plays competitive bridge, and is based in New York City.

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[fa icon="comment"] 3 Comments posted in Assuring Sustainability, Bahar Gidwani, Commit!Forum, CR Magazine, Uncategorized, Intel, UPS, Global Reporting Initiative, GRI

CSRHub’s Bahar Gidwani Speaking at COMMIT!Forum

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 29, 2012 10:26:11 AM / by Bahar Gidwani

CSRHub CEO and Co-founder Bahar Gidwani will be speaking at CR Magazine’s Corporate ResponsibilityCOMMIT!Forum, Good Business Makes the Difference, October 2-3, 2012 in New York, NY.  As COMMIT!Forum’s website states, “It’s called the COMMIT!Forum because it calls on individuals and organizations to make commitments that change the world.” Joining Bahar’s conference panel, Assuring Sustainability, will be executives from Intel, UPS and the Global Reporting Initiative.

You can join world leaders in corporate responsibility and “walk into MissionPossible Case Studies, Game Changing Innovation Lightening Rounds and Ask-the-Expert Discussions ready to dive into the issues at hand.”
Bahar will be moderating one of the Ask-the-Expert discussions, Assuring Sustainability: When & How to Undergo Third Party Validation…and When Not To.

Assurance can improve trust, but at what cost? Is it right for your firm right now, or should you explore other options? Hear from seasoned practitioners and experts who've weighed the options for themselves and come to different conclusions. In engaging session our panelists will share their perspectives and provide you with a roadmap for making your own decisions.

Featuring:

  • Michael Jacobson, Director, Corporate Responsibility Office, Intel
  • Steve Leffin, Director, Global Sustainability, UPS
  • Marjella Alma, External Relations Manager, Global Reporting Initiative 

If you haven’t already, register to attend COMMIT!Forum today!


 

Bahar Gidwani is a Co-founder and CEO of CSRHub. Formerly, he was the CEO of New York-based Index Stock Imagery, Inc, from 1991 through its sale in 2006. He has built and run large technology-based businesses and has experience building a multi-million visitor Web site. Bahar holds a CFA, was a partner at Kidder, Peabody & Co., and worked at McKinsey & Co. Bahar has consulted to both large companies such as Citibank, GE, and Acxiom and a number of smaller software and web-based companies. He has an MBA (Baker Scholar) from Harvard Business School and a BS in Astronomy and Physics (magna cum laude) from Amherst College. Bahar races sailboats, plays competitive bridge, and is based in New York City.

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[fa icon="comment"] 0 Comments posted in Assuring Sustainability, Bahar Gidwani, Commit!Forum, Uncategorized, Intel, UPS, Global Reporting Initiative, GRI

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