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

Something to Look Forward to at BCCCC

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 21, 2016 9:47:55 AM / by Cynthia Figge

By Cynthia Figge

This week I have the pleasure of attending Boston College’s 2016 International Corporate Citizenship conference.  Our friends at BCCCC have asked me to speak about ratings, rankings and data analytics. I look forward to meeting with many of the leaders in the CSR movement.

CSRHub is a Benchmark Sponsor of this year’s event, and attendees will receive a complimentary CSRHub report covering the company of their choice.  Most have requested reports on their own companies, but some have asked about other companies that may have a best practice or two they’d like to learn.  We ran a quick average of the overall rankings for 88 companies that were requested from our system.

We expect this group to outperform the more than 15,500 companies we rate as many of the requests are for member companies of BCCCC and therefore committed to improving their corporate citizenship.  The table below shows that while the average overall rating for this group is slightly above average at 55.4%, the highest category ranking is Employees. With about 600 companies in attendance, we will rerun this analysis as we produce more company reports.

BCCCC top 5 companies

The table also illustrates five companies (all BCCCC members) requested with high scores within the CSRHub system.  We have enjoyed this opportunity to share our metrics with the BCCCC community.  Our mission is to encourage transparent access to sustainability information and to generate feedback and change from this data.  I’m looking forward to several days of learning from companies that are leading the way, and from others who are working hard to improve their companies’ performance.


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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CSRHub's Cynthia Figge speaking at Boston College's 2016 International Corporate Citizenship Conference

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 17, 2016 9:53:31 AM / by CSRHub Blogging

BCCCC 2016 Conference

CSRHub Co-Founder and COO, Cynthia Figge, will be a panelist at Boston College’s 2016 International Corporate Citizenship Conference. This event will be held on March 20-22nd in Atlanta, GA. Cynthia will be speaking at the Session focused on Ratings, Rankings and Data Analytics.  Cynthia will be joined by Eric Fernald from MSCI and Susanne Katus from eRevalue, in a session moderated by Stephen Donofrio, BC Center for Corporate Citizenship, to discuss the landscape of how companies are measured. The audience will receive tips to shape their companies' approach to the complex world of ratings and rankings.

CSRHub is a Benchmarking Sponsor of the 2016 International Corporate Citizenship Conference. We look forward to joining experts from around the world in sharing the innovative new programs, partnerships, and solutions that are driving positive change across the globe.

For the agenda of this event and more information, please click here.


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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Join CSRHub’s Cynthia Figge at Sustainable Brands New Metrics conference!

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 12, 2013 10:06:39 AM / by Cynthia Figge

CSRHub Cofounder and COO, Cynthia Figge, is speaking at the New Metrics of Sustainable Sustainable Brands New Metrics ConferenceBusiness conference sponsored by Sustainable Brands on September 24-25, 2013 at the University of Pennsylvania. Cynthia will be speaking on 2 topics:Evening Plenary Discussion: New Metrics for Trust, Reputation and Green Brand ValueAre current leading measures of trust, reputation and brand value adequate? Up to speed with a rapidly changing landscape of stakeholders' attitudes? What co-creative efforts might assessment and data providers engage in to get to improved metrics of evolving notions of trust, reputation and brand value? How can brands stay ahead of that process?Amy du Pon
Global Head of Data Insights, Havas Media Group

Cynthia Figge
Co-Founder, CSRHub

Denis Riney
Senior Partner, Marketing, BrandLogic

David Metcalfe
CEO & Co-Founder, VerdantixCompare and Contrast: Sustainability Performance Ratings and RankingsWith over 100 organizations working on some kind of sustainability performance rating or ranking, how can companies decide which one(s) to focus on, or manage against? What do the people behind some of the most popular methodologies out there worry about, and is there any order to this seemingly chaotic situation? What should brands worry about in this confusing picture?Mark Tulay
Program and Organizational Development Executive, Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings (GISR)

Toby Heaps
CEO, Corporate Knights

Bob Mann
COO, Sustainalytics

Cynthia Figge
Co-Founder, CSRHub

Register today at www.sbiif.com/register using the code NWSPKNM for 20% off an All Event or 1-day ticket for the conference.


Cynthia FiggeCynthia Figge is a forerunner, thought leader and speaker on the corporate sustainability movement. As the co-founder and COO of CSRHub, Cynthia's team provides free corporate sustainability ratings on over 8,400 publicly-traded and private companies worldwide. In addition to CSRHub, Cynthia is the co-founder of EKOS International, one of the first consultancies to integrate sustainability and corporate strategy. She has crafted corporate sustainability strategies for a host of major organizations, including BNSF, Boeing, Coca-Cola, Dow Jones, and REI. Cynthia also serves as an advisor to SNS Future in Review, Board Director of Compassionate Action Network, and served as President of the Board of Sustainable Seattle. She has an MBA from Harvard Business School. Prior speaking engagements in corporate responsibility have included SRI Basecamp, Future in Review, Sustainable Brands, and SRI in the Rockies.

 

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March Data Madness for CSRHub

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 18, 2013 9:00:18 AM / by Bahar Gidwani

By Bahar Gidwani

CSRHub recently extended the historic data available to its subscribers back to 2008.  Our users can now study the month to month change in sustainability performance for thousands of companies from December 2008 to the present.

We current rate 7,200 companies, using data drawn from more than 200 sources.  Our data set has been growing steadily at about 100 new companies rated per month.

March Madness

We use the wide range of data types and perspectives our sources give us to adjust and normalize our data.  We used normalization factors based on our robust 2010 to 2012 data sets to adjust the more limited data sets we had for 2008 and 2009.  As a result, our ratings have remained remarkably stable.

CSRHub March data

Any registered CSRHub user can see a chart that shows the corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance of the companies we track, since 2008.  In many cases, the chart will show partial ratings for a number of months, and a gradual build towards a full rating.  The consequence of a CSR problem can often be tracked visually.  For instance, see these charts for BP following the Gulf Oil spill and the effects on Tepco’s ratings of the Fukishima meltdown.

BP

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred in April of 2010.  By October, all of BP’s ratings had begun to fall.  The worst damage occurred in its Community category score—which fell from the low 60s to the low 40s.  BP’s overall score stabilized in the middle 50s by early 2011 and has remained in that area since then.

TEPCO

Japan was struck by a major tsunami on March 11, 2011.  Tepco’s Fukishima reactor became a worldwide center of attention in the weeks that followed.  Tepco’s environmental score took an immediate hit, followed by drops in its governance and employee scores as more details emerged of how the company had handled the event.  A number of governance changes in late 2011 and 2012 have brought that score now to a new high.

CSRHub professional level subscribers can “roll back” our system to any month in the period.  They can see which sources were available for each company in the system at any point in time.  They can also do historic benchmarks and analysis of long-term trends in corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance.

Several university researchers have already launched studies, using this newly expanded data set.  We expect their work to reveal many insights that we can share with you, as they become available.


Bahar 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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Energy Transparency Key to Greening Buildings

[fa icon="calendar'] May 28, 2012 8:35:00 AM / by Carol Pierson Holding

By Carol Pierson Holding

Why isn’t technology solving our energy problems? As venture capitalist Elton Sherwin discovered, you have to get people to buy the technology first.

Sherwin invested in energy efficiency devices that had huge potential, only to see them flounder in the market. That’s why he got involved with Washington, DC-based Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), whose mission of “addressing market failures that inhibit investment in energy efficiency and sustainability in the building sector” is close to his heart.

GreenBuilding
One of IMT’s efforts is to work with state and local agencies to introduce ordinances for building energy performance benchmarking and disclosure. This could mean installing energy control and measurement devices, which Sherwin invests in.

I heard about IMT from Seattle building performance consultants Theresa Stroisch and Kevin Dingle of Sustaining Structures, which was recently featured in an IMT report on Energy Disclosure. Seattle is one of five urban centers that have established ordinances that require energy disclosure and reporting.

But which tool would be best for reporting and benchmarking? Turns out, it’s an easy decision. Energy Star for Buildings is centralized, free and neutral. Better yet, it already has a blue-chip reputation. And Energy Star already has had accepted ratings for buildings in place since 1996. Lots of data. Lots of credibility.

And what about disclosure? Energy Star’s labeling program for appliances was not successful until Energy Star began airing advertising to get the word out, then linking the brand to cost savings. (Full disclosure: I worked on Energy Star branding in the 1990s.) The environmentally friendly argument alone wasn’t enough for consumers, and if consumers didn’t care, why should manufacturers care? So Energy Star made consumers into activists by putting the energy savings on every appliance. In return, consumers rewarded Energy Star appliances by buying them, often paying more for energy transparency.

What would it take for commercial building customers to do the same? This is what IMT figured out. First, local building codes would have to include compliance with an Energy Star for Buildings minimum rating. Then these ratings would have to be made public. Three of IMTs trial cities – New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC – are doing just that, plus requiring that buildings publish their utility costs. Tenants and buyers are able to compare future utility expenses between buildings they are considering.

And just like with appliances, energy transparency makes all the difference. In New York, where the Energy Star for Buildings ratings are highly publicized, compliance is at 80 percent. In Seattle, where it’s not, it’s 30 percent.

The final argument for making buildings energy efficient is that it creates local jobs in construction, manufacturing and consulting. Dingle describes his experience this way:

“Ordinances like the one in Seattle uncover opportunities for improving building performance.  In turn jobs are created that have a focus on energy efficiency.  I have worked with building owners who were initially reluctant to comply with the ordinance… ultimately earning an Energy Star Label for their building, leading to near 100 percent occupancy.”

The appeal of renewable energy as an investment may dim with the decline of subsidies in that area of green, as the New York Times and others predict. But Sherwin’s existing and future investments in devices that measure and control energy are looking good. And once those devices are in commercial buildings, they might gain traction with consumers, also eager to reduce energy costs.

IMT and Energy Star are definitely on a roll, even if it feels like a rewind. Jimmy Carter tried to make building conservation work in the 1970s through government regulation and guidelines. We lowered thermostats to 68 degrees and installed flow restrictors for showers. Not very appealing. IMT adds entrepreneurship and energy transparency to the mix. This time, it's working a lot better.

Photo published under Creative Commons license. Courtesy of John Picken on Flickr.

 


Carol Pierson Holding writes on environmental issues and social responsibility for policy and news publications, including the Carnegie Council's Policy Innovations, Harvard Business Review, San Francisco Chronicle, India Time, The Huffington Post and many other web sites. Her articles on corporate social responsibility can be found on CSRHub.com, a website that provides sustainability ratings data on 5,000 companies worldwide. Carol holds degrees from Smith College and Harvard University.

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