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

Agrion Energy Summit Right Around the Corner!

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 15, 2013 9:37:30 AM / by CSRHub Blogging

Agrion Energy Summit & Sustainability Meeting

CSRHub CEO and Co-founder Bahar Gidwani will be speaking at the Agrion Energy Summit & Sustainability Meeting, February 19-20, 2013, in New York, NY. Joining Bahar’s conference panel, Materiality of ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) Factors and Data Transparency, will be:


Meyer Frucher
Vice Chairman, NASDAQ OMX Group
Barbara Pomfret
Senior ESG Analyst, Bloomberg LP
Joyce Haboucha
Director of Socially Responsive Investments, Rockefeller & Co.
Matt Orsagh
Director of Capital Markets Policy, CFA Institute

The panel includes both those who generate data and those who receive and analyze it and we will seek to understand how to improve the reliability and transparency of sustainability data.

CSRHub members can use coupon code 2250 when registering at www.agrion.org/new-york2013 for a very generous discount ($400 value)!


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 nearly 7,000 companies from 135 industries in 82 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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CSRHub’s Bahar Gidwani Speaking at Agrion Energy Summit

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 7, 2013 9:00:20 AM / by Bahar Gidwani

CSRHub CEO and Co-founder Bahar Gidwani will be speaking at the Agrion Energy Summit & Sustainability Meeting, February 19-20, 2013, in New York, NY.  Joining Bahar’s conference panel, Materiality of ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) Factors and Data Transparency, will be:


Meyer Frucher
Vice Chairman, NASDAQ OMX Group
Barbara Pomfret
Senior ESG Analyst, Bloomberg LP
Joyce Haboucha
Director of Socially Responsive Investments, Rockefeller & Co.
Matt Orsagh
Director of Capital Markets Policy, CFA Institute

The panel includes both those who generate data and those who receive and analyze it and we will seek to understand how to improve the reliability and transparency of sustainability data.

CSRHub members can use coupon code 2250 when registering at www.agrion.org/new-york2013  for a very generous discount ($400 value)!

 


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 nearly 7,000 companies from 135 industries in 82 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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Five Questions about CSR Metrics

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 4, 2013 10:01:20 AM / by CSRHub Blogging

By Geoffrey Mazullo 

The interview “Five Questions about CSR Metrics” with Bahar Gidwani, Co-founder and CEO, CSRHub, New York, New York, United States of America, is part of a monthly interview series published by Geoffrey Mazullo, Principal, Emerging Markets ESG.  It was originally published on Emerging Markets ESG on Monday, February 4, 2013 and is republished here with the permission of Emerging Markets ESG.

As previously seen on Emerging Markets ESG

On the first Monday of each month Emerging Markets ESG publishes a special interview with an academic, expert or practitioner about a specific topic with relevance to environmental, social and/or governance (ESG) issues.

This month’s interview, the 11th in the special interview series, is about corporate social responsibility (CSR) metrics and is with Bahar Gidwani, Co-founder and CEO, CSRHub, New York, New York, United States of America.

 

CSRHub provides access to corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information on 6,700 companies from 135 industries in 82 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.  CSRHub rates 12 indicators of employee, environment, community and governance performance and flags many special issues. It offers subscribers immediate access to millions of detailed data points from our 200 data sources. Our data comes from nine socially responsible investing research firms, well-known indices, publications, “best of” or “worst of” lists, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), crowd sources and government agencies. By aggregating and normalizing the information from these sources, CSRHub has created a broad, consistent rating system and a searchable database that links each rating point back to its source.  CSRHub is a B Corporation, an Organizational Stakeholder (OS) with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), a silver partner with Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), and supports both the Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings (GISR) and the International Integrated Reporting Committee (IIRC).  Bahar Gidwani is Co-founder and CEO of CSRHub. He serves on the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Advisory Board.  Bahar Gidwani was 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 website. 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. Bahar is based in New York City.

 

Emerging Markets ESG:  What are CSR metrics?

Bahar Gidwani:  The CSRHub Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) metrics allow corporate managers to understand how their company is performing socially relative to other companies in the same industry or geography.  By giving managers “benchmarks”, we allow them to discover the strengths and weaknesses in their company’s sustainability-related policies and practices.  Our metrics assure CSR area managers that they can promote and publicize the things their companies are doing well.  They also indicate which other companies the manager could approach for guidance on “best practices” for CSR-related issues.  And, they allow both CSR professionals and outside stakeholders to track a company’s performance, over time.  By providing broad, consistent, third-party data on performance, metrics allow CSR professionals and their stakeholders to “agree on the facts” and then focus their discussion on the actions needed to improve sustainability performance.

 

Emerging Markets ESG:  Over the past five years, the financial industry has accepted the acronym ESG (environmental, social and governance) to describe the three groups of extra-financial factors that influence corporate performance.  Do you agree with the ESG taxonomy?

Bahar Gidwani:  We studied 14 taxonomies at the start of our project, five years ago.  We looked for common themes and approaches and sought ways in which they could be coordinated and combined.  We elected to use four main pillars: Community, Employees, Environment and Governance instead of the three in ESG (Environment, Social and Governance).

Our decision turns out to be reasonably well supported by an analysis of the data contributed by our data sources.  The 7,265 different data elements we have ingested to date divide up as follows:

Community – 20%;

Employees – 18%;

Environment – 32%; and

Governance – 30%.

It seems to us that we have enough data to provide solid support for four pillars instead of three.  However, our data suggests that the three pillar ESG model is also reasonable.

 

Emerging Markets ESG:  Could you please list the 12 indicators of employee, environment, community and governance performance CSR Hub rates.

 

Bahar Gidwani:  The twelve indicators or subcategories include the following:

Community: (1) Human Rights and Supply Chain, (2) Product, and (3) Community Development and Philanthropy.

Employees: (1) Diversity and Labor Rights, (2) Compensation and Benefits, and (3) Training, Health and Safety.

Governance: (1) Board, (2) Transparency and Reporting, and (3) Leadership Ethics.

Environment: (1) Environment Policy and Reporting, (2) Resource Management, and (3) Energy and Climate Change.

See a detailed description of each of the categories at CSRHub’s Data Schema.

 

Emerging Markets ESG:  CSRHub uses more than 200 data sources.  Is there a common thread among the data these sources provide or are the data points heterogeneous?

Bahar Gidwani:  We work with a wide range of sources.  This is consistent with our goal to get a “360 degree view” of a company’s performance.

 Type of Source

Number

Percent

Business advisor (e.g., BSR)

9

4%

For-profit business (e.g., Glassdoor)

7

3%

Consultancies (e.g., ISOS)

6

3%

Government (e.g., EPA)

18

9%

Stock indices (e.g., Calvert)

9

4%

Wall Street-related SRI

13

6%

Not-for-profit business (e.g., Climate Counts)

86

43%

Publication (e.g., Newsweek)

53

26%

Total

201

100%

 

The table above shows input from an investor perspective (Wall Street-related, stock indices), an activist perspective (not-for profit), an expert view (business advisor and consultancies), and representatives of the public (for-profit businesses, government and publications).

We integrate any source that meets these criteria:

  • Original data that relates to a sustainability issue (generated and developed by the source and not just re-reported).
  • Coverage of a number of companies—enough that we can compare the offered data against the information we get from other sources.  Via this comparison, we are able to map the data properly into our schema, normalize the data values to remove bias, and properly weight it.
  • Updated at least annually.  We seek to track company change—and to provide a feedback loop that will encourage companies to improve.
  • Company-level.  Many sources offer data on products, buildings, or the performance of CEOs, CFOs, etc.  We are interested in company-level ratings.

Emerging Markets ESG:  Which percentage of the 6,700 companies CSRHub covers are in emerging markets?  Is interest in ESG analysis of emerging market companies growing?

 

Bahar Gidwani:  We currently cover 82 countries.  If you look at our coverage regionally, you will see that more than 33% of the companies we cover are outside of Europe and North America.

Region

Number of Companies

% of Total

Africa

105

2%

Asia

1,058

16%

Caribbean

60

1%

Europe

1,390

21%

Middle East

88

1%

North America

3,230

48%

Pacific

326

5%

South America

148

2%

South Asia

147

2%

Southeast Asia

180

3%

Total

6,732

100%

Our visitors also come from a wide range of geographical locations:

CSRHub user geographic data

As you can see, 28% of our visitors come from the developing world.

As we expand our coverage to include more small companies, private companies, and organizations, we expect to add even more data from outside the developed world.  We hope this will allow us to continue to get strong participation from users outside of North America and Europe.

  

Link

http://www.csrhub.com/  


Geoffrey Mazullo is Principal of Emerging Markets ESG and Adjunct Professor at the School of American Law (SAL) in Gdansk and in Wroclaw, Poland.  Following studies of diplomacy, economics and political science, Mr. Mazullo worked as a corporate governance analyst.  He also worked on several donor-funded capital market development and corporate governance projects. He directed the Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program, a regional financial sector development program. Since 2006 Mr. Mazullo is chair of the evaluation committee of the NASDAQ OMX Baltic Market Awards. He publishes a weekly expert interview, “Five Questions about SRI” and a monthly special interview on a topic of current interest in environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting about/in emerging markets.  He holds a BSFS from Georgetown University and a M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

CSRHub provides access to corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information on nearly 7,000 companies from 135 industries in 82 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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Join us for our Valentine's Day Chocolate and Champagne Event!

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 30, 2013 9:05:15 AM / by Cynthia Figge

By Cynthia Figge

one billion rising

We invite you to “Rise Up Seattle", a One Billion Rising event on February 14th. As co-founder of the local chapter of the Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future (WNSF), Cynthia is happy to announce that WNSF is a co-sponsor of this exciting event.

ONE BILLION RISING began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime.  With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS.  On February 14, 2013, V-Day’s 15th anniversary, we will join activists, writers, thinkers, celebrities, and women and men across the world as we demand change, strike, dance, and RISE UP in defiance of the injustices women suffer, demanding an end at last to violence against women.

“When we started V-Day 14 years ago, we had the outrageous idea that we could end violence against women,” said Eve Ensler. “Now, we are both stunned and thrilled to see that this global action is truly escalating and gaining force, with union workers, parliament members, celebrities, and women of all backgrounds coming forward to join the campaign. When we come together on February 14, 2013 to demand an end to violence against women and girls it will be a truly global voice that will rise up.”

RISE UP SEATTLE
Chocolate & Champagne Event

February 14th, 5:30-7:30+

The Center for Impact and Innovation

Information and tickets here

$15/person or $25/2 people (All are Welcome)

Ticket includes 2 tickets for champagne and/or microbrew

Be part of V-day, watch sensational dancers, an awe-inspiring singer and see film clips from a recently completed documentary while drinking champagne and enjoying Blommer Chocolates. 

Our RISE UP SEATTLE Chocolate & Champagne event features art forms that celebrate the women and men who rise up to resist violence:

University of Washington Dancers - An Accomplished Singer - Powerful film clips - Amazing dancer Chris Daigre of Ewajo Center, leading participants in a dance of solidarity to end violence against women.

Learn More about the Event's Featured Non-Profits

Thank you to our hosts & sponsors

            

WNSF-Pacific NW website

  Join our LinkedIn Group
Or like us on Facebook


Cynthia Figge, Cofounder and COO of CSRHub is a forerunner and thought leader in the corporate sustainability movement. In 1996 she co-founded EKOS International, one of the first consultancies integrating sustainability and corporate strategy. Cynthia has worked with major organizations including BNSF, Boeing, Coca-Cola, Dow Jones, Noranda 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 SNS Future in Review, Board Director for Compassionate Action Network, 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 nearly 7,000 companies from 135 industries in 82 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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Do Great Companies Make Great States?

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 29, 2013 9:00:12 AM / by Bahar Gidwani

By Bahar Gidwani

“I’d like to thank the great citizens of our wonderful state…”  How many times have you heard this greeting?  It implies that good citizens are responsible for building a better community.  The Citizen’s United Supreme Court case added to the view that corporations are “citizens” in certain senses.  So, do “good” corporate citizens contribute also to building “good” states?  Some intriguing research on this topic is now possible thanks to a new corporate social responsibility ratings database from CSRHub.

It is hard to compare corporate and state social performance without making some fairly broad assumptions.  For companies, we can measure how they treat the environment, their communities, and their employees.  We can also assess how well companies are governed by their investors, boards, and management teams.  For states or other communities, we can measure things such as education levels, unemployment levels, divorce rates, or how many crimes are committed.  If we perceive a relationship when we compare these measures, we may not be able to know if companies improved the state it lives in or if the good attitudes of the state have been imbued into the company.  We also know that most large companies operate in multiple states and other countries, around the world.  So, a good company could create positive change in many places other than around its headquarters.

CSRHub has full ratings on 1,453 US companies.  The database also has partial ratings on another 1,880 US companies and organizations.  There are entries for 46 of the 50 states, plus Washington, DC and Puerto Rico.  (There are no fully rated companies from Alaska, West Virginia, or Wyoming and only two for New Mexico.)  If you do a simple average of the overall corporate social responsibility (CSR) scores for the companies in each state, you get an interesting “map” of corporate responsibility behavior, by state.

CSRHub CSR Ratings for December

It looks like there is better average social performance for companies located across the top of the country.  There is also a band of good figures down the middle, interrupted only by poor results in Arkansas.  The range in average ratings is fairly large—Vermont comes in at around 55 and Arkansas averages around 43.  (Estimated overall ratings in the CSRHub system are accurate to within 1.8 points at a 95% confidence interval.)

Can we see connections between company performance and a state’s “livability?”  Yes, we do see correlations between average company social performance and four livability measurements.  Crime rates, divorce rates, unemployment rates all seem lower in states with more positive companies. Average education levels are higher in states with more positive companies.

crime rate

divorce rate

These are only four measures—but all four suggest that positive companies are associated with more livable states.  Most of the correlations are small—suggesting that company behavior contributes only a small amount to changes in these social issues.  But, there certainly seems to be an encouraging connection—one that could start to drive governments to push the companies they supervise and regulate to improve their social performance.

One source of “scatter” in these charts is that the data on some states include “outliers”—companies whose social performance is either much worse or much better than the average for that state.  When we have many companies in the average, these divergences don’t affect the state average that much.  But, when we have only a few companies to consider, a super or subpar performer can shift the numbers.

For instance, the 202 companies in California have an average rating of 49.3. See a recent Business Insider article on the 20 most socially responsible companies in California.  Companies in the high 60s like Gymboree, Dole Food, and Callaway Golf are balanced by companies in the low 30s like Sigma Designs, VeriFone, and Wesco Financial.  Although South Carolina appears to have a higher overall score than California, it has only seven companies in the CSRHub system.  Two strong companies—Blackbaud with a score of 69 and World Acceptance with a score of 64 “rescue” South Carolina.  Without the support of these two companies, this state’s score would drop to 47 from 51.

How could we further refine this analysis?  It would help to include more small companies and organizations, including private companies, educational institutions, and government agencies.  CSRHub is working to increase its coverage of these sectors of the economy and it may soon be able to add this dimension.  Looking at changes over time, would also help.  However, CSRHub’s data goes back only two years, and government data often lags two or three years behind the present.  We will have to wait several more years to do this type of “longitudinal” research.  In the meantime, there seems to be fact-based evidence to change the opening of that speech to:  “I’d like to thank the great citizens and socially positive companies of our wonderful state…”

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 nearly 7,000 companies from 135 industries in 82 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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