After two years of hard work, we launched CSRHUB's alpha site this week. There are pages on the site that talk about us, about our data sources, and about how we build our database and set up our "schema."
However, these pages probably don't give you a sense of what we want to accomplish. Here are some things we don't and do want to do:
- We don't believe anyone can create "absolute" rankings for the companies we cover. Instead, we believe that the relative performance of companies depends on the personal views of our users.
- We don't think that a single source or criteria should be used to evaluate how a company performs socially. Instead, by combining multiple sources and ratings on twelve different subcategories, we can fairly compare a broad range of companies.
- We know that different countries have different standards for corporate social and sustainability behavior. However, we feel it is fair to compare companies from different countries--as long as we use the same criteria and aggregation methods.
- Some people may try to use our data to make personal or even professional investment decisions. We don't encourage this--our data concerns social behavior, not financial performance. There are studies that show that strong social performance leads to good financial performance. However, to take advantage of this connection, an investor needs comparative valuation information and other financial data that we do not supply.
- We are not qualified journalists or a source of news. Instead, we provide "transparency." We make it easier for those who want to study company performance.
- We do not help people choose which product to buy. Most products contain components from a long supply chain of companies. We can help identify which companies in this chain may have social values that conflict with those of our users. But, there are many other factors we cannot yet quantify and accurately track.
NYU Professor Jay Rosen recently pointed out that new on-line sources of information could "make the opaque world of power more transparent." We like the idea that we can help offset the power of corporations and their ability to command attention from media and investors, with a transparent, easy-to-use information hub. We will be adding features, company coverage, and new data sources over the next few months. We hope you will tell us more about what you would like us to do and what you feel we should not try to do, as we move forward, together.