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

Is Environmental Pessimism on the Wane?

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 30, 2013 9:21:58 AM / by Carol Pierson Holding

By Carol Pierson Holding

In March, I attended a pancake breakfast with residents of NYU’s Green House, a small Gen X protestordorm set aside for upperclass students who want to “shrink their environmental footprint.” I asked one future biochemist what she thought about NYU’s environmental program. Her bright young face turned sour as she complained that her environmental studies were dominated by disaster science. Where was the hope, she wanted to know?

Her complaint explained a lot of what I was seeing. Interest in climate change is low among the Gen X cohort. Environmental protests have fewer young people than older. Low demand for slots at environmental graduate schools holds acceptance rates at an average 50% of applicants. How awful to hear it confirmed by a current member of this cohort: the message of climate change urgency is failing.

In his article “Pessimism Is Impeding Environmental Advocacy,” Richard Matthews explains the phenomenon:

Decades of research show that appeals to fear can easily backfire causing recipients to reduce the fear without reducing the danger, perhaps by denying that there is anything to fear or concluding that the fear appeal was a manipulation attempt by an untrustworthy source.


Paul Bain (School of Psychology, University of Queensland) and his colleagues conducted a study that shows that informing people about the expected impacts of climate change had no effect on their positions. What did change the positions was thinking about how limiting greenhouse-gas emissions might promote interpersonal warmth and scientific and technological progress. …Bain’s research shows that approaches based on hope work far better than fear.

Sandy hit New York on October 25, 2012. The pancake breakfast was over four months later. It seemed at that moment as though all the attention brought to climate change by the Superstorm might be feeding fear and not, as we had hoped, igniting interest in remediation.

But then, just this week, the zeitgeist seems to have altered.

Maybe it’s only a series of coincidences, but all sorts of mainstream and even conservative media has jumped on the good news about climate change

Bloomberg released its projections for renewables, citing 230% growth by 2030. Bloomberg’s chief executive of New Energy Finance Michael Liebreich adds, “What it suggests is that we are beyond the tipping point towards a cleaner energy future.”

Forbes Magazine published a statement from Ceres President Mindy S. Lubber about how corporations are connecting sustainable models to their own long-term self-interest. She cites Ford as an example: “Ford is on the leading edge of the development of a new generation of hybrids and electric cars. It is challenging Toyota’s dominance in this market in part.”

[csrhubwidget company="Ford-Motor-Company" size="650x100" hash="c9c0f7"]

A report released by Carbontracker warns investors of a carbon bubble: “Greater understanding of the uncertainty and risk around fossil fuels can help the redistribution of these funds towards alternatives more attractive.”

Even the left-leaning media seem more optimistic. David Roberts writing for Grist writes “Solar panels could destroy U.S. utilities, according to U.S. utilities,” quoting an electrical industry report that compares utility delivery of energy to phone wires and predicting a similarly rapid rate of consumer switching. Oregon Public Broadcasting reported that a Beaverton start-up has created a floating "lily pad" that uses solar-activated nanotechnology to break down water contaminants.

And the web site that straddles both profit and planet, TriplePundit, headlined its April 22 edition with this: “Climate Change is Finally Real for the American People.” I urge you to read it. The author, Rosana Francescato, buttresses her argument that we’ve reached the tipping point on climate change with facts from opinion polls and quotes from military and finance leaders.

All this change in less than two months? Of course not. As Francescato says, “Belief in climate change has been progressing for years. Now we’re at the point where some of our most sober institutions are on board to deal with it, and they’ll be backed by increasing public support. With all these sectors of society working on the problem, we have a much better chance of solving it.”

I hope the message is getting to young people like my Green House friend. Climate change will definitely be the greatest challenge of their generation and even more galvanizing than sending a man to the moon. They’ll certainly have my gratitude.

Photo courtesy of macinate via Flickr CC.

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 7,000 companies worldwide. Carol holds degrees from Smith College and Harvard University.

CSRHub provides access to corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information on 7,000+ companies from 135 industries in 91 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"] 4 Comments posted in Bloomberg, Carbon Bubble, Carbontracker, Forbes, Ford, Millenials, Uncategorized, Paul Bain, Michael Liebreich, Mindy Lubber, New Energy Finance, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Rosana Francescato, Sandy, Triple Pundit, Carol Pierson Holding, Cered, David Roberts, Grist, NYU Green House

Cynthia Figge at Sustainable Brands 2012 with Triple Pundit's Nick Aster

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 15, 2012 7:38:42 AM / by CSRHub Blogging


Cynthia FIgge had the opportunity to chat with Triple Pundit's Nick Aster at the Sustainable Brands 2012 Conference in San Diego. Watch the video for more on CSRHub and exactly what it means to rate companies on their CSR efforts.

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[fa icon="comment"] 0 Comments posted in Cynthia Figge, Sustainable Brands, Uncategorized, Nick Aster, Triple Pundit

CSRHUB Releases Sustainability Ratings Widget

[fa icon="calendar'] May 26, 2011 12:07:00 PM / by CSRHub Blogging

New Paltz, NY


CSRHUB is proud to announce the launch of its Sustainability Ratings Widget. This tool, currently in beta, will enable users to quickly access environmental, employee, community and governance ratings on about 5,000 publicly-traded companies in 135 industries in 65 countries. The widget will appear on a new sustainability section of The Huffington Post and on Triple Pundit, an innovative sustainability new media site.


“We are excited to release our Sustainability Ratings Widget, and pleased that The Huffington Post and Triple Pundit share this excitement,” said CSRHUB Co-founder and CEO, Bahar Gidwani. “Knowledge is power, and CSRHUB gives the widest access to companies’ CSR and sustainability performance to help people make their social value convictions actionable.”


CSRHUB developed the widget as part of a suite of API tools that allow web publishers and software developers to integrate sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) information into their products. CSRHUB also plans to release a RESTful-API into its 1.9 million item database of sustainability information. You can see an early release of the widget at http://www.csrhub.com/content/sustainability-rating-widget.


CSRHUB announced its new tool at the Strategic News Service (SNS) Future in Review (FiRe) technology conference, where it was named a 2011 FiReStarter company. CSRHUB was showcased by the BBC and on panels throughout the conference. The Economist has called FiRe “The best technology conference in the world.”


“We were selected as a FiReStarter company based on our potential to bring positive change to the world,” said Cynthia Figge, CSRHUB Co-founder and COO. “This validates the significance of CSRHUB’s work providing open access to sustainability information.”


CSRHUB is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) ratings tool and sustainability information hub that enables managers, researchers, consultants, students and activists to track the CSR and sustainability performance of major companies. CSRHUB aggregates data from more 100 sources to provide its users with a comprehensive source of CSR information on about 5,000 publicly traded companies in 65 countries. CSRHUB is a B Corporation. Browse CSRHUB’s ratings at www.csrhub.com.




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[fa icon="comment"] 0 Comments posted in Bahar Gidwani, corporate social responsibility, corporate social responsibility ratings, Cynthia Figge, FiRe 2011, FiReStarter, Future in Review, sustainability ratings, Uncategorized, sustainability, The Huffington Post, technology, Triple Pundit, CSRHub

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