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

CSRHub and Bloomberg - part 2

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 16, 2015 10:02:32 AM / by Bahar Gidwani

By Bahar Gidwani

Part 2 of a 2-part series

The first part of this post described the reasons iCompli and CSRHub decided to create the new ESG Metrics Brief report.  We thought it might be helpful to provide a concrete example of the kinds of information—and opportunities for action—that these reports create.

At number 8 on the 2014 Fortune list, Ford is a well-studied, multinational with a long history of interest in sustainability.  Ford has reported to the GRI since 2007, to CDP since 2006, and has won many awards and recognitions.  CSRHub has 139 different sources of information on Ford and 22,501 different ratings points.  Ford’s overall CSRHub rating of 60 puts it at the 71% percentile among the 118 motor vehicle manufacturers that CSRHub tracks.

The overview

The first chart in Ford’s ESG Metrics Brief provides a visual representation of this relative performance:

Ford CSRHub overall ratings

While overall performance is well above average, it is clear that of the four major categories of sustainability performance that CSRHub tracks, Ford is strongest in “employees” and weakest in “governance.”

The ESG Metrics Brief has access to CSRHub’s eight years of ratings history and a similar range of history from Bloomberg.  This chart shows how Ford’s CSRHub rating has changed over this time period.

ESG Metrics Brief CSRHub Rating

The ESG Metrics Brief next brings in other ESG sources from Bloomberg’s system.  Here is the relative performance for Ford as seen by ISS and by CDP.

ISS Governance QuickScore

CDP Performance Score

Drilling down

After a user has reviewed the overall situation for a company, he or she can “drill down” into each of the four main categories that CSRHub covers.  For instance, here is the change over time for Ford’s governance rating, compared to those of its peers.

CSRHub Governance Rating

The above chart uses CSRHub ratings.  Other sources and metrics drawn from Bloomberg help further explain Ford’s loss of competitive advantage compared to its peers in this area.  One factor may be a reduction in the amount and quality of Ford’s disclosures.

Bloomberg Gov Disc Score

A second factor could be the perception that Ford’s CEO compensation is out of line with that of its peers.

CEO compensation

Bloomberg tracks a wide array of metrics and policies that give users of the ESG Metrics Brief even more insight into this part of Ford’s sustainability behavior.

ESG Metrics Brief KPIs

CSRHub comparators

The bottom line

We believe that an ESG Metrics Brief will be a good starting point for those who want to understand one company’s sustainability performance.

  • The report is easy to obtain.  It takes three business days or less to generate each report.
  • The report is inexpensive.  Each report costs only $495—much less than the time and energy required for most researchers to generate something comparable, and far less than the cost to license the datasets.
  • The report is broad and comprehensive.  You get data on more than 120 indicators across all areas of sustainability.  Each report normally compares against between 10 and 30 peers.
  • The report helps inform the stakeholders in a sustainability strategy process.  You can share the report internally and help prove your case for new programs, further investments, and shifts in strategy.

We have more data than we can ever fit into any single report!  We look forward to getting feedback from our users about the ESG Metrics Brief and continuing to fine-tune it to meet their needs.

See more now, including a full sample, at  http://www.csrhub.com/content/icompli-csrhub-esg-metrics-brief/.

 


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. He plays bridge, races sailboats, and is based in New York City.

CSRHub provides access to the world’s largest corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information.  It covers over 15,000 companies from 135 industries in 132 countries. By aggregating and normalizing the information from 400 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 improve corporate sustainability performance.

 

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Bloomberg ESG and CSRHub Benchmark - part 1

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 15, 2015 10:00:21 AM / by Bahar Gidwani

By Bahar Gidwani

Part 1 of a 2-part series

Sustainability professionals spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and months of time developing and managing their sustainability programs.  Most dread the almost inevitable question from their manager or their manager’s manager—”How are we performing relative to our peers?  Where are we doing well and where do we need to improve?”  The iCompli CSRHub ESG Metrics Brief is designed to make it easy to answer these questions in a fact-based and authoritative way.

Why has it been hard to get answers?

Sustainability managers know their own programs—and understand the data they generate and report.  However, hundreds of outside sources each form their own opinions on a company’s sustainability performance.  They use different criteria and come to different conclusions—and both their analysis methods and their viewpoints are not always readily available.

For instance, is Wal-Mart more socially responsible than Target?  The barriers to answering this question include:

  • Too much information – CSRHub contains 131 sources of sustainability information for Wal-Mart and 118 sources for Target.
  • Gaps in the data - 85 of the above data sources rate both company, but many sources are unique to only one of the two companies.
  • Broad range of comparable companies – CSRHub tracks 274 retail companies worldwide.  To fairly compare Wal-Mart and Target, one needs to put them into context against all of these other competitors.

 

Our new solution required combining two components

CSRHub’s database system maps, merges, and normalizes sustainability ratings from 425 sources.  It includes information from Wall Street firms such as Thomson, MSCI, EIRIS, and Trucost; data from non-governmental organizations such as CDP, GRI, Transparency.org and the UN Global Compact, and information from government databases, publications, and various types of certification and crowd sources.  By combining almost 80 million pieces of data, CSRHub can generate objective scores of the perceived sustainability performance for more than 15,000 companies in 132 countries.

CSRHub ratings process

The end result shows that Target is generally more sustainable than Wal-Mart—although Wal-Mart is seen has having better performance on environmental issues.

CSR Ratings for Target vs Walmart

This perception perspective helps identify where a particular company is weak or strong.  But, most corporate managers need to also see comparable sets of facts and figures, before they can invest in new projects or change their strategy.  The new ESG Metrics Brief combines CSRHub’s insights with the hard facts contained in Bloomberg’s well-respected ESG (Environment Social Governance) Database.

Bloomberg tracks data on more than 30,000 publicly-traded companies, from around the world.  Its data set includes information not only hundreds of data items its own staff gathers from public sources and company filings but also data from other major ESG sources such as Sustainalytics and ISS.  The result is a set of comprehensive reports on 6,969 companies in 77 countries.

ESG regions

Look for part 2 of this series to see a concrete example of the kinds of information—and opportunities for action—that the new ESG Metrics Brief's create.

To see more now, including a full sample, go to www.csrhub.com/content/icompli-csrhub-esg-metrics-brief/.


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. He plays bridge, races sailboats, and is based in New York City.

CSRHub provides access to the world’s largest corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information.  It covers over 15,000 companies from 135 industries in 132 countries. By aggregating and normalizing the information from 400 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 improve corporate sustainability performance.

 

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CSRHub Launches 4 New Dashboard Templates

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 19, 2015 9:35:27 AM / by CSRHub Blogging

 

Dashboard Supply Chain Anaylsis

 New Ranking Percentile Comparisons allow you to compare a company
to other companies in the same industry and country

                                                   

CSRHub works for you                   

CSRHub just released four new products that simplify your sustainability analysis. Each CSRHub Dashboard is an Excel-based template that uses sustainability metrics and ratings to answer questions and solve problems. These competitively priced Company Diagnostic, Competitor Benchmark, CSR/ESG Research and Supply Chain Analysis Dashboards come with enough time to access the full database to complete a project. CSRHub’s Dashboard templates for reporting are priced $79-$199.

Now you can easily enter company names and a date, click calculate and let CSRHub do an analysis. CSRHub Dashboard spreadsheets can show a heat map of ratings, compare percentile rankings, and pull sheets of additional sustainability information.

Do you need to:

  • Run a report on one company’s sustainability performance?
  • Benchmark competitors, customers and peers? Compare who reported to the CDP, GRI, or the UN Global Compact?
  • Check the sustainability status of up to 200 suppliers?
  • See a list of company’s CSR websites?
  • Perform CSR/ESG research on company performance over time?

A Full Access subscription includes all four of the dashboards listed above, plus full access to the CSRHub site for one year. You can see a full list of the new CSRHub products here.


CSRHub provides access to corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information on 13,736+ companies from 135 industries in 127 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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What About the Future?

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 18, 2014 9:29:27 AM / by Bahar Gidwani

By Bahar Gidwani

part 3 of a 3-part series

CSRHub recently released many new web features and an important new Excel-based tool, CSRHub Dashboard, to serve our 14,000 members. These changes are in response to our members asking us to give them more control over the data, with the ability to get granular details, access to both ratings and rankings, and a way to bring our data to their desktops via commonly-used tools such as a spreadsheet.

We have been updating the site about twice a year since our launch in late 2010.  We’ve also been adding new sources (now up to 365) and new companies (we have data on more than 10,000 companies in 104 countries).  However, this release took CSRHub to a new level.  We now offer the most comprehensive database of sustainability information in the world, and have become a core tool for a wide range of sustainability research.

As we look ahead over the next two years, we hope to offer our members even more:

  • Expand our coverage to include data on more than 50,000 organizations. Much is known about the sustainability performance of the world’s 1,000 largest companies.  Most of them have permanent, professional sustainability staff who create CSR reports, use the GRI standard, send data to CDP, and encourage their companies to commit to the UN Global Compact.  But, while the world’s top companies contribute a lot to the world’ economy, there are millions of other public companies, private companies, not for profits and government organizations who contribute much more.  To change the corporate and organizational social behavior of these firms, we need to provide them with relevant sustainability data through tools such as CSRHub and our new Dashboard.  We already have some data on about 140,000 smaller organizations.  We hope to add enough new data to bring at least 40,000 of these firms into public view.Big Data
  • Continue to add new sources. We plan to integrate more data from certification groups, supply chain software firms, and government organizations.  These sources collect data on both big companies and on thousands of smaller companies and organizations.  We also plan to ingest “crowd” data based on “semantic analysis” into our system.Crowd Data
  • Integrate our data into more tools and applications. More than 60 organizations have signed up to use the CSRHub Specification for REST Access (CSRA).  The use data from this “API” to improve how consumers purchase products, candidates pick the right job, and sustainability practitioners find the right “best practice” to fix a problem.  Our partners follow many different business models and reside on six of the seven continents (we don’t have partners yet in Antarctica!).  We expect soon to see hundreds of developers using our simple, cheap source of sustainability data.
  • Help our users find sustainability-related tools and products.  We already offer access to more than 100,000 reports from a wide range of sources.  But, we need to do a better job of bringing together tools, reports, and resources and tying them to specific “use cases.”  We plan to launch a “store” that may help with this.  It will contain sections for each use case we serve.  And, it will have a page for each company we track and will show which products are available to do research on that company.

As you can see, we have a lot of work ahead of us.  As a B Corporation, we are dedicated to both making money and to using transparent access to corporate sustainability information to help change corporate social responsibility performance.  We believe we are contributing value to our users—and that our value is growing.  Our new higher subscription price will help us generate more cash that we can use to help achieve our ambitious goals.

Please let us know if you support our goals and agree with our longer-range plan.  Your feedback and support have helped us tremendously.  Thanks.

Part 1
What’s New at CSRHub? A lot!

Part 2
CSRHub Dashboard


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 the world’s largest corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information, covering on 10,000 companies from 135 industries in 104 countries. By aggregating and normalizing the information from 365 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 improve corporate sustainability performance.

CSRHub is a B Corporation, an Organizational Stakeholder (OS) with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), a silver partner with CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project), and an Advisory Council Member of Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB).

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Why Use Big Data to Measure CSR?

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 6, 2014 10:31:02 AM / by Bahar Gidwani

The following is part 3 of a 3-part series on “Big Data.”

By Bahar Gidwani

arrows going upIn the past several posts, we have defined Big Data, shown the problems we hope it will address, and described how CSRHub has implemented a Big Data approach to creating corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability ratings.  It is time now to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of the “Big Data” approach.

The assumption is that this approach offers many benefits which are not available under traditional analyst-based ratings methods:

  • A broad measure of perceived performance.  Input from most of the “stakeholders” who evaluate a company’s sustainability performance is captured.  Investor input from the ESG/SRI sources, community input from NGOs and government groups, and input from suppliers, employees, and customers via supply chain tools, employee surveys, and product ratings are included.  While no one can claim to measure true company performance—no external system can do this, it is possible to give an accurate overall multi-stakeholder-based estimate of how a company is perceived.
  • Increased transparency and accountability.  The system described automatically reveals to users which sources have reported on each company rated.  Via subscriber-accessible tables and custom reports, users can inspect the details of the data gathered.  This allows companies and their stakeholders to identify the data elements that affect how they are perceived (transparency) and to respond to or correct data that may not be accurate (accountability).
  • Reduced impact from errors and bias.  If a source contains a lot of factual errors or an undisclosed bias, this system automatically reduces the weight given to the source.  In this way, the effect on our results of poor quality sources is minimized and corrected for systemic biases.  Because sources generate their information independently, there is good statistical accuracy for our aggregated scores.
  • Regular update and trend tracking.  Some sources update their information daily, some quarterly, some only once per year.  However, because there are so many sources, our ratings are updated each month.  This allows the system to show trend charts that connect actions and outcomes with perception.
  • Broad coverage of industries, geographies, and company types.  An aggregation system is dependent on its sources for coverage.  We do not yet have full data on small companies or on those in remote geographies or unusual industries.  But, the system allows us to use whatever is available.  We may not be able to rate all aspects of each new company we add to our system, but any ratings we can generate should be consistent across our system.

We Don’t Yet Measure Thousands of Smaller Corporate, Not-for-profit, and Government Entities

 Tpe of Organization part 3

  • This approach supports a fourth Big Data “V”—“Veracity.”  There is free access to basic ratings information to everyone.  As a result, any stakeholder can check scores and audit results.
  • Users can adjust ratings to fit their own personal views.  There is sufficient data from a wide enough range of sources that we can present alternate sides of many contentious issues.  Users can record a profile that adjusts our ratings to match their own view.  Users can emphasize the priority of environment, employee, community or governance issues, be in favor of nuclear power or against it, or focus on the risks from mercury in fish.  They can then share their personal overall ratings of company sustainability with the other users.

This approach to ratings has a few drawbacks that are common to Big Data systems:

  • Perception is not reality.  The data that companies self-report is focused mostly on its policies and intent.  A company that is good at communicating and “spinning” its story could raise its ratings on the system to a level they do not deserve.  Of course, as more data is secured—especially from bottoms up “crowd” sources—this type of behavior will likely eventually be detected.  A GovernanceMetric tool called Audit Integrity does this type of sleuthing on corporate financial reports.
  • Best practices are not immediately obvious.  It is fairly easy to discover that certain activities seem connected with better ratings.  For instance, companies who use the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines or who participate in the UN Global Compact have statistically better ratings than those who do not.  However, it is hard to tell if a program at one company has more effect on its perceived CSR performance than a different program at another company.  The system described can only provide a base of data—the study and explanation of ratings differences must be done by CSR professionals.
  • We cannot correct individual company errors that are found.  There are conflicts in the views of disparate sources, on a regular basis.  These discrepancies can’t be “resolved” even when we suspect that some are caused by a source’s data collection or analysis error.  The best that can be done is to report a suspected error to the source and allow it to research and correct the error, in its own way.

We believe the benefits of using a Big Data approach to measure corporate social responsibility and sustainability performance far outweigh the drawbacks.  A Big Data system can be extended to include thousands of smaller companies and organizations.  We hope to expand our universe of coverage while we keep narrowing down the “error bars” in our ratings and to see if we can discover some of the drivers that change them.  For instance, as we build up a tail of detailed historic data, we may be able to prove that certain actions lead to ratings changes and others do not.  As more data become available the approach outlined above can be applied to virtually any company regardless of size and location.

See part 1, Using “Big Data” to Rate Corporate Social Responsibility: One Company’s Approach.

See part 2, A Big Data Approach to Gathering CSR Data.


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 9,200+ companies from 135 industries in 106 countries. By aggregating and normalizing the information from 348 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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