Review of Sustainability Reporting Status of RepRisk’s Most Controversial Companies

By Bahar Gidwani

 

For the past five years, RepRisk has produced a list of ten companies that were most exposed to environmental, social, and governance issues.  We thought it would be interesting to see how the companies on this year’s Most Controversial list perform in CSRHub’s sustainability metrics tracking system.

 

RepRisk is a business intelligence provider that specializes in environmental, social and governance (ESG) risk analytics and metrics. It uses a unique methodology that screens tens of thousands of public and third-party sources in 14 languages in order to identify, filter, analyze and quantify environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks for both listed and unlisted companies from all sectors and countries in the world.

 

Only three of the companies on this year’s Most Controversial list had ratings information in CSRHub’s system (from sources other than RepRisk).  This is a pretty remarkable result—CSRHub uses 371 sources to build its data set.  It lists 13,736 companies from 127 countries on its web site and has data on another 140,000 companies.  CSRHub recently conducted a study on the companies in 14 regional stock exchanges.  Of the 18,991 companies listed on these exchanges, CSRHub had data on 13,165 or 69%.

 

Most Controversial list-csrhub ratings2

 

 

Only two of the companies in the RepRisk list had enough data to get full CSRHub ratings. The top-level overview below shows that Takata has poor scores relative both to our entire coverage universe and to their industry and geographic peers while General Motors scores well.
Ranking Chart

 

We can’t draw conclusions from a sample of two companies—or ten.  The high score for General Motors is a product of many years of investment in its community and employees and well-designed programs for environmental management and governance.  The reputational challenges it faced came despite these investments and some were related to the company’s recent financial problems.

 

But, it is clear there is little information on the social performance of eight of the ten companies on this list.  These eight companies are not reporting sustainability metrics to outside groups and do not seem to be engaged with or responding to their stakeholders.  We believe this simple study supports our belief that companies who are transparent about their social policies and performance are less likely to have risky patterns of behavior.

 

 


 

Bahar GidwaniBahar Gidwani  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 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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Benchmark Your Sustainability Performance on New Enablon Wizness Publisher

CSRHub and Wizness Publisher

 

Today, we are announcing the release of the new CSRHub Benchmarking Template, available on the Enablon Wizness Publisher platform. Building on CSRHub’s partnership with Enablon, our teams have joined forces to imagine this new online tool which will enable you to:

 

  • Assess your own performance: Evaluate your Sustainability Performance using the CSRHub ratings methodology, covering the four categories of environment, employee, community and governance.
  • Benchmark your performance with your peers: Evaluate the Sustainability strategy of your competitors, identify the leaders and laggards of your industry and compare your ratings to theirs.
  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses: By comparing your own CSRHub ratings to industry peers of your choice, the benchmark helps you identify the Sustainability areas in which you excel, or need improvement.

 

Excited about discovering how well you perform? Start your own benchmark now!

 

Start My Benchmark

 

Wondering how it works? Enter your company name and up to 4 of your competitors and the Publisher will use the CSRHub data to generate an online and interactive benchmarking report like this one:

 

Benchmarking CSR_Wizness and CSRHub

 

 

If you have any questions about this new exciting tool, you can take a look at the FAQ or at the template tutorial when you click Start My Benchmark above. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, we’d love to hear from you!

 

 

About Wizness

Wizness is an online platform which enables companies to collect their Sustainability data, create their online Sustainability profile, design & publish interactive, mobile ready CSR reports, and engage in interactive conversations with their stakeholders. Through its services, Wizness enables organizations to reduce their reputational risks and communication costs as well as reinforce their brands.

 

Wizness is powered by Enablon, the world’s leading software provider of Sustainability, EH&S and Risk Management solutions.

 

For more info about Wizness, please visit https://publisher.wizness.com/

For more info about Enablon, please visit http://enablon.com/

 

About CSRHub 

CSRHub provides access to the world’s largest corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information, covering on 13,700+ companies from 135 industries in 127 countries. By aggregating and normalizing the information from 370+ 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.

 

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

 

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Utilities to Scale Electric Cars and Distributed Solar

By Carol Pierson Holding

 

Electric Vehicles (EVs) aren’t selling because retail charging has stalled and people areElectric vehicle (EV) charging station afraid of being stranded with no power source. According to the US Census, there are 121,000 gas stations in the U.S. and just 9,124 charging stations. Refueling takes minutes with gas vs. 30 minutes to hours to charge. According to Plugincars.com’s Ultimate Guide to Electric Car Charging Networks, most public chargers are free for now, but those that are not free require subscriptions to be set up in advance; using regular credit cards for a single charge is possible but complicated. The West Coast’s ballyhooed “Electric Highway” is made up of six different charger providers, each requiring a different subscription and another card for your wallet. Some chargers don’t fit every vehicle (!) and customer service can be terrible.

 

It’s just too early. Not surprising, most adventuresome new car buyers are skipping electric cars for now and buying another gas-powered vehicle to tide them over until the problems of range and public charging are solved.

 

Clearly, the EV charging market requires standards. Despite utilities being widely reviled for high rates, they are trusted to distribute power and maintain the electric grid to fairly high standards.

 

Electric utilities’ reputation for providing overall reliability and consistency is well suited to win the confidence of potential EV drivers.

 

That may be why utilities in Kansas City, Missouri, Madison, Wisconsin and in cities across California and Texas are investing in charging stations. Existing charging companies, in addition to offering competing systems at the expense of consumers, have failed to proliferate the stations fast enough.  As a result, Public Utility Commissions have begun to open the charging market to electric utilities. Forbes described why regulators are allowing these giants into the market:

 (California’s Pacific Gas and Electric) designed the (EV charger) project to help the state achieve its mandate to reduce its emissions by 80% below the 1990s levels by 2050. …To achieve that, Gov. Brown issued an executive order in 2012 that calls for putting 1.5 million zero-emissions cars on the road by 2025.

 

Why should utilities take on EV charging at all, a tough retail distribution business that EV owners expect to be free? Shouldn’t the utilities be paying more attention to their core business, endangered by distributed solar energy provided by roof top solar panels? A 2013 report from Edison Electric Institute, the trade group for publicly-owned electric companies, warned about the disruption about to hit these utilities.

 

Not only will utilities lose about 10% of their customers to roof top solar by 2020, but that loss would require increasing charges for remaining customers by about 20%, making solar panels even more attractive by comparison. Utilities have been fighting “tooth and nail” to keep solar installers out, including shutting down access to the grid, adding grid fees, and lobbying to regulate and tax solar alternatives out of the market. As it turned out, that strategy has kept the market open until they were allowed to enter.

 

For example, NRG’s CEO David Crane announced plans to participate in the charging market a year ago, stating that his company would straddle both models just as telephone companies straddled landline and cellular for twenty years before cellular became dominant. And the market in its home state of Texas is ready and waiting.

 

Was it the boldness of their plans to move into charging stations that gave utilities the moxy to start installing their own distributed solar power? What caused utilities to act outside their staid character, whose normal instinct is to shut down innovation that threatens the status quo?

 

The fact is, utilities are not only innovating but changing their core business model to accommodate the cheaper and more ubiquitous solar power source, one already visible across middle class neighborhoods, and one that might just save the electric companies from extinction. It feels like it all happened overnight, that our most conservative institutions have become bet-the-business proponents of green technology. Who knew?

 

 

Photo courtesy of avda-foto via Flickr cc.

 


 

Carol Pierson HoldingCarol 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 13,700+ companies worldwide. Carol holds degrees from Smith College and Harvard University.

 

CSRHub provides access to corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information on 13,700+ companies from 135 industries in 127 countries. By aggregating and normalizing the information from 371 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 Launches 4 New Dashboard Templates

 

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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Today, Sustainable Nylon. Tomorrow, the Planet

By Carol Pierson Holding

 

“Optimism is a political act. Those who benefit from the status quo are perfectly happy for us to think that nothing is going to get any better.”

—     Alex Steffen, The Bright Green City

 

environmental inspiration

 

A young, environmentally focused chemist sent me news of a breakthrough in producing nylon, that ubiquitous chemical used for everything from stockings to zip-ties to jackets, tents and sails. Described in a recent paper by researchers Hwang and Sagadevan from National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, the new process, if it can be brought to industrial production scale, would use far less energy and reduce nitrous oxide emissions dramatically. This addresses an enormous environmental problem: considered over a 100-year period, nitrous oxide has 298 times more global warming potential than carbon dioxide, and nylon synthesis creates 5-8% of those emissions from 10 billion pounds of nylon produced per year,

 

And that’s just nylon

 

I seems like everyone is working on a solution to climate change.  The poet and naturalist Diane Ackerman summarized some of the grandest schemes for Wired: India has announced an ambitious plan to transition the entire population of 400 million mainly to solar power; a separate initiative will plant two billion trees along India’s highways. In May 2014, Germany produced 74 percent of its energy from renewables. Sweden is now recycling a staggering 99-percent of household waste. China is about to invest $16 billion on electric car infrastructure. Ackerman concludes, “As a species, we’ve accomplished majestic things, and today is an especially exhilarating era of invention and discovery.”

 

Even Republicans now favor action on climate.

 

So many people working to battle climate change in every corner of modern life, but still, is it enough? Last week, I was stunned to hear a staunch supporter of environmental causes disparage her giving habits: “I don’t know why we give. It’s too late anyway.”

 

The science supports her. We’re long past the 350 ppm carbon limit over which humans cannot survive long term, and we’re nowhere near burning all the fossil fuels we’ll need to support our energy needs. In the often-quoted statement attributed in a 2006 Christian Science Monitor article to Jonathan Overpeck, a researcher at the University of Arizona, “CO2 remains in the atmosphere for more than a century; even if we shut down every fossil-fueled power plant today, existing CO2 will continue to warm the planet.”

 

And then there’s the argument put forth by Google engineers Ross Koningstein and David Fork after that company abandoned their much-ballyhood initiative RE<C to develop new technologies for cheap renewable energy: “…even if Google and others had led the way toward a wholesale adoption of renewable energy, that switch would not have resulted in significant reductions of carbon dioxide emissions. Trying to combat climate change exclusively with today’s renewable energy technologies simply won’t work.” Even more disheartening, “(Would) a 55 percent emission cut by 2050 bring the world back below that 350-ppm threshold? Our calculations revealed otherwise.”

 

Does this mean we should, like Google, just give up? You expect Ackerman to dream. After all, she’s a poet. But even these hard-boiled rationalists have faith:

 

“… We’re hopeful, because sometimes engineers and scientists do achieve the impossible. Consider the space program, which required outlandish inventions for the rockets that brought astronauts to the moon. MIT engineers constructed the lightweight and compact Apollo Guidance Computer, for example, using some of the first integrated circuits, and did this in the vacuum-tube era when computers filled rooms. Their achievements pushed computer science forward and helped create today’s wonderful wired world. Now, R&D dollars must go to inventors who are tackling the daunting energy challenge so they can boldly try out their crazy ideas. We can’t yet imagine which of these technologies will ultimately work and usher in a new era of prosperity—but the people of this prosperous future won’t be able to imagine how we lived without them.”

 

We got that sustainable nylon challenge licked. Next up, the race to save the planet. We’ve lined up chemists and poets and engineers and inventors and even the Republicans. It’s a race we just might win.

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Stefan Mendelsohn via Flickr cc.

 


 

Carol Pierson HoldingCarol 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 10,000+ companies worldwide. Carol holds degrees from Smith College and Harvard University.

 

CSRHub provides access to corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information on 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 change the world.

 

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