Watch CSRHub Co-Founder & CEO Bahar Gidwani on CUNY!

Brian Lehrer Live PBS
See Bahar Gidwani’s interview with Brian Lehrer aired Wednesday, May 13th at 7:30 p.m. ET on CUNY channel in NYC. The interview is also available online here. They discuss CSRHub’s big data approach to rating all companies on their sustainability performance.

Bahar Gidwani

 

Bahar is joined by Kevin Hagen, Director of Corporate Responsibility at Iron Mountain, a leading provider of storage and information management services. Kevin was previously head of CSR for REI.

 

Brian Lehrer, the popular Peabody Award-winning host of WNYC Radio’s Brian Lehrer Show, hosts an hour-long weekly television show on a wide variety of topics, including the digital age and how it’s transforming our world; new social and political trends; entrepreneurs of change; New York City politics; grassroots environmental efforts; one-of-a-kind, timely stories in the news; and innovative inventions and apps.

 

Image courtesy of  http://www.cuny.tv/show/brianlehrer

 

 

 


 

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 14,400+ 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.

 

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , ,

CSRHub & RepRisk study links CSR Performance & Reputational Risk

CSRHub and RepRisk release new CSR and Reputational Risk study

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

New York, NY, USA and Zurich, Switzerland – May 13, 2015CSRHub and RepRisk are pleased to announce the findings of their joint research report on the link between perceived CSR performance and ESG-related reputational risk exposure.

 

CSRHub, the world’s largest CSR and sustainability ratings and information database, and RepRisk, the leading data provider of dynamic environmental, social and governance (ESG) risk analysis and metrics, combined several years of data on over 4,000 companies from the around the world to conduct the study.

 

The findings show that correlations do exist between perceived CSR performance and reputational risk. It appears that companies with the most sources of sustainability ratings also have the highest risk exposure, regardless of company revenue or market capitalization, and that sustainability rating sources can play a role in discovering and communicating corporate risk events.

 

In addition, the data indicates that companies that have strong CSR programs as measured by CSRHub, in the areas of Human Rights and Supply Chain, Leadership Ethics, and Resource Management, seem to have lower risk exposure, whereas those companies who have strong programs in Community Development and Philanthropy, Environment Policy and Reporting, or Compensation and Benefits seem to have higher risk exposure.

 

“Taken together, our findings suggest that corporate risk managers should seek to become involved in their company’s corporate responsibility and sustainability programs,” said Bahar Gidwani, CEO and Co-Founder of CSRHub.

 

Alexandra Mihailescu Cichon, Head of Business Development at RepRisk, said “This study was a step forward in demonstrating the link between sustainability and operating results, and helps support the idea that sustainability programs help mitigate corporate risk.”

 

To read the full report, please click here.

 

 

Contact

For CSRHub:

Bahar Gidwani

CEO and Co-Founder

New York, NY  U.S.A.

Email: bahar@csrhub.com

 

For RepRisk:
Gina Walser
Business Development and Marketing
Stampfenbachstrasse 42, 8006 Zurich, Switzerland
Phone: +41 43 300 54 48
Email: media@reprisk.com

 

About CSRHub

CSRHub provides access to corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information on 14,400+ companies from 135 industries in 127 countries based on 12 indicators of employee, environment, community and governance performance and flags many special issues.

CSRHub’s system aggregates and normalizes 64 million data points from over 380+ data sources. The data comes from nine socially responsible investing research firms, well-known indexes, publications, “best of” or “worst of” lists, 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.

For more information about the usage and benefits of CSRHub, please visit: www.csrhub.com.

 

About RepRisk:

RepRisk is a leading business intelligence provider specializing in dynamic environmental, social and governance (ESG) risk analytics and metrics.

 

Daily, RepRisk systematically screens big data from a broad range of open intelligence sources in 15 languages in order to identify, filter, analyze and quantify ESG risks (such as environmental degradation, human rights abuses and corruption) related to companies, projects, sectors and countries. This external perspective provides valuable insight on whether a company’s policies, processes and commitments are consistently translating into performance.

 

Since 2006, RepRisk has built and continues to grow the most comprehensive ESG risk database that serves as a due diligence tool and early warning system in risk management, compliance, investment management, corporate benchmarking and supplier risk. The database currently includes risk profiles for over 52,000 public and private companies and 12,000 projects as well as for every sector and country in the world.

 

Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, RepRisk serves clients worldwide including global banks, insurance companies, investment managers, and corporates, helping them to manage and mitigate ESG and reputational risks in day-to-day business.

 

RepRisk provides the transparency needed to enable better, more informed decisions. For more information, please visit www.reprisk.com or follow us on Twitter.

 

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Apple’s New Corporate Citizenship Imperative

By Carol Pierson Holding

 

At the Apple earnings call last week, CEO Tim Cook reported Apple’s latest record-Apple Paybreaking results and the strongest March quarter ever, with 27% revenue growth and 40% earnings growth year over year.

 

Cook then commented on the two new data centers Apple is building which will run on 100% renewable energy, risking another conservative investor backlash when he linked them to Apple’s climate change politics: “This is just part of the work we’re doing to protect the environment and leave the world better than we found it.”

 

This took real chutzpah. Cook took a drubbing last year from conservative finance group NCPPR and its followers for spending on environmental projects not related to profit. Cook snapped back at critical NCPPR representative Justin Danhof, “If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock.”

 

Tim Cook has become the passionate poster child for green electronics, touting environmental progress even with shareholders groups that may not be cheerleaders. And his operations department is implementing good works, eliminating emissions in new and existing Apple buildings, removing toxins from production and sourcing sustainable forests for packaging.

 

Just as important, Apple’s brand communications support its environmental efforts. Apple’s web site’s Environmental Responsibility touts both its green philosophy and its concrete actions. Cook intones on an Apple web video called “better” that “Climate change is real and a real problem for the world” and boasts that 94% of its corporate facilities and 100% of its data centers are now powered by renewable energy such as solar power.

 

Is Apple, now the world’s biggest company by market capitalization, finally leading corporate citizenship too? And doesn’t this just make Apple more vulnerable to environmental critics?

 

In fact, Apple is more vulnerable. An analysis in Huffington Post of Apple’s own 2014 report on climate change efforts reveals that “manufacturing (mostly in China) accounted for a whopping 73 percent of the company’s 34.2 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.” Only 1 percent of the company’s emissions are connected to its solar-powered headquarters and data centers.

 

Bloomberg’s Adam Minter recently attacked Apple for the same thing, noting that other companies like Boeing and GM already have factories powered by renewables. Apple is a laggard even among technology companies. Working with BSR, HP has developed energy-management action plans for 20 supplier factories in China. IBM now requires its nearly 20,000 suppliers to chart their emissions and energy consumption and develop plans for reducing both. Apple has joined the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition but has yet to announce specific targets. This suggests that Apple is engaged in, if not green-washing, then selective reporting.

 

Apple may be late signing on to corporate citizenship, but it’s just in time. The maker of Macs and iPhones has for years had success using fabulous design and cool chic to ride roughshod over environmental critics and techie complaints about closed systems. Now, the company is entering consumer payment systems (Apple Pay) and health care information (HealthKit), markets where trust is absolutely paramount. These products lock consumers into Apple for their money and their health, and what could be more personal?

 

Apple is selling to a generation whose purchases are, more than ever, guided by a company’s environmental actions. Six in ten 16- to 20-year-olds (“Generation Z”) say they will go out of their way to buy products and services from businesses they know are helping to create a better world, up from five in ten among Gen Y. And a post-2008 crash McKinsey study noted the widespread perception that financial services have violated their social contract with consumers, leaving space for a trusted source in consumer wallets. Apple needs creds as a corporate citizen to succeed in this new arena. An honest and aggressive commitment is required.

 

In Apple We Trust? See more on Cynthia Figge’s chapter in the book Trust Inc. 

 

Photo courtesy of Darlo Reyes 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 14,400+ companies worldwide. Carol holds degrees from Smith College and Harvard University.

 

CSRHub provides access to corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information on 14,400+ 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.

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

E-cigarette Disposal Imperils the Environment

By: Carol Pierson-Holding

 

What do you do with CDC research on teen smoking that says that more than a quarter-million youth who have never smoked used e-cigarettes in 2013? For some, the answer seems to be that it proves the value of e-cigarettes.

 

teen smoking electronic cig

The reason most often cited is the concurrent drop in traditional cigarette use among teens: cigarette smoking dropped 25 percent, and use of cigars and pipes fell too. Across all ages, traditional smoking has decreased nationally from 21 percent in 2005 to 17 percent last year, an unprecedented drop. As the American Psychology Association puts it: “e-cigarettes hold a lot of promise as a new way to help smokers quit or reduce conventional smoking.”

 

A one-time smoker who only reluctantly quit some 30 years ago, I relished the idea of a smoke with far fewer health risks to myself and those around me. After seeing lots of advertising for market leader Blu from its UK parent Imperial Tobacco,  I finally bought a disposable Blu e-cigarette to try.

 

The big surprise was how heavy it was. I had trouble holding it as gracefully as I did traditional cigarettes back in the day. With great effort, I extracted a puff, coughed, and suffered from a sore throat for some time after. I put it aside, and when a month later decided to give it another try, I discovered it seemed to have run out of steam. So I threw it away.

 

But not without a pang. It felt too substantial to throw in household garbage, more like an electronic device than a cigarette. What harm was it doing? And could that harm be worse than throwing away a traditional cigarette?

 

Surely not. The seemingly indestructible (and ubiquitous) cigarette filters create ghastly litter. By some estimates, cigarette butts account for 38% of litter items worldwide and up to 21% of coastal waste. Most filters are made of the plastic cellulose acetate that takes up to 10 years to degrade.

 

But e-cigarettes could be an even dicier proposition, environmentally speaking.

 

First, let’s dispel the myth that refillable e-cigarettes are never thrown away, as e-cigarette marketers would have us believe. The life of an e-cigarette, whether disposable or refillable, is measured in weeks according to vendors.

 

What environmental harm do they do? Few studies exist, but an anonymous contributor to the web site Totally Wicked Eliquid suggests that unless all e-smokers recycle the various parts of their smoker, the environmental damage could be far worse and longer lasting than cigarette’s paper and filters. In his words:

 

“The wadding inside the cartridges is essentially the same as in regular cigarettes, plus the housing is metal (stainless steel) or plastic instead of paper. Then we have to add in the metal parts of dead rechargeable batteries and the metal atomizers, and we see the refuse/recyclable pile grow larger along with longer possible degradation time.”

 

And there is no easy way to recycle e-cigarettes. The UK site Tobacco Control reported that “none of the (e-cigarette) products provided disposal instructions for spent cartridges containing nicotine.” Certainly the Blu I bought had no easily discernible disposal instructions.

 

At the same time, there are toxic heavy metals in the cartridge, chips and circuits of most e-cigarettes. A study from USC Biterbi noted that “e-cigarettes emitted higher levels (than traditional cigarettes) of…nickel, zinc, and silver.”

 

Another environmental concern — one that the CDC considers pre-eminent — is that many discarded e-cigarettes are not fully used and still contain nicotine liquid, which pollutes the ground and water around disposal areas. Nicotine is a poison whose effects go from vomiting to seizures to death.

 

The human dangers have been well-documented. E-cigarettes tend to explode due to the overheating batteries. The New York Times cited “soaring” accidental nicotine poisonings, notably among children attracted to the product’s bright colors and sweet flavors. Nicotine itself is not only addictive but, as reported in Scientific American, is also linked to an impaired immune system. E-cigarette vapors contain several cancer-causing substances, as well as particles of tin, chromium, nickel and other heavy metals. Secondhand e-cigarette aerosol contains at least 10 chemicals identified as carcinogens and reproductive toxins.

 

These health dangers are made worse by lack of inspections and unmonitored suppliers from China. Isn’t that just the price you pay when indulging in nicotine, a drug I too once delighted in? But it’s a different story when that indulgence affects the rest of us too.

 

Photo courtesy of  TBEC Review 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 14,400+ companies worldwide. Carol holds degrees from Smith College and Harvard University.

 

CSRHub provides access to corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information on 14,400+ 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.

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Author Jonathan Franzen Says Saving Birds Trumps Climate Change

By: Carol Pierson-Holding

 

The California drought caused hydropower production to plummet by 46 percent. The silver lining?  Solar power increased, making up for 83 percent of the hydropower decline.

 

Dead Bird-Climate

I’m a huge supporter of solar energy, which appears to be an inexhaustible and “free” source of energy. But an article in this week’s New Yorker by National Book Award winner Jonathan Franzen points out that solar panels, when not installed in rooftops but laid out in “horizon-reaching solar farms,” can be just as bad, as can all forms of renewable energy. In Franzen’s words:  “We can dam every river and blight every landscape with biofuel agriculture, solar farms, and wind turbines, to buy some extra years of moderated warming.”

 

Franzen dissing renewable energy? He is a thought-leader in environmentalism. His 2010 novel Freedom features environmentalist Walter Berglund as protagonist, fighting the immoral forces behind strip mining. In 2011, Franzen was included in The Guardian’s top 20 Green Giants for setting the global environmental agenda. He is also a birder and Audubon Society fan. So it’s disturbing that he spends seven pages of beautifully written prose trying to convince us that we can’t do a thing about climate change and shouldn’t ruin our comfortable lives trying.

 

Franzen’s article bemoans the Audubon Society’s web site and its new focus on climate change, “the greatest threat” to American birds. Franzen references a writer at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Jim Williams, who blogged that fighting a local stadium project whose glass walls would kill thousands of birds is insignificant in the context of climate change, which could wipe out nearly half of North American bird species by 2080. Franzen’s counter is chilling: “…can we settle for a shorter life of higher quality, protecting the areas where wild animals and plants are hanging on, at the cost of slightly hastening the human catastrophe? One advantage of the latter approach is that, if a miracle cure like fusion energy should come along, there might still be some intact ecosystems for it to save.”

 

In other words, save the birds and forget taking action to mitigate climate change because “… it makes no difference to the climate whether any individual, myself included, drives to work or rides a bike. …if I calculate the average annual quota required to limit global warming to two degrees, I find that simply maintaining a typical American single-family home exceeds it in two weeks.”

 

Instead, Franzen advocates for conservation projects in Peru’s Manu National Park and Coast Rica’s Guanacaste, smaller, local efforts conducted by natives who safeguard biodiversity, while failing to note that the preservation of forests — and in the case of Costa Rica, tree planting as well — also serves to combat climate change and is, in fact, what some believe is the most practical place to start.

 

I hope there aren’t a lot of smart, talented people like Franzen who think like he does. Especially in California, where Governor Jerry Brown is asking for citizens to combat the drought by voluntarily cut their water consumption by 25%. He’s not asking farmers yet, but counting on citizens to pitch in first. Of course we’ll need a monumental breakthrough on the scale of Franzen’s “cold-fusion” to save ourselves from extinction, but if (or when) that happens, we’ll all have to be living dramatically altered lives with less water and a smaller carbon footprint.

 

Whether we’re tree-planting conservationists like those Franzen visited in Costa Rica or climate change activists riding bikes to work, we’re all engaged in activism for both at the same time. Our whole way of living has to change, to both honor species and at the same time, reduce our energy consumption. So Mr. Franzen, put your considerable talent to work again and this time, persuade your readers to think of both species conservation and climate change with every action. Changing human behavior has worked in the past and can work now. As for Mr. Franzen? Who’s to say he won’t love riding his bike to work. He’ll certainly be fitter. And possibly happier too.

 

Photo courtesy of Joel Kramer 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 14,400+ companies worldwide. Carol holds degrees from Smith College and Harvard University.

 

CSRHub provides access to corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information on 14,400+ 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.

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,