CSRHub COO and Cofounder Cynthia Figge Joins Impact Conference at Sustainatopia

Sustainatopia 2016

 

CSRHub COO and Cofounder Cynthia Figge will be speaking at the Annual Impact Conference at Sustainatopia on Monday, May 2nd in San Francisco, California. The session will discuss Driving Impact & Robust Returns Through Renewables.

 

The Impact Conference at Sustainatopia 2015 will be one of the best opportunities to learn, network, and connect with hundreds of top global impact leaders and organizations.

 

Monday, May 2nd 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

Driving Impact & Robust Returns Through Renewables

  • Chris Warren, Clean Energy Advisors
  • Erik Melang, Clean Energy Advisors
  • Cynthia Figge, CSRHub

 

The Impact Conference is part of Sustainatopia, one of the largest events in the world for financial, social and environmental sustainability. For more information on the event, click here.

 

 


 

Cynthia Figge, Co-founder and COO of CSRHubCynthia Figge is a forerunner and thought leader in the corporate sustainability movement who co-founded EKOS International in 1996, one of the first consultancies integrating sustainability and corporate strategy. Cynthia is COO and Cofounder of CSRHub. Cynthia has worked with major organizations including BNSF, Boeing, Coca-Cola, Dow Jones, and REI to help craft sustainability strategy integrated with business. She was an Officer of LIN Broadcasting/McCaw Cellular leading new services development, and started a new “Greenfield” mill with Weyerhaeuser. She serves as Advisor to media and technology companies, and served as President of the Board of Sustainable Seattle. Cynthia has an MBA from Harvard Business School. Cynthia is based in the Seattle area.

 

 

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The Relationship Between Corporate Sustainability and Human Development

By: Bahar Gidwani

 

A number of years ago, CSRHub showed that its measures of corporate sustainability correlate with the level of development of countries.  For that study, we used the United Nations Human Development Index (HDI).  We found a correlation of 28% for 27 developed countries, but poor correlation with human conditions in less developed countries.

 

Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter and his colleagues at a group called The Social Progress Imperative have developed a new way of measuring country human development called the Social Progress Index.  The SPI Index is highly correlated with the UN HDI.

 

SPI_Development Index

 

The SPI contains more levels of detail than the HDI.  (For the SPI, 61 raw value indicators lead to 12 calculated scores that roll up to three dimensions and a final score.  The HDI is driven by five measures.)  The SPI covers 161 countries—the HDI tracks 199.  Both cover more countries than CSRHub (we have data on companies in 132 countries).  However, after we throw out the 70 countries where CSRHub does not yet have enough rated companies to generate solid average scores for all four of the categories CSRHub tracks, there is a 57 country overlap with the SPI.

 

At the most simple level, the SPI score for a country is well-correlated with the average CSRHub ratings for the companies in each country.  The r-square of 33% is paired with a F score of 6.5.  This suggests a greater than 0.9995 confidence that two data sets are related.

 

CSRHub and SPI scores

 

Digging down into the details shows that positive corporate behavior in the community area is negatively correlated with gains in SPI.  In contrast, positive corporate behavior in environment areas is positively correlated with gains in SPI.

SPI explained by CSRHub Category

 

We believe that companies in countries with weak SPI scores have built good community programs to offset their society’s weaknesses.  In contrast, companies in the countries with good SPI scores have built up their environment programs, to help improve trust in their activities.

 

The high “P-Values” and small tStat coefficients for the correlations with Employees and Governance ratings indicates that these company programs are not directly tied to the SPI.  This makes sense, as the SPI’s indicators are focused on societal issues such as health, literacy, and longevity, not on how well corporations pay their employees, train them, or how well they govern themselves.  Still, it is disappointing that there is not a connection between these elements and the SPI.  We would have liked to believe that paying one’s employees well and giving them good benefits would improve overall health and well-being.  We would also have liked to see a tie between a high standard of ethics within corporations and strong government programs that care for those who are disadvantaged or poor.

 

Note that our study is limited due to the fact that we tie a company solely to the country it is headquartered in.  Most of the larger companies we track have operations in multiple countries and often, multiple regions.  We are also working with a single year’s data on both companies and countries.  Longer term studies may reveal a richer level of detail.

 

With the wealth of data now available via the SPI, there should be many opportunities for further study on the tie between corporate behavior and societal performance.  We hope our readers will share any results they uncover so that we can make sure that responsible corporations get fair credit for the social benefits they create within their societies.

 

 


 

Bahar Gidwani Bahar 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 435 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’s Cynthia Figge Speaking at Skytop Strategies CSR 2.0 Conference

Skytop CSR 2.0

Join Skytop Strategies CSR 2.0 Conference, where our
Co-founder and COO, Cynthia Figge, will be moderating the Performance Drivers: Big Data, Transparency and CSR panel. This conference will be held on April 20th in San Francisco, California.  CSRHub will also be a strategic partner of this conference.

Skytop’s CSR 2.0 Conference will be attended by Corporate Responsibility Officers, Heads of Marketing and Strategy, and Human Capital Executives, with the goals of engaging, discovering as well as applying corporate social responsibility strategies.

 

For more information, please click here to visit Skytop Strategies website for the conferences agenda.

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Implementing SASB – A Role for Regulators and Industry Associations

By Bahar Gidwani

This is part 3 of a 3-part series on Implementing SASB.

 

In my last two posts, I showed that two dissimilar industries may have a similar lack of preparedness to disclose material sustainability-related information to investors.  In order to conform to the guidance set out in SASB’s standards, the Metals & Mining (M&M) and Apparel, Accessories, & Footwear (AA&F) will need to collect large quantities of new data or reshape existing data streams.

 

Outside organizations such as government regulators and industry associations could prove to be crucial factors in moving these industries forward.  For instance, all US mining operations are required to report injuries to the Mining Safety Health Administration (MSHA).  Therefore, a high percentage of M&M companies are able to disclose information on their workplace health and safety issues.

 

Health and Safety Disclosure

 

Unfortunately, MSHA does not require companies to publicly disclose their reports to this agency.  Each company tends to to take its own approach to the scope and format of its public disclosure—and outside sources interpret these results in different ways.  The result is that the same company may get a good rating from one source and a bad one from another.

 

Health and Safety Statistics

 

MSHA probably cannot change its disclosure rules without Congressional support—but, it could provide a pathway for sharing more of data—and for encouraging more consistent reports—by inviting companies to declare that their raw original filings can be collected and shared.  (This is similar to some of the efforts that have been undertaken in the supply chain area.  For instance SEDEX allows customers to share their audits of suppliers with one another.)  Then, sources who analyze this information would at least have the same starting point for their work—and companies could better compare their performance against those of their peers.

 

In AA&F the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) has led the way towards improved supply chain management for its members, by creating the Higg Index.  This set of tools is designed to help organize and harmonize supply data for the AA&F industry.  Unfortunately, only 21 of the 159 companies we studied in our AA&F report (13%) are members of SAC.  Note that their perceived sustainability performance is well above the average for the non-members.

 

SAC member ratings

 

The AA&F industry has formed special organizations to respond to supply chain issues.  For instance, in response to the Rana Plaza collapse, a group of European-based clothing companies set up the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (Accord).  This group has grown to include 220 members, of whom 67 are tracked by CSRHub and 14 are part of the SICS group of Apparel, Accessories, & Footwear companies.  A second group of 17 mostly US companies set up the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (Alliance).  Labor unions and other NGOs have criticized the garment industry for failing to create a unified response and for some of the actions of both groups.  In general there has been more support for the Accord group than for the Alliance (see this Clean Clothes Accord analysis, for instance), but both groups have been harshly criticized and many of the problems that underlay the Rana disaster (and the previous deadly fire also in Bangladesh, at the Tazreen factory in 2012), continue to be present.  Still, companies in both groups seem to have sustainability performances that are above the level for the industry in general.  This indicates that a combination of intra-industry leadership and external pressure could help move the AA&F industry forward.

 

CSRHub Ratings of Apparel industry

 

More details on these findings are available in the SASS reports on these two industries.

 

In these three posts, we have shown that it may take many years for two industries to disclose all of the investor-material information that is described in the SASB standards.  During the adoption period, investors who desire the material information described in these standards will either need to work with partial data, use indicators that correlate with or can otherwise substitute for the desired metric, or invest in only those companies who have adopted the standard.  We do not know which approach will dominate or how long it will take before compliance becomes the norm and not the exception.  However, the next few years are likely to offer exciting opportunities to investors who specialize in using non-financial sustainability-related information.

 

See The SASS (Sustainable Accounting Standings Series) Apparel, Accessories and Footwear Industry Report.

See The SASS (Sustainable Accounting Standings Series) Metals & Mining Industry Report.

See part 1 of the Implementing SASB series.

See part 2 of the Implementing SASB series.

 

 


 

Bahar Gidwani Bahar 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 435 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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Implementing SASB – Aspirational Goals

By Bahar Gidwani

This is part 2 of a 3-part series on Implementing SASB.

 

In my last post, I started contrasting and comparing the readiness to follow SASB guidance for two industries: Metals & Mining (M&M) and Apparel, Accessories, & Footwear (AA&F).  Based on the higher rate of reporting in AA&F, we would consider that industry more highly “evolved” as far as sustainability reporting, than M&M.

 

Apparel industry more prepared for SASB

 

Despite the generally higher level of reporting within AA&F than in M&M, most of the companies in both industries do not appear ready at present to implement and report the metrics involved in the SASB standard.  This is because each industry’s “topics’ and “metrics” are different and the “bar” set for both industries is well above current practice.

 

The eleven M&M topics cover reporting of labor issues, carbon production, and other aspects of company operation.  The four AA&F topics focus mostly on these companies’ supply chain and the risks that are in them.  This table summarizes the percentage of companies that in each industry that our data indicated could be ready to report each topic.

 

SASB topics comparison

 

As you can see, we believe only 40% of the companies we studied in each industry have the data required to satisfy investor’s needs for material information.  The remaining companies (and for M&M, we must add the 75% of companies who had so little available data that we could not study them) could not disclose the data suggested in the SASB standard, even if they were willing to do it.

 

For example, the M&M industry is asked to disclose data on their energy efficiency.  About a quarter of the companies we studied seemed to be ready to do this.  The rest were either only somewhat ready or not ready at all.

 

Three levels of disclosure

 

A more complex requirement from the AA&F industry will be equally difficult to comply with for most companies in that industry.  For example, the AA&F industry is asked to disclose the percentage of its suppliers who have been found to be out of conformance with various labor standards.  However, our research shows that only 25% of the studied companies show evidence that they are disclosing this type of information.

 

Companies and sources

 

More details on these findings are available in the SASS reports on these two industries.

 

See The SASS (Sustainable Accounting Standings Series) Apparel, Accessories and Footwear Industry Report.

See The SASS (Sustainable Accounting Standings Series) Metals & Mining Industry Report.

See part 1 of the Implementing SASB series.

 

 


 

Bahar Gidwani Bahar 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 435 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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