Implementing SASB – Two Industry Examples

By Bahar Gidwani

This is part 1 of a 3-part series on Implementing SASB.

 

Over the past six months, we have been working with the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) on a series of reports we call the Sustainability Accounting Standings Series (SASS).  The reports are designed to help companies understand SASB’s guidance on the sustainability-related information that reasonable investors would consider material in their SEC filings.  We have used CSRHub’s vast library of reporting information (we have collected 91 million pieces of corporate sustainability data and rate more than 15,500 companies) to assess the readiness of 280 companies in the Apparel, Accessories & Footwear (AA&F) and 1,799 companies in the Metals & Mining (M&M) industries.  Although these completely different industries are each at a different stage in their journey towards integrated reporting, they face a number of common issues as they move towards integrating SASB’s guidance into their financial reporting.

 

We used the SASB industry Classification System (SICS) to select the companies to study in each report.  The table below shows that M&M companies are far behind AA&F on their reporting and disclosure practices.

 

CSRHub SASB sustainability data

 

On the other hand, almost all AA&F companies have disclosed at least some sustainability data and almost half have reached the point where they can receive full CSRHub ratings.

 

In contrast, the M&M companies CSRHub can rate tend have much higher rates of commitment to external reporting systems such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) than AA&F companies do.  In fact, M&M companies have higher average reporting rates for these two metrics than do all CSRHub-rated companies.

 

Apparel and Footwear GRI UNGC

 

We suspect this difference may be due to the fact that AA&F companies have moved beyond basic reporting processes and towards more sophisticated methods.  It may also be a result simply of selection effect when we compare a sample that has virtually all AA&F companies against the handful of M&M companies who have disclosed significant amounts of information.

 

Another similarity is that the top five companies and bottom five companies in each industry look remarkably similar in terms of their perceived sustainability performance.  The two industries show a similar range of CSR behavior.

 

Top 5 company csr comparison

 

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.

 

 

 


 

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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Second SASB Partner Report

Interested in how SASB will affect the Apparel, Accessories and Footwear industry?CSRHub SASB Apparel Report

CSRHub has just released The SASS (Sustainable Accounting Standings Series) Apparel, Accessories and Footwear Industry Report.

 

CSRHub is the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board’s™ (SASB™) first partner in its newly-launched “Research & Insight Partnership Program.” This is the second report in a series that will cover all 79 of SASB’s Sustainable Industry Classification System™ (SICS™) industries — the first was on the Metal & Mining industry and it remain available on the CSRHub site, here. CSRHub’s co-author for the reports has been the well-respected consulting firm, EKOS International.

 

This new report describes the current state of sustainability reporting for the 280 companies that SASB mapped to the Apparel, Accessories and Footwear industry. It also discusses reporting trends in general for this industry and includes information on another 61 of the industry’s companies who are not covered by SICS.

 

The 60 page report may be purchased from the CSRHub web site. You can see the table of contents and the first few pages of the report here.

 


 

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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Something to Look Forward to at BCCCC

By Cynthia Figge

 

This week I have the pleasure of attending Boston College’s 2016 International Corporate Citizenship conference.  Our friends at BCCCC have asked me to speak about ratings, rankings and data analytics. I look forward to meeting with many of the leaders in the CSR movement.

 

CSRHub is a Benchmark Sponsor of this year’s event, and attendees will receive a complimentary CSRHub report covering the company of their choice.  Most have requested reports on their own companies, but some have asked about other companies that may have a best practice or two they’d like to learn.  We ran a quick average of the overall rankings for 88 companies that were requested from our system.

 

We expect this group to outperform the more than 15,500 companies we rate as many of the requests are for member companies of BCCCC and therefore committed to improving their corporate citizenship.  The table below shows that while the average overall rating for this group is slightly above average at 55.4%, the highest category ranking is Employees. With about 600 companies in attendance, we will rerun this analysis as we produce more company reports.

 

BCCCC top 5 companies

 

The table also illustrates five companies (all BCCCC members) requested with high scores within the CSRHub system.  We have enjoyed this opportunity to share our metrics with the BCCCC community.  Our mission is to encourage transparent access to sustainability information and to generate feedback and change from this data.  I’m looking forward to several days of learning from companies that are leading the way, and from others who are working hard to improve their companies’ performance.

 

 


 

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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CSRHub’s Cynthia Figge speaking at Boston College’s 2016 International Corporate Citizenship Conference

BCCCC 2016 Conference

 

CSRHub Co-Founder and COO, Cynthia Figge, will be a panelist at Boston College’s 2016 International Corporate Citizenship Conference. This event will be held on March 20-22nd in Atlanta, GA. Cynthia will be speaking at the Session focused on Ratings, Rankings and Data Analytics.  Cynthia will be joined by Eric Fernald from MSCI and Susanne Katus from eRevalue, in a session moderated by Stephen Donofrio, BC Center for Corporate Citizenship, to discuss the landscape of how companies are measured. The audience will receive tips to shape their companies’ approach to the complex world of ratings and rankings.

 

CSRHub is a Benchmarking Sponsor of the 2016 International Corporate Citizenship Conference. We look forward to joining experts from around the world in sharing the innovative new programs, partnerships, and solutions that are driving positive change across the globe.

 

For the agenda of this event and more information, please 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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What’s Next for ESG Metrics?

By Bahar Gidwani

 

Several groups have written predictions about the future course of the Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) measurement space.  We’ve seen stories about the importance of millennials (as both customers and employees), a sense that carbon tracking is finally an accepted part of corporate life, and that companies must watch out for a range of new legal and regulatory issues.

 

At CSRHub, we are exposed to all of these trends, and many more.  Our data collection engine automatically absorbs new data elements on 3,500 topics from 435 data sources.  It analyzes this information, normalizes it, weights it, and outputs ratings on more than 15,000 companies.  Each month we get a fresh look at what sustainability professionals around the world think is important.

 

One thing we’ve watched for several years is the shift in emphasis between interest in Environmental, Social, and Governance issues (“ESG” issues).  Governance and Environment each had their time as the top area of focus.  However, our data shows clearly that Social issues are now emerging as the focus for corporate social behavior analysis.

 

The overall sustainability ratings for the companies CSRHub tracks was stable or even dropped a little between 2009 and 2011.  We believe this was due to cutbacks on ESG spending, following the great recession of 2008-9.  Since 2011, we have seen steady overall improvement across companies in all industries and geographic regions.

 

CSRHub Sustainability Ratings

 

It is relatively easy to drill down into this data and pull out the average ratings across all of the companies CSRHub tracks, for each aspect of ESG.  However, our coverage has grown rapidly over the past eight years, partly due to the fact that we’ve found more data sources (we started with only 70 sources) and partly due to the fact that more companies are reporting sustainability information.  To ensure that we could focus just on trends in ESG focus, we selected 400 companies from this year’s Fortune 500 for whom we had full ratings back to 2009.

 

As you can see in the graph below, the ratings on Governance issues for this set of 400 companies have fallen since 2009 (probably as the legal and governmental pressures from the recession receded).  Environment had an upward spike in perceived performance from 2012 through 2014, but has now leveled off.  Social ratings have now started to move up and look likely to soon pass those for the other two areas of ESG.

 

Social Rating_Rising

 

We can also track how much information we receive from our sources for each area of social performance.  If we assume that the amount of information our sources receive ties to the amount of information that companies produce, we see evidence that the group of companies we study have generated more data in Social than in either of the other two areas.

 

Social Data Available_rising rapidly

 

CSRHub tracks six different social metrics areas: Community Development & Philanthropy; Compensation & Benefits; Diversity & Labor Rights; Human Rights & Supply Chain; Product; and Training Health & Safety.  We expect to see our clients continue to step up their efforts to benchmark their performance against that of their competitors in each of these areas.  Software firms will add more tools and consultants will write more reports on Social practices—just as they did during the 2008-09 era for the Governance space and in the 2012-14 era for the Environment space.  The overall effect should be a refocused interest on improving corporate performance on social issues, over the next few years.

 


 

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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