A New Title—“EHS and S”

By Bahar Gidwani

 

I recently attended my first National Association of Environmental Managers (NAEM) NAEMconference.  It was fabulous!  Good content and a nice mix of sustainability practitioners from both large companies, small companies, and various types of advisors.  I especially liked the fact that practically everyone I met was on the “front line”—measuring results, setting out strategies, and reporting progress.

 

One of things I noticed was that a number of the people at the conference had a job title I’d not seen before.  Instead of “Manager of EHS” or “Vice President, EHS” (the “EHS” acronym stands for “Environment Health and Safety”) the new title was “EHS and S.”

 

Apparently a lot of companies have realized that their environment, health, and safety experts know a lot about another “S”—“Sustainability.”  We at CSRHub have divided sustainability into four areas:  Community, Employees, Environment, and Governance.  I was told that many EHS managers (who had dealt in the past mostly with the Employees and Environment areas) were now being asked to also help with Community relations and with the sustainability reporting aspects of Governance.

 

This change makes a lot of sense to me.  EHS professionals (NAEM has members who work at 800 different companies) have firmly established their roles within their companies.  They are hands on and tied directly into daily operations.  Their reports often end up on the desk of their company’s CEO—because CEOs increasingly recognize that their company’s success depends on having a clean environmental record and on ensuring that their employees are safe and healthy.  EHS professionals have traditionally had a technical or engineering background.  This makes them comfortable with designing and implementing software-based tracking and reporting systems.  They are used to organizing and rationalizing processes that had not been looked at before, from a fact-based, statistical approach.

 

It seems that the new “S” role is often the result of collecting together programs that had previously been scattered across various areas.  Employee engagement programs, charitable giving, and product improvement processes are now being tied to and can contribute to the success of traditional EHS programs.

 

I suspect this shift may relate to the trend towards integrated reporting.  EHS professionals are used to submitting information to government regulators.  They understand how important it is to have data that is both accurate and auditable by outside third parties.  Integrated reporting is driving the “soft” parts of sustainability management toward greater accuracy and exposing them to scrutiny by both internal auditors and outside stakeholders such as investors and non-governmental organizations.

 

Next time you come to an NAEM conference, look at the cards you get.  I’m sure you’ll see many that sport an extra “S.”  Ask the question I did—“Does that extra letter mean you got another 1/3 added to your budget?”  I’m sure those you ask will laugh as hard as those did, as most have neither gotten more budget—or a raise—despite the extra burdens they’ve accepted.

 

 

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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Paris Climate Meeting Spreads Collective Responsibility

By: Carol Pierson Holding

 

Even in the best case, the Paris climate talks will fail to reduce greenhouse gases below the level at which our world will be disastrously altered. So the New York Times Editorial Board set a no less important goal in “What the Paris Climate Meeting Must Do:” “(foster) collective responsibility, a strong sense among countries large and small, rich and poor, that all must play a part in finding a global solution to a global problem.”

While countries’ emissions targets may not be enough, the climate talks may have already succeeded in fostering collective responsibility far beyond the U.N. members meeting in Paris. The fact that the talks were not cancelled after the ISIS attacks is further evidence of global resolve.

 

Leaders from every sphere, from the political to economic and business to media and beyond, are taking action, often expressly tied to the climate meeting.tiny house

 

Not that countries didn’t do their part. By requesting that each country submit a plan for emissions reductions ahead of the talks, U.N. organizers gave every country the opportunity to be a climate leader. Here in the U.S., the most widely reported of those announcements was September’s US/China “shiny new climate deal” as Grist called it. Hoping to spur real progress in Paris, the two countries updated their historic November 2014 climate agreement with concrete pledges, including Obama’s promise to reduce carbon emissions by 28 percent from 2005 levels and “China’s plans for a nationwide cap-and-trade scheme for 2017, a new $3.1 billion commitment from China to climate finance for poorer nations, and a common U.S.-China vision for December’s U.N. negotiations in Paris.”

 

Up here in the Pacific Northwest, the effect of the Paris climate talks is everywhere. In a front-page story in the Seattle Times, Microsoft announced that it has purchased a 520-acre forest as carbon credits, part of its program to offset 100% of carbon emissions. Microsoft used California’s cap-and-trade regulatory program, pointedly adding support for Washington State Governor Inslee’s Cap-and-trade program which has been stymied in Washington’s Republican legislature. Inslee is stepping up to enact the legislation through an executive order. To underscore his priorities, Inslee will attend the Paris talks.

 

Microsoft founder Bill Gates just announced in Paris a multi-billion dollar clean energy investment fund, another act intended to “give momentum to the two-week Paris climate talks.” He’s donating $1 billion of his own fortune and has gained additional commitments from 28 major investors and 20 nations, including the U.S., China and India. It’s the largest investment effort in history.

 

A lot of big money and big power is lining up for the climate, but what about fostering collective responsibility among citizens whose lifestyles will have to change in the new energy economy? As BloombergBusiness reported in October, “Americans Have Never Been So Sure About Climate Change – Even Republicans.” Crediting the UN climate talks among other factors, writer Tom Randall cites a massive shift in Republican acknowledgement that climate change is happening, now at 59%, up from 47% just six months ago, while acknowledgement among Democrats is at 90%.

 

What was once the environmental fringe is moving to the center. Just one example: the Home and Garden Network, in general a supporter of rampant consumerism in home décor, has renewed a program called Tiny House Hunters which celebrates extreme downsizing. A smaller A&E network runs at least three tiny house programs, including Tiny House Hunting, Tiny House Nation and Tiny House World, the latter two celebrating “minimalist lifestyles.”

 

From all the world’s nations to the billionaires investing in clean energy innovation to Americans moving to tiny houses, collective responsibility for the climate is a reality. And with everyone pushing in the same direction, we might just save ourselves.

 

Photo courtesy of Tammy Strobel via Flickr CC.

 


 

Carol2 Carol Pierson Holding is President and Founder, Holding Associates. Carol serves as Guest Blogger for CSRHub. Her firm has focused on the intersection of brand and social responsibility, working with Cisco Systems, Wilmington Trust, Bankrate.com, the US EPA, Yale University’s School of Environmental Sciences, and various non-profits. Before founding Holding Associates, Carol worked in executive management positions at Siegel & Gale, McCann Erickson, and Citibank. She is a Board Member of AMREF (African Medical and Research Foundation). Carol received her AB from Smith College and her MBA from Harvard University.

 

CSRHub provides access to corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information on 15,000+ companies from 135 industries in 132 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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CSRHub Named First Partner of SASB’s New Research & Insight Partnership Program

New York, December 3, 2015— Today The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board™ (SASB)™ announced that CSRHub® is the first partner of their newly launched Research & Insight Partnership Program, in which commercial and academic partners use SASB intellectual property (IP) to surface market trends and set benchmarks. SASB is a 501c3 non-profit organization that provides sustainability accounting standards for use by publicly listed corporations in the U.S.  CSRHub is a B Corporation that has built the world’s largest database of sustainability information.

 

Markets have started to recognize the materiality of select sustainability information. More research is needed in order to help corporate and investment professionals understand and manage this evolving field. To address this need, SASB has launched the Research & Insight Partnership Program.

 

CSRHub will kick off the partnership with a series of reports it is co-authoring with EKOS International. The reports analyze the state of sustainability disclosure and reporting trends at an industry level. This first report in the Sustainable Accounting Standings Series (SASS), which will focus on the Sustainable Industry Classification System™ (SICS™) Metals and Mining Industry, is available today at http://www.csrhub.com/content/sustainable-accounting-standings-series-sass-metals-and-mining-industry/

 

To request information on the Sustainable Accounting Standings Series, please contact Cynthia@csrhub.com.

To request information on the Research and Insight Partnership program, please contact Eli.Reisman@sasb.org.

 

About CSRHub

CSRHub® provides access to the world’s largest corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information service, covering 15,000+ companies 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, professionals, and academics use CSRHub to benchmark company and supply chain performance, learn how stakeholders evaluate company CSR practices, and seek ways to improve corporate sustainability performance. Subscribers can access 12 indicators and millions of detailed data points on employee, environment, community and governance performance. CSRHub is a B Corporation. For more information about CSRHub, visit www.csrhub.com or contact sales@csrhub.com.

 

CSRHub

 

About SASB

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board™ (SASB)™ is an independent 501(c)3 organization that issues industry-specific standards for use in disclosing material sustainability information in filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP, and Mary Schapiro, former SEC chairman, serve as chair and vice chair of SASB’s Board of Directors, and Dr. Jean Rogers serves as Founder and CEO. More than 2,800 individuals representing $23.4T assets under management and $11T market capital have participated in multi-stakeholder industry working groups informing standards development. For more information about SASB, visit www.sasb.org, or follow us on YouTube, Twitter or LinkedIn.

 

  SASB

 

About EKOS International

EKOS International is a leading strategic sustainability consulting firm, helping companies understand sustainability as a key driver of competitive advantage and integrate CSR/sustainability into core strategy, brand and operations. EKOS partners with clients to develop and implement: improvements in business performance, breakthroughs in customer loyalty and competitive advantage, and sustainability platforms that drive profitability, innovation, value creation, brand value, and legacy. EKOS services include strategy development, benchmarking and best practices, Sustainability/CSR Reporting, employee and stakeholder education and engagement, crowdsourced innovation, and value stream optimization. For more information about EKOS International, visit www.ekosi.com.

 

EKOS International

 

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CSRHub and iCompli Sustainability Announce Partnership with New ESG Metrics Brief

CSRHub is pleased to announce it has formed a partnership with iCompli Sustainability, to offer a new kind of sustainability report – the ESG Metrics Brief – that brings together qualitative and quantitative data for the corporate sustainability marketplace.

 

The ESG Metrics Brief provides concise, yet comprehensive feedback on corporate sustainability performance. The unique benchmarking report delivers quick, easily digestible information on over 120 environmental, social and governance indicators.  The ESG Metrics Brief will help corporate sustainability, procurement and investor relations officers assess performance, identify potential brand and reputation vulnerabilities, and make more informed decisions.

 

Using the ESG Metrics Brief, stakeholders can see how a company compares with its peers on the CSRHub rating system as well as other leading public and private sustainability scoring frameworks, including Bloomberg and CDP.  The report examines a company’s current performance on key indicators such as GHG, water, waste, injury rates, women in management, a company’s progress over time, and industry averages.

 

ESG Metrics Brief

 

To learn more, go to www.csrhub.com/content/icompli-csrhub-esg-metrics-brief/.

 

About CSRHub

 

CSRHub® provides access to the world’s largest corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information service, covering 15,000+ companies 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, professionals, and academics use CSRHub to benchmark company and supply chain performance, learn how stakeholders evaluate company CSR practices, and seek ways to improve corporate sustainability performance. Subscribers can access 12 indicators and millions of detailed data points on employee, environment, community, and governance performance. CSRHub is a B Corporation. For more information about CSRHub, visit www.csrhub.com or contact sales@csrhub.com.

 

About iCompli Sustainability

 

iCompli Sustainability (iCompli) is a division of BPA Worldwide, the world’s largest media audit company. A not-for-profit organization established in 1931, BPA’s audit services have expanded to include external assurance of government and industry standards and independent verification of companies’ sustainability claims. iCompli provides a research-driven systems approach to help organizations make defensible decisions about their sustainability initiatives. We offer diagnostic and assessment services, data verification and report assurance, and third-party certification to industry sustainability standards. For more information about iCompli, visit www.icomplisustainability.com.

 

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Accelerating Clean Energy Transition Effective Weapon Against ISIS?

By: Carol Pierson Holding
Paris

 

 

As we got closer to the December 7-8 climate talks in Paris, I began seeing movement towards an outcome so positive that it might surprise us all. Politically, climate change-related events of the week are just short of astonishing. Obama’s rejection of the Keystone pipeline and New York’s Attorney General agreeing to hear the case against Exxon for lying about climate change happened just a week ago. Pundits saw these decisions as climate activism success and proof of populace power.

 

Market news was equally encouraging. Solar energy providers just underbid coal companies, winning contracts in Chile and India without subsidies. Renewable energy is simply cheaper. Coal stocks are down and coal companies are going bankrupt. This year coal sales have already declined by as much as 180 million tons versus last year. The largest state pension system CALPERS if California is divesting from coal. All great news.

 

Then the ISIS attacks on Paris happened. The mass murders were barbaric; the threat of more, terrifying; the fear, all engulfing.

 

While my news feeds didn’t change, my perceptions changed dramatically. My filters turned negative. I began seeing pessimistic reports everywhere.

 

The same President Obama who seemed so fearless in rejecting TransCanada’s bid for the Keystone pipeline approved the Gulf Trace liquid natural gas pipeline expansion. As reported in DeSmog’s newsletter, the pipeline is owned by Energy Transfer Partners, one of the worst environmental offenders, and will move fracked liquid natural gas to Cheniere Energy’s shipping terminal in Sabine Pass, Louisiana. Back in 2012, Sabine Pass was the first terminal approved by the Obama administration for liquefied natural gas. Among its board of directors is Obama’s former climate czar, Heather Zichal.

 

Politics as usual in the entrenched fossil fuel business.

 

Even more damaging to the environment are increasingly conservative local leaders. One example: London is experiencing air pollution from car exhaust that’s risen to levels not seen since the 1950s, when one four-day “pea-souper” killed 12,000. This year, Oxford Street exceeded pollution limits set for the entire year in just the first four days of 2015.

 

But the Mayor of London Boris Johnson is a climate denier who calls pollution statistics “ludicrous urban myth” and has delayed any action until 2020. As Christine L. Corton wrote in the New York Times, “what’s happening in London is being played out in cities worldwide, as efforts to curtail the onslaught of air pollution are stymied by short-term vested interests, with potentially disastrous results.”

 

Then there’s the politics of COP21 itself. Protests around the upcoming G20 meeting are pushing members to recommit to ending fossil fuel subsidies, now at $425 billion, or four times the amount of pledges for climate finance. G20 leaders agreed but failed to dismantle fossil fuel supports in 2009. COP 21 offered another chance to broker the tough agreements.

 

But after the Paris bombings, the G20 vowed to make ISIS their primary focus.

 

Posting the morning of the Paris slaughter, 350.org Board Chair and Climate Solutions’ Senior Policy Advisor KC Golden’s offers this resounding call to climate action:

 

“We have the guts and the will and the brains to win our best and only viable future, a clean energy future.  Believe that too. It’s not just stout opposition that’s stopping fossil fuel expansion; it’s the clean energy transition, taking off.”

 

Would the ISIS attack on Paris prevent Golden’s vision from happening?

 

Leaders across the developed world face a threat just as important or urgent than climate change, and definitely more immediate. One possible scenario: political leaders recognize our dependence on fossil fuel for the vulnerability that it is. From the easy target created by our troops’ fuel trucks operating in ISIS territories to the risks here at home from combustible fuel sources located near dense population centers, fossil fuels are a strategic disadvantage. Shouldn’t climate change action be part of the G20’s response to ISIS, depriving them of their primary source of income while keeping our troops and citizens safe?

 

What Golden wrote before the attacks was prescient: “We’re collaborating as never before to build stronger, more equitable economies, healthier communities, shared prosperity…making continued expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure as unnecessary and uneconomic as it is unconscionable.” The fight against ISIS is just one more reason to make that transition as fast as we possibly can.

 

Photo courtesy of Groume via Flickr CC.

 


 

Carol2 Carol Pierson Holding is President and Founder, Holding Associates. Carol serves as Guest Blogger for CSRHub. Her firm has focused on the intersection of brand and social responsibility, working with Cisco Systems, Wilmington Trust, Bankrate.com, the US EPA, Yale University’s School of Environmental Sciences, and various non-profits. Before founding Holding Associates, Carol worked in executive management positions at Siegel & Gale, McCann Erickson, and Citibank. She is a Board Member of AMREF (African Medical and Research Foundation). Carol received her AB from Smith College and her MBA from Harvard University.

 

CSRHub provides access to corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information on 15,000+ companies from 135 industries in 132 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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