Climate Woes Demand Both War and Civil Action

By: Carol Pierson Holding

 

For at least a decade, I’ve been a huge fan of Bill McKibben, thought leader for the climatesustainability girl
movement. But his most recent article in The New Republic, “A World at War,” falls short.  Subtitled “We’re under attack from climate change — and our only hope is to mobilize like we did in WWII,” his piece uses war as more than an analogy: “It’s not that global warming is like a war. It is a war.”

 

After reviewing the horrors of global warming, McKibben reports how the U.S. and other nations could deploy renewable energy rapidly enough to reduce fossil fuel emissions 80% by 2030. Using a wholesale industrial retooling akin to WWII to manufacture solar, wind and geothermal equipment, the reconstruction would be ordered and partly paid for by the feds, using existing contracts as leverage to force businesses to comply.

 

But what McKibben also points out is that after the war had ended, “solidarity gave way to the biggest boom in personal consumption the world had ever seen.” After WWII, materialism was our reward for war’s deprivations.

 

This time, a boom after “defeating” the climate could lead to even bigger disasters.

 

McKibben’s right that we need an all out effort to address climate change, but it’s only one solution to the mess we’ve created from our out-of-control consumerism. There’s also the Texas-sized island of plastic swirling in the Pacific Ocean, the jaw-dropping species extinctions, the lethal pollution and toxic chemicals and threatened water supplies. If we simply convert to clean energy without addressing the underlying causes of over-consumption and disregard for the earth, we’ll continue to face the same level of global emergency as climate presents now.

 

To be clear, the climate is not attacking us and it’s not our enemy. That’s the same twisted philosophy that got us here in the first place, where nature is other rather than part of a single system of which we are a part.

 

Rebecca Solnit, environmental activist, historian and the author of fifteen books, explains climate justice in this week’s Guardian. Her article on the Dakota Pipeline protests asks, “Is this a new civil rights movement where environmental and human rights meet?” Rather than wage war against climate change, she writes about joining forces with the Native American civil rights movement, as is being done successfully in South Dakota and for years up and down the Pacific Northwest coast.

 

Like McKibben’s war argument, climate justice is not a new concept. I wrote about it in 2010 for CSRHub.com in a story about the Native Alaskan Village of Kivalina suing big oil for melting their permafrost. I also wrote about the Occupy movement’s Climate Justice day in the Huffington Post: “Environmentalists are defining how environmental destruction and economic inequality are closely connected.”

 

The concept goes all the way back to Chief Seattle, who is quoted as having said, ““Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.”

 

Civil rights are being extended bit by bit to include all of humankind, and those movements will continue. Now we have to expand that same justice and compassion to all life on earth, finding ways to protect the earth and each other while diminishing our need for stuff.

 

We may need a war-like effort to switch to renewables, but comparing the climate crisis to waging war doesn’t move us forward. We need to heal our environment and, within our environment, ourselves. It’s a change in values that will be a much tougher “war” to win than the one McKibben proposes.

 

Photo courtesy of  Fibonacci Blue via Flickr CC.

 


Carol2Carol 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 rankings information on 16,495+ companies from 135 industries in 133 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 , , , , , , , , ,

Light at the End of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline

By: Carol Pierson Holding

 

Trans-Alaska Oil PipelineWriting recently for the Wall Street Journal, Thomas Barrett, President of Alyeska which owns and manages the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, bemoans the pipeline’s deterioration due to falling oil production and urges that oil drilling sites be opened in Alaskan seas to increase the oil load and save the pipeline.

 

But first, Barrett celebrates this amazing scientific and engineering feat. Completed in 1977 for over $8 billion, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline runs for 800 miles, carrying oil from its source in the North Slope to the port of Valdez. The complexity is mind-boggling: hot oil, maintained at a steady 140 degrees
through external temperatures as low as 60 degrees below zero, is pushed along by eleven pumping stations through pipe wrapped in 4 inches of fiberglass insulation, about half of it buried and half carried above the tundra on 78,000 support structures. The tundra’s temperature is further stabilized through 124,000 heat releasing pipes.

 

All this while balancing the demands of the pipeline’s powerful owners, primarily BP and Exxon Mobil.

 

For years, pipeline managers have claimed the pipeline needs more oil. After peaking in 1988 at over 2 million barrels/day, oil production in the North Slope declined, resulting in lower throughput, which leads to cooling oil, which over time results in build-up of sludge and other substances harmful to the pipeline. Barrett’s recommendation is to increase output by opening new oil drilling sites in the Chuchki and Beaufort seas and Cook Inlet near Valdez.

 

So far, the Interior Department has refused to sell these off-shore oil Alaskan leases, yet conservative forces and Alyeska managers continue to push.

 

According to Barrett, the only other option is to shut down the pipeline. The pipeline currently carries just a fourth of its maximum capacity, and its load will continue to decline, reducing revenue while requiring costly repairs. And it’s not just repairs caused by low oil flow. Pipeline President Barrett is still catching up on maintenance long-delayed by former Presidents, all but one drawn from member companies whose primary interest was to minimize costs and giving Alyeska poor ratings for environmental performance by ratings company CSRHub.

 

In addition, the pipeline is now almost forty years old. Insulation is eroding. Pipe seals are breaking. It seems it might be time to retire it anyway.

 

Climate activist Bill McKibben would agree. In an article in this month’s New Republic, McKibben argues for a “far more stringent effort” to control climate change than the plans agreed to after last year’s Paris Climate Summit. McKibben points to a state-by-state plan developed by American scientists led by Mark Z. Jacobson at Stanford to transition rapidly to renewable energy from sun, wind and water, at the rate of 80-85% by 2030 and 100% by 2050. In Alaska, that would mean shifting to onshore and offshore wind for 70% of energy requirements and another 20% from hydroelectric.

 

The pipeline solution seems simple, doesn’t it? Instead of investing in oil pipeline maintenance, allow the North Slope oil to run out and the pipeline to degrade, then shut it down, however much it hurts to abandon that miracle of American know how. Invest instead in wind turbines.

 

One expensive problem remains. When the pipeline was originally built, the agreement reached with native tribes and environmentalists required that upon shutdown, all hazardous pipe, pumps, support structures, etc. must be removed and the land and vegetation restored along the pipeline as well the roads built to assemble it. The cost of disassembly could exceed the pipeline’s original cost.

 

What incentive does Alyeska have to make good on its promise? Oil and gas is a major source of tax revenue for Alaska and enforcement is notoriously lax. And how would you establish fines for leaving toxic pipe to erode along a 420 mile swath of tundra whose land value is virtually nil but, without which, an entire society’s source of subsistence is destroyed? Where one-third of the world’s soil-bound carbon is stored, then released whenever permafrost melts, adding to climate change?

 

In the past, regulators have succeeded in extracting even larger clean-up costs from the oil companies. But public outrage has played a huge part, and it may be harder to rouse activists on behalf of an old pipeline and the tundra below. If Alyeska’s owners cannot be pushed into living up to their agreement to dissemble the pipeline, then the task will fall to some combination of state and Federal agencies, and, eventually, American taxpayers. The biggest question is not how, but when.

 

Photo courtesy of Arthur Chapman via Flickr CC.

 



Carol2Carol 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 rankings information on 16,495+ companies from 135 industries in 133 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 , , , , , , , , ,

Brand Intelligence Solutions Enters Into Alliance With CSRHub

Brand Intelligence solutions logo

Csrhub logo

 

 

 

 

Brand Intelligence Solutions has entered into an Alliance with CSRHub, the world’s most comprehensive non-financial (Brand/CSR/ESG) rating database, to launch the “360° Brand Intelligence Solutions Benchmark Tool.” Using real time data, you can now benchmark your sustainability and brand story against your competitors and industry leaders.

 

Elisa Turner, founder and CEO of Brand Intelligence Solutions says, “The fabric of business models has changed. In 1935 corporations and brands were valued based solely on their financial assets and performance – today up to 80% of corporate and brand value is based on non-financial asset performance. It is a fact today that companies who manage their non-financial assets as diligently as their financial ones consistently outperform their counterparts. The challenge corporation’s face today is: how to evolve from the 1935 myopic culture to one that is informed and consistently evolving to meet the required attributes for success today.”

The first step in addressing this challenge is awareness and knowledge of: what is material, industry leader benchmarks, where you rate against the leaders, what are your risks, brand reputation amongst stakeholders and evolving regulations and stakeholder expectations.

 

Brand intelligence is the aligned management of non-financial assets.

 

brand intelligence defined

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brand Intelligence is the quality of a company’s non-financial asset awareness engagement, performance, and communication. These assets include; brand reputation, environmental, social, human, product, supply-chain and governance.

 

Brand Intelligence touches every aspect of your business and brand today. A 360° holistic view of your non-financial asset performance in critical to managing in today’s economy.

 

For the first time – it is available!

 

brand intelligence benchmarking tool

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With this tool for the first time, you have a real-time data based 360° holistic view of your non-financial performance from external stakeholders and the ability to benchmark that against industry leaders and competitors. Brand Intelligence Solutions and CSRHub will provide corporations with their external “Brand Intelligence Scores.”

 

The 360° Brand Intelligence Solutions Benchmark Tool is a game changer – for the first time the links between sustainability, brand, communications, and profit are visible and can be measured. This means they can now be managed and in quantifiable terms, just like you do financial ones.

 

Brand Intelligence Solutions has also entered into an Alliance with FigBytes, a global leader, next generation non-financial management system to launch the “360° Brand Intelligence Solutions Benchmark Tool.”

 

About Brand Intelligence Solutions

 

Brand Intelligence is an independent consulting firm, globally recognized as a leader in the area of sustainable business systems and sustainable brands. Founded by Elisa Turner, a trailblazer in sustainable business for 15 years – prior to this she spent 10 years working in the C-Suite of some of the world’s most recognized retail brands.

 

The Brand Intelligence© framework – is a systemized approach developed over 15 years for companies to build, operationalize and manage Brand Intelligence©. For more information about Brand Intelligence Solutions, go to http://www.brandintelligence.solutions/. Please contact Brand Intelligence anytime for more information at elisa@brandintelligence.solutions.

 

About CSRHub 

 

CSRHub provides access to the world’s largest corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information, covering on 16,500 companies from 135 industries in 133 countries. By aggregating and normalizing the information from 469 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 academics use CSRHub for sustainability intelligence to benchmark company performance, learn how stakeholders evaluate company CSR practices, and seek ways to improve corporate sustainability performance.

 

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

 

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

CSRHub’s Bahar Gidwani to Speak at NAEM’s 2016 Sustainability Management Conference

CSRHub Co-Founder and CEO, Bahar Gidwani, will be speaking at NAEM’s 2016 Sustainability Management Conference, in Milwaukee WI, on August 2-3. Bahar will NAEM's Sustainability Management Conference 2016discuss The Next Generation of Sustainability Tools and Data Analysis. At NAEM’s annual conference, attendees will learn how to further integrate sustainability into their business operations from fellow corporate EHS and sustainability leaders. Through a mix of peer-led case studies and benchmark dialogues, NAEM’s annual sustainability conferences allow for participants to gain insights in order to  immediately improve performance, identify opportunities for their businesses and set better sustainability goals.

 

Wednesday, August 3rd 1:00pm-2:00pm CDT

 

The Next Generation of Sustainability Tools and Data Analysis

 

  • Bahar Gidwani, Co-Founder & CEO; CSRHub
  • Jeff Hintzke, Vice President, Deployment Services; Alta Energy Inc.

 

More powerful technology and ever-improving software are making it easier than ever to collect and report large amounts of data. So, what’s possible now, and what can we expect in the future? Hear from two experts about the new generation of tools at your disposal to sort and dissect data in ways that reveal valuable insights about your sustainability program and company as a whole.

 

NAEM

 

The National Association for Environmental Management (NAEM) empowers corporate leaders to advance environmental stewardship, create safe and healthy workplaces, and promote global sustainability. As the largest professional community for EHS and sustainability decision-makers, they provide peer-led educational conferences and an active network for sharing solutions to today’s corporate EHS and sustainability management challenges.

 

To register for this conference please click here.

 


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 16,000 companies from 135 industries in 132 countries. By aggregating and normalizing the information from 461 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.

Tagged , , , , ,

Site Selection Magazine Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Analysis

By: Bahar Gidwani

 

Do some states attract more progressive companies while others receive investment from companies who are thought to be less socially progressive?  If so, why might this occur?

 

A recent article in Site Selection Magazine used the CSRHub database as part of determining which of 50 US states and 132 non-US countries were most attractive for a new site from a sustainability perspective.  This article presents analysis which provides deeper understanding of the corporate social responsibility aspect. Our goal is to make it easier for companies to use sustainability as a site selection criteria and localities to screen siting companies for sustainability, thereby improving their desirability.

 

CSRHub’s Contribution to the Study

 

The CSRHub data set contains estimates of the perceived corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance of more than 16,000 entities.  It includes data on both public and private companies and on government entities and not for profits.  CSRHub collects information for its big data engine from more than 469 sources and its data set includes companies from 133 countries.  For more information on how CSRHub ratings are generated, please see the CSRHub site.

 

Because many Site Magazine entries were from subsidiaries, a total of 3,073 CSRHub companies connected to at least one site decision entry on the Site Selection list, and 2,217 of these matched companies had full CSRHub scores.  These companies were responsible for 5,549 of the site entries—About 55% of these site entries (3,052) were for U.S. sites and the other 45% were for sites in 106 other countries.

 

Using only scores from fully rated companies, CSRHub calculated two numbers for each US state and for each foreign country:

 

  • The average perceived CSR performance for the entities headquartered in that location. For example, CSRHub found that the 63 fully rated companies in Minnesota had an average percentile rank of 54.8%. Similarly, the 34 companies in Finland have 88% average ranks.  (CSRHub tracks a total of 137 companies in Minnesota and 72 companies in Finland.
  • The average perceived CSR performance of the entities who placed sites in a location. For example, entities with an average 58.5% rank placed 93 sites in Georgia.  (Another 23 sites were placed by entities who were headquartered in Georgia.)  Entities with an average 70.7% rank placed 75 sites in Brazil  (Another 5 sites were placed in Brazil by Brazilian companies.)

 

The difference between these numbers shows whether companies selecting sites in a given location are perceived to be more or less sustainable than that location’s current rating.  The following table shows the relevant data on both scores for the 39 US states that had at least 5 sites selected by companies outside of the state and at least five companies tracked by CSRHub.  The table is sorted in order by the difference between the two scores.

 

Comparison US State-part 1 Comparison US State-part 2

 

The preponderance of positive scores is probably due to several factors:

  • Many of the new entrants into these US states came from European companies. European companies have consistently higher sustainability ratings than US companies.
  • Idaho and South Dakota companies already have relatively high scores. They may be seeing lower scores for those siting in their state because they are attracting companies primarily interested in extracting their resources.
  • Connecticut has positioned itself as a business-friendly state and this may have encouraged some lower-ranked companies to enter.
  • Arkansas, Delaware, and Mississippi all have lower starting scores and are likely to see benefits from encouraging positive companies join their communities.

 

The table below shows the same information for non-US countries.  Note that we have narrowed the list to those countries with at least five sites from companies with headquarters outside the country and that have at least five entities that are fully rated by CSRHub.

 

Comparison Non-US state- part 1 Comparison Non-US state Part 2

 

The foreign table shows much bigger differences in the baseline performance of the companies in each country.  The three countries with the biggest negative differential are those who also have the highest average scores for their existing companies.  It is probably difficult for these countries to find many companies outside of their jurisdictions who can match this level of performance.

 

The three countries with the biggest positive score difference with new site contributors are:

  • Greece—which has very low scores from its current companies and who is getting huge support and attention from other higher-scoring parts of the EU.
  • Saudi Arabia—which is trying to build a base of sustainable, non-energy-reliant industries.
  • Egypt—which has such weak performance within its existing base of companies that outside companies must generally seem quite attractive.

 

We hope that studies such as the one done by Site Selection Magazine will encourage companies to include sustainability factors in their site research strategies.  Our data suggests that the localities who are accepting new sites will generally see candidate companies who are at least as socially positive as the companies who are already in their communities.  However, it may make sense for localities to screen each candidate carefully and seek to improve their reputation for being a socially positive and sustainable place to put a new site.

 

Appendix 1:  How CSRHub Generates a Score

 

How CSRHub generates a score

 

Appendix 2:

 

Appendix 2- part1 Appendix 2- part2

 

Appendix 3:

 

Appendix 3-part1 Appendix 3-part2 Appendix 3-part3

 



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 16,000 companies from 135 industries in 132 countries. By aggregating and normalizing the information from 461 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.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,