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Key Practice Area - Sustainability - Measuring Corporate Sustainability
Key Practice Area: Sustainability

Measuring Corporate Sustainability

How do you prioritize the growing number of information requests from environmental, social and governance (ESG) researchers? Learn more about the business value of responding to research surveys and gain strategies for optimizing your efforts.

Overview

NAEM’s "Measuring Corporate Sustainability" conference brought together more than 100 participants to discuss the challenges of the emerging field of environment, social and governance (ESG) research. In this section you will find:

Agenda: See a list of speakers and view session descriptions

Blogs: Read expert interviews and opinion pieces about the ESG research field from The Green Tie blog.

Article: "Collaboration is key to successful external reporting"

Conference Report: This report outlines highlights from the conference and recommends steps to improve the ESG reporting process going forward.

Presentations: Featured presentations from this conference include:

  • Defining and Refining the Metrics that Matter: Corporate and ESG Analyst Perspectives
    • Carol Singer Neuvelt, Executive Director, NAEM
    • Kyle Whitaker, Manager, SustainAbility

  • Developing a Strategy to Manage Your Sustainability Reputation" w
    • Jim Cline, Director Environmental Affairs & Sustainability, Cardinal Health Inc.
    • Elizabeth (Tish) Lascelle, Senior Director, Strategy & Assurance, Worldwide Environment, Health & Safety, Johnson & Johnson
    • Gary Niekerk, Director Global Citizenship, Intel Corp.

  • Shining a light on the ESG analytic process
    • Mark Bateman, Director of Research, IW Financial
    • Simon MacMahon, Director Advisory Services, North America, Sustainalytics
  • Toward a Common Goal: Providing Meaningful Information to Investors
    • Kimberly Gladman, Director of Research and Risk Analytics, Governance Metrics International
    • David Loehwing, Director, Sustainability Research Department, Pax World Management Co.
    • Sandy Nessing, Managing Director Sustainability & ESH Strategy, American Electric Power Co.

  • Standardizing Sustainability Metrics: What does the future hold?
    • Michael Muyot, President, CRD Analytics
    • Mark Tulay, Founder & CEO, Sustainability Risk Advisors

Agenda

Defining and Refining the Metrics that Matter: Corporate and ESG Analyst Perspectives

  • Carol Singer Neuvelt, Executive Director, NAEM
  • Kyle Whitaker, Manager, SustainAbility

This opening session will set the stage for today’s discussion by providing a historical look at the evolution of third party sustainability rankings and the current key players. This session features a high level summary of NAEM’s research findings on internal corporate sustainability metrics and highlight how they frequently differ from the metrics of interest to external ratings firms.

EHS and Sustainability Managers won’t want to miss this chance to see what key performance indicators (KPIs) their peers are tracking and how they are used to drive increased performance. Sustainability analysts will get a rare glimpse at how leading corporations measure, track, and manage their sustainability posture and performance. Collectively we’ll examine some key differences between corporate metrics and external indicators and tease out the lessons we can learn from these gaps, as we work to zero in on the "Metrics that Matter.”

Developing a Strategy to Manage Your "Sustainability” Reputation: Lessons Learned from EHS, Sustainability, CSR and Investor Relations Managers

  • Jim Cline, Director Environmental Affairs & Sustainability, Cardinal Health Inc.
  • Elizabeth (Tish) Lascelle, Senior Director, Strategy & Assurance, Worldwide Environment, Health & Safety, Johnson & Johnson
  • Gary Niekerk, Director Global Citizenship, Intel Corporation

This session will offer practical insights form three companies as they reflect and share lessons learned from their sustainability reporting strategies. Attendees from the both the corporate and external research and ratings side will be encouraged to share their tips and insights as to how companies can establish and maintain an accurate and positive sustainability reputation. The session will provide attendees lessons on how to:

  • Prioritize and decide which third party surveys to complete
  • Correct misinformation about your company that has been reported
  • Post and report information online
  • Work internally with investor relations and EHS teams

ESG Roundtable: Shining a light on the ESG analytic processes

  • Mark Bateman, Director of Research, IW Financial
  • Simon MacMahon, Director Advisory Services, North America, Sustainalytics

Speakers in this session will discuss their criteria and approaches for analyzing corporate data. Participants will have a chance to raise questions and pursue dialogue with these panelists on their perspectives on how corporate sustainability data is used by investors, how ESG research/analysis outputs can be of benefit to companies, and why it is important for companies to participate (i.e., share information) with ESG researchers.

Roundtable Discussion - Toward a Common Goal: Providing Meaningful Information to Investors

  • Kimberly Gladman, Director of Research and Risk Analytics, Governance Metrics International
  • David Loehwing, Director, Sustainability Research Department, Pax World Management Co.
  • Sandy Nessing, Managing Director Sustainability & ESH Strategy, American Electric Power Co.

ESG researchers must continually provide meaningful sustainability ratings that cover a broad array of companies and industries. They often face this challenge with limited information companies and gaps or limitations in the data received.

In this session, representatives from ESG researchers and Investment Managers will discuss what information and perspectives are of most interest to them and their customers. Researchers will also discuss actions that corporate managers could undertake to improve the accuracy, coherence, and utility of the evaluations, ratings, and rankings that are produced by external ESG research organizations. A corporate representative will share similar thoughts and concerns around process and limitations that they face, with the ultimate goal of identifying opportunities for process improvements and information flow on both sides.

Standardizing Sustainability Metrics: What does the future hold?

  • Michael Muyot, President, CRD Analytics
  • Mark Tulay, Founder & CEO, Sustainability Risk Advisors

With sustainability squarely in the business mainstream, the rush to figure out how to define and measure it is on! From ESG researchers and investors to NGOs, Corporate CEOs, and WalMart, everyone has a different prospective on what metrics matter.

Hear strategic players who stand to have a strong impact on the future of standardized sustainability metrics discuss the factors and drivers they see having the biggest impact and explore likely scenarios for what sustainability reporting and metrics will look like in 5,10 and 20 years.

Blogs

The following are expert interviews and opinion pieces about the ESG research field from The Green Tie blog:

The effect of sustainability analytics on investment
A video interview with Jeff Morgan, President and CEO of the National Investor Relations Institute

Progressing beyond the current ESG reporting system
By Sandy Nessing, Managing Director, Sustainability & ESH Strategy, American Electric Power Co. Inc.

The method behind the NASDQ CRD Index
An interview with Michael Muyot, President and Founder of CRD Analytics

When it comes to ESG metrics, materiality matters
An interview with Mark Tulay, founder and CEO of Sustainability Risk Advisors and a leader in the Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings.

Article

Collaboration is key to successful external reporting

May 9, 2011

By NAEM Staff

Companies need a strategy for responding to the growing number of external requests for environmental, social and governance (ESG) data, and experts say dialogue should be part of that strategy.

Speaking at NAEM’s ‘Measuring Corporate Sustainability’ conference last week, Jim Cline, Director of Environmental Affairs and Sustainability for Cardinal Health, said a strong strategy begins as a collaboration between internal stakeholders. He said environmental, health and safety (EHS), investor relations and corporate communications should all be involved.

"When faced with the onslaught of questionnaires, EHS leaders should initiate a conversation about the potential benefits of external reporting,” he said. "If you’re going down this path, it’s essential that everybody understands the opportunity and agrees on the strategy.”

Once a company understands which ratings and rankings meet the objectives of its strategy, it can begin engaging external entities as stakeholders, Cline said.
For Johnson & Johnson Inc., direct engagement with ESG firms helps the company more accurately communicate its sustainability progress, according to Tish Lascelle, Senior Director of EHS.

"We want people to understand us,” she said at the event in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "These firms are telling our story for us. We want to give them the best possible chance at telling our story.”

Lascelle said building relationships with researchers also helps the company correct misinformation and address shortcomings in the survey design.

"The best we can do is to have conversations with the firms themselves so they can understand who we are and what we’re really about,” she said. "I think it’s always good to have the conversation, whether or not it changes anything. Sometimes it does, sometime it doesn’t, but the conversation is never a mistake.”

Mark Bateman, Director of Research at IW Financial, agreed that communication is important, adding that more dialogue could help improve the value of research analysis. He said ESG firms want companies to tell them which metrics actually relate to business performance.

"Here’s where I throw the challenge out to you,” he told the crowd, which included more than 50 corporate EHS and sustainability leaders. "Where are you actually adding value? And if you have a good story to tell, my further challenge is, make that story public on the direct linkage between financial performance and ESG information.”

With more insight into what companies deem material, Bateman said researchers would be able to begin measuring performance and impact, rather than simply focusing on disclosure.

While industry leaders may be poised for more active engagement, NAEM Executive Director Carol Singer Neuvelt said it’s important to remember that the most companies are still in the beginning stages of understanding these issues. Nevertheless, she said public disclosure is becoming a ubiquitous expectation.

"In the future, public disclosure will not be limited to leadership companies,” she said. "No matter where you are in the process, it’s important for you to start discussing these issues internally and begin sharing information about your sustainability progress.”

NAEM’s ‘Measuring Corporate Sustainability’ conference drew more than 100 business leaders, ESG researchers and nongovernmental organizations for a day-long conversation about the challenges of the current ESG reporting system. For more information about the event, please visit, http://metrics2011.naem.org/.

Report

Click here to download the "Driving ESG Reporting Progress through Dialogue," a summary of highlights and recommendations from the "Measuring Corporate Sustainability" conference.

AECOM, AECOM EHS

Presentations

Click here to view the presentations from the "Measuring Corporate Sustainability” conference. This content is available to NAEM members only; you must be logged in as a member to view it.

Sponsors

The "Measuring Corporate Sustainability” conference was presented with special support from:

AECOM, AECOM EHS

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