Are You Still In? Are You Signed on Yet? C’Mon – the Country Needs You!

by Hank Boerner, Chairman & Chief StrategistG&A Institute

Question of the Day:  Are YOU Still In?  Have you signed on?  “In” — that is, for the long haul on addressing the many challenges of climate change and related global warming issues.  And “signed on” — to the We Are Still In Movement (please see wearestillin.com for information).

Right now, there are more than 2,000 signatories to the statement that was released on June 5 (2017), right after President Donald Trump figuratively “tore up” the important, historic commitment of the United States of America to the COP 21 Paris Accord.

The new movement is a voluntary grassroots approach that includes a wide array of bold names in different sectors of the American economy (bold name highlights further down in this commentary for you).

The signatories include investors (asset owners and asset managers); mayors of cities and leaders of local municipalities; universities and colleges; state governors and state governments; and (very encouraging!) lots of American corporations.

Folks at Ceres and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and various sustainable, responsible and impact investment thought leaders are helping to get the word around. (Thank you to Anne Kelly and Jessie Arnell at Ceres and Marty Spitzer at WWF.)

The message points for signatories of all stripes are:

Despite the Trump Administration reneging on an important commitment (governmental and moral!), major players in the U.S. economy are still in — and stepping up, moving ahead on climate action.

Signatories are committing to drive down carbon pollution and address head on the challenges related to climate change (and especially the part that human activity plays in the changes taking place).  The goals put in place and the ambitious goals to come will help to ensure that the United States remains in the game and a global leader in reducing carbon emissions.

The broad-based coalition driving the We Are Still In movement
Just in the month of June, those signing on included:

  • 199 cities and counties;
  • 9 U.S. states;
  • 1,531 business leaders and investors;
  • 308 universities and colleges.

These players agree that:

  1. government alone is not driving the process;
  2. the Paris Accord represents an important blueprint for creating new jobs (think solar, wind, geothermal, energy conservation, etc);
  3. create prosperity on a broad, domestic and global basis;
  4. create stability in the world community, with developed economies assisting less-developed nations as ALL embrace the promises made in Paris (almost 200 nations are signed; notably absent now sad to say are just the USA, Nicaragua and Syria).

The We Are Still In Movement is sending clear signals to the global community in Plain English — not always present in White House’s erratic and often contradictory communications — that leaders throughout the American economic scene, in all geographies, in all sectors, are moving forward to help this nation meet the goals promised in Paris.

We will keep America Great in the global efforts to address climate change issues and provide innovative, job-creating, environmentally-friendly solutions!

ECONOMIC POWER
The signatories to date represent 124 million people in this nation (1/3 of the population!) and contributing US$6.2 trillion to the national economy.  This includes 38 Fortune 500 companies(bravo!) representing US$2.1 trillion in annual revenues and employing 4.7 million team members.

Here is the “Open Letter to the International Community” from the Movement for important background: http://wearestillin.com/

So — back to the question…are you signed on yet?  You can find more information at: www.wearestillin.com  — where you can sign up!

A Brief Selection of Bold Names for Your Reference

CORPORATE SECTOR
Bloomberg, LP; Mars Incorporated; Amazon; eBay; Google; Levi Strauss; Seagate Technology; Sealed Air Corporation; Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge; The Estee Lauder Companies; Microsoft; Apple; Nike; Campbell Soup Company; IBM: The Hartford; Starbucks; Intel; International Flavors & Fragrances; Wal-Mart Stores; Toshiba American Business Solutions; Johnson Controls.

THE INVESTMENT COMMUNITY
CalPERS; CalSTRS; New York City Office of the Comptroller; Office of the New York State Comptroller; Oregon State Treasury; Green Century Capital Management; Washington State Investment Board; Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment; Cornerstone Capital Group; Nathan Cummings Foundation; Ambata Capital; Boston Trust/Walden Asset Management; Amalgamated Bank; Moore Capital Management; Azzad Capital Management; Sustainability and Impact Investing Group of Rockefeller & Company; California Clean Energy Fund; California State Controller; Calvert Research and Management; Trillium Asset Management; Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility; Clean Yield Asset Management; Rhode Island State Treasurer; Zevin Asset Management; Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds.

STATES / GOVERNORS
California; Connecticut; Hawaii; New York; North Carolina; Oregon; Rhode Island; Virginia; Washington.

MAYORS  OF CITIES
The Honorables: Bill DeBlasio (New York City), Eric Garcetti (Los Angeles); Kasim Reed (Atlanta), Rahm Emanuel (Chicago),  Hillary Schieve (Reno, NV); Bridget Donnell Newton (Rockville MD).

ACADEMIC CENTERS
University of Iowa; University of Maryland, University College; University of Massachusetts; Arizona State University; Bates College; Oregon State University; Occidental College; Northwestern University; Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey; State University of New York (the colleges at Albany, New Paltz, Stony Brook, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Cortland, Oswego, Orange).

FAMILY FOUNDATIONS
Linton Family Foundation; Lora & Martin Kelley Foundation; Merck Family Fund.

ENTREPRENEURS/SMALL BUSINESS
Keller Estate Winery; The Junkluggers; Crystal Mountain Resort; Rune’s Furniture; Sara Danielle Designs; Eco Promotional Products; Say It Forward Productions; Mom’s Organic Market; Sons and Daughters Farm; Fetzer Vineyards; RC Flying Cameras LLC; Dallas Maids LLC; Rocca Family Vineyards; York Machine Works; Joe’s Tree Service.

PROFESSIONAL PRACTICES
Steve Harvey Law LLC; BCK Law PC; Christopher Intellectual Property Law PLLC; the Hvizda Team LLC/Keller Williams Realty Metro; Jim Henry, Architect; CTA Architects and Engineers; Cycle Architecture + Planning.

ASSOCIATIONS
National Ski Areas Foundation; National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association; Outdoor Industry Association; U.S. Green Building Council.

And Of Course the Usual Suspects – Pioneering Leaders in Sustainability:
Bloomberg LP; Ben & Jerry’s; Patagonia; Unilever…and more.

We have provided a brief overview here – please do check out the full roster at the WeAreStillIin.com.

And of course, Governance & Accountability Institute, Inc. was an early signatory!

And the latch handle is out:  we invite you to sign on for your organization!

 

 

 

 

 

Corporate Sustainability Disclosure – On the Rise But Does the Disclosure Address What Investors Seeking?

The good news is that more public company managements are involved in, and approving, broader disclosure on sustainability information.  There are widely-accepted frameworks in place to help boards and managements better understand the needs and desires of stakeholders — especially providers of capital (asset owners, managers, analysts) seeking meaningful data and accompanying narrative to explain the progress being made (or lack thereof) in ESG performance.

The most widely-embraced among these frameworks include the Global Reporting Initiative’s GRI Standards (previous version known as the GRI G4 — fourth generation); the CDP responses by companies (climate change, water, forestry, supply chain, and more); the RobecoSAM “Corporate Sustainability Assessment” (CSA) survey for consideration for inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index(es); and the more recent Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (SASB) materiality-focused guidelines for CFOs and CEOs to consider for inclusion in the 10-k and other regulated disclosures (and structured reporting).

So how are companies doing?  Michael Cohn, Editor-in-Chief, Accounting Today (.com) presented his views on corporate sustainability reporting in a commentary that is our Top Story for you today.  He observes:  “Sustainability information is increasingly a part of corporate reporting, but many companies are still relying on boilerplate language in their disclosures.”

His source is the review by SASB staff of the latest 10-k and 20-F corporate filings by the top companies in 79 industries (SASB has released its suggestions for sustainability-related disclosure that is sought by investors for each of the industries).  In the survey, SASB found 69 percent of companies are reporting on at least three-fourths of SASB’s suggested industry standard, with almost 40% disclosing on every SASB topic.(Note that companies in their 10-K filings may or may not directly reference the appropriate SASB standard.)

The most common form of disclosure?  SASB says…boilerplate language, used more than half the time that a SASB topic was addressed.

So the good news is that public companies are disclosing more about their sustainability efforts, their ESG performance, and the downsides are lack of specificity; lack of meaningful and comparable metrics; boilerplate language.

The most often reported element of “ESG” is the S (social/societal). In the continuing evolvement of more integrated reporting (financial and ESG, with SASB encouraging disclosure via the 10-k), “capital” beyond the financial (capital) was addressed by companies in some way.  These included social capital (data security, privacy), human capital (labor relations, health and safety), and environmental (natural).

A key element of SASB suggested reporting on the material aspects is innovation and more details of the business model for investors; this was addressed less frequently, said the SASB staff, in the reporting they analyzed.

Note that we are still anxiously awaiting the Securities & Exchange Commission moves on the Concept Release (for modernizing Reg S-K disclosure); two-thirds of respondents to the SEC invitation addressed sustainability-related concerns with 80% calling for improved sustainability disclosure in corporate filings with SEC.

There’s more details in the Accounting Today commentary (Top Story).

Here at G&A Institute we have a comprehensive research and analysis effort underway that will help corporate managements and boards better understand “what matters” to their peers, and to investors, in terms of sustainability disclosure.  We’ll be analyzing over 2000 global GRI sustainability reports looking at the materiality decisions of companies in various sectors around the world on many ESG issues, including an examination of issues tied to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  We’ll have more news on that effort in the weeks ahead.

Top Stories This Week…

Companies struggle to go beyond boilerplate in sustainability disclosures
(Friday – June 16, 2017)
Source: Accounting Today – Sustainability information is increasingly a part of corporate reporting, but many companies are still relying on boilerplate language in their disclosures, according to a recent report.

Resolved! The USA Will Move Forward Despite the Administration’s Cancellation of the Cop 21 -the Paris Accord

“Resolute!” – The root of the word comes down to us from the ancient Latin, meaning (over many centuries) to decide on and stay with a course of action.  We’re seeing that these days in the “resolve” of the US corporate community, in the resolute actions of many cities and municipalities, in the actions of a growing number of US states, and among institutional investors of all types, shapes and forms.

Their resolution?  To stay the course on addressing climate change issues as the Trump Administration swerves off the road and into the ditch with the abandonment of the COP 21 Paris Accord by the national government of the United States of America.

In our brief Top Story, we see comment highlights from an Environmental Leader conference, with experts Phil Pinson and Tim Porter.  The pair looked at White House actions and changes within US EPA and Department of Energy and observed that what actions and issues had in common now was “uncertainty” as to the future course of action.

What’s driving sustainability now without the official “push” of our national governmental infrastructure?  For companies: compliance; corporate mission; business performance; employee satisfaction; industry (peer) recognition…and this means (they said at the conference) companies are holding firm with 50% of those surveyed are showing no change in budgeting for sustainability.

At G&A Institute, we’re seeing many positive trends from 2016 and earlier holding fast even with speed bumps thrown up — like exiting the Paris Accord and being in the same category now as Syria and Nicaragua as national holdouts!

During 2016, G&A Institute Chair Hank Boerner assembled the trends that were driving Corporate Sustainability and Sustainable Investment forward — most are still powerful, positive drivers for change.  Trends Emerging! Looking Ahead of the Curve at ESG, Sustainability, CR, SRI Progressis available for you with our compliments — you can download your copy of Hank’s collected commentaries at:  http://bit.ly/TrendsConverging

Readers will continue to receive updates on the book’s content as conditions warrant — Hank shared his perspectives on the post-Paris environment with readers.

Send us your views on the post-Paris environment as the corporate, public, social and investment sectors continue to move forward.

Top Stories This Week…

Sustainability Will Endure Despite Trump’s Approach, Experts Say
(Monday – June 12, 2017)
Source: Environmental Leader – In the era of Trump, will the practice of sustainability remain a business priority? The answer is that 73% of companies expect their commitment to be the same while 21% plan to increase their involvement. Only 7.7% plan to…

82% of the S&P 500® Published a Sustainability Report in 2016 – Analysis Just Released on the Index Universe of Leading Companies

Everyone in the investing world and the corporate suite knows of the importance of the S&P 500 Index®; it’s the intellectual property of the S&P Dow Jones Indices unit of S&P Global and is the widely used benchmark by which asset managers track their performance (against the index performance).

Many investments are benchmarked to the index – almost a total of US$8 trillion, in fact.  The index is made up of 500 leading (large-cap) public companies and represents roughly 80% of the total market capitalization of these enterprises.   The index was launched 60 years ago (in March 1957).

Investopedia explains that the index covers the majority of the US economy and is considered by experts to be a highly reliable indicator of overall stock market performance. The index managers select corporate stocks to be in the index by a number of factors, according to liquidity, market size and industry category; and, the company included represents a proportion of the portfolio.  There are small changes year-to-year in the index as companies are selected in and dropped from inclusion.

The G&A Institute team in carefully tracking the increasing embrace of sustainability by US companies, and the reporting on the “sustainability journey” by these large-cap public companies began analyzing the S&P 500 companies’ disclosure and structured reporting on sustainability (and related terms, such as corporate responsibility, environmental update, corporate citizenship, and others).

Our first analysis was shared publicly in 2011, for the results of year 2010 company reporting.  We found that just about 20% or one-in-five of the S&P 500 universe was publishing a sustainability report in some form.  That became our baseline.  The 2012 reporting analysis revealed a dramatic increase — more than half of the companies were then reporting (the tally was 53%).

The number increased considerably in 2013 to 73% and then 75% the following year.  By 2015 the tally was 81% (eight of 10 companies in the index) and now we have year 2016 results — holding steady at 82%.  We share the news broadly in our Flash Report at the conclusion of the analysis — that’s our Top Story for you this week.

Our analysis includes identifying GICS sector reporting (financials, health care, energy, etc.), and the increase year-to-year where that occurs within a sector.

G&A’s EVP Louis Coppola has been the architect of the S&P 500 analysis, with the careful analytical work done by successive teams of outstanding intern-analysts over the years.  This year’s team includes Alvis Yuen, team leader who has worked on the annual analysis for several years now; and team members Amanda Hoster, Elizabeth Peterson, Juliet Russell, Alan Stautz, Yangshengjing “UB” Qiu, and Olivia (Sihui) Wang.  We thank these outstanding professionals for their dedication and hard work completing the analysis.

The investment community takes a close look at the G&A Institute research and each year reaches out to the non-reporters (a shrinking base, we’re happy to say) for engagement, and often, targets for filing shareholder resolutions to encourage the start of reporting on the corporate sustainability efforts. (In many cases for the holdouts, there are no such efforts underway — and so, no reports!)

You’ll find more details about the 2017 work (examining 2016 reporting results) in our Flash Report.  Do send us an email if you have questions about the exercise if you would like to have more information.

Read more at:

FLASH REPORT: 82% of the S&P 500 Companies Published Corporate Sustainability Reports in 2016
(Wednesday – May 31, 2017)
Source: Governance & Accountability Institute, Inc.  – In the sixth annual monitoring and analysis of S&P 500 Index® company sustainability reporting, just completed by the Governance & Accountability Institute research team, the findings are that eighty-two percent (82%) of the companies included in this important investment benchmark published a sustainability or corporate responsibility report in the year 2016.

The S&P Index is one of the most widely-followed barometers of the US economy, and conditions for large-cap public companies in the capital markets.

To put this in context, in charting prior years reporting, G&A found that:

  • in the year 2011, just under 20% of S&P 500 companies had reported on their sustainability, corporate social responsibility, ESG performance and related topics & issues;
  • in 2012, 53% (for the first time a majority) of S&P 500 companies were reporting;
  • by 2013, 72% were reporting — that is 7-out-of-10 of all companies in the popular benchmark;
  • in 2014, 75% of the S&P 500 were publishing reports;
  • in 2015, 81% of the total companies were reporting;
  • in 2016, 82% signals a steady embrace by large-cap companies of sustainability reporting.

Meet Donald Schepers, PhD – Associate Dean, Zicklin School of Business; Professor Of Management, Baruch College/CUNY @ #Intro2ESG Training

Presenting at Introduction to ESG, Sustainable & Impact Investment OneDay Training
The How & Why of Applying ESG to Corporate Valuations
Hosted by Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College/CUNY on June 15th

Introduction:  For professionals in the capital markets, and in the corporate sector, G&A Institute and Global Change Associates are teamed to present a one-day professional training program, hosted by Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College/CUNY, in midtown Manhattan.  This is an excellent introduction to the application of ESG factors to investment making decisions and corporate valuations.  Find out more at https://intro2esg.eventbrite.com

ESG = the corporate environmental, social or societal and corporate governance factors to be evaluated by the financial analyst, asset owner, asset manager, and others in the capital markets in looking beyond the financial in selecting public companies for “buy/sell/hold” portfolio management decisions. (This is also referred to as “sustainable investing,” “impact investing,” and similar titles by practitioners.)

The outstanding faculty presenting during the one-day course will include experts in ESG / sustainable / impact investing, covering topics such as best practices; data sources; analytical tools; research resources; methodologies; why ESG matters; and realized outcomes using these approaches to analysis and investment management.

MEET ONE OF YOUR COURSE LEADERS
Donald Schepers, PhD
Associate Dean, Zicklin School of Business; Professor Of Management, Baruch College / CUNY
TOPIC: Welcoming Remarks

 

* * * * * * * *
CAREER BACKGROUND: DONALD SCHEPERS, PHD

Donald H. Schepers is Associate Dean of the Zicklin School of Business and Professor of Management at Baruch College, City University of New York. Dr. Schepers teaches Social and Governmental Environment of Business, Corporate Governance, and Business Ethics to MBA and Executive MBA programs. Dr. Schepers also teaches Strategic Planning and Control in the Baruch/Mt. Sinai Healthcare Administration MBA program.

He is frequently called on for his expertise is:

  • corporate political campaign activity and disclosure;
  • corporate governance and codes of conduct;
  • socially responsible investing;
  • The impact of non-governmental organizations on business policy.

Professor Schepers has published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes; Business and Society Review; Business and Society; Journal of Business Ethics; Human Resource Management Review; Corporate Governance; and, Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management.  He has numerous cases and book chapters to his credit.

He is a member of the Society of Business Ethics; the Academy of Management; the Eastern Academy of Management; the International Society for Business, Economics and Ethics; and, the International Association of Business and Society.

Prior to receiving his PhD, he taught high school science and mathematics, and was President of the Marianist Retreat and Conference Center, a small non-profit conference center outside St. Louis, Missouri. He holds an MBA from Tulane University; a Masters of Divinity from St. Michael’s Faculty of Theology, University of Toronto; and, a Master’s of Science in Business Administration and a PhD in Business Administration from the University of Arizona.

For more information about the course and how to register, visit: https://intro2esg.eventbrite.com

Meet Louis Coppola, EVP & Co-Founder, Governance & Accountability Institute @ #Intro2ESG Training

Presenting at Introduction to ESG, Sustainable & Impact Investment OneDay Training
The How & Why of Applying ESG to Corporate Valuations
Hosted by Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College/CUNY on June 15th

Introduction:  For professionals in the capital markets, and in the corporate sector, G&A Institute and Global Change Associates are teamed to present a one-day professional training program, hosted by Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College/CUNY, in midtown Manhattan.  This is an excellent introduction to the application of ESG factors to investment making decisions and corporate valuations.  Find out more at https://intro2esg.eventbrite.com

ESG = the corporate environmental, social or societal and corporate governance factors to be evaluated by the financial analyst, asset owner, asset manager, and others in the capital markets in looking beyond the financial in selecting public companies for “buy/sell/hold” portfolio management decisions. (This is also referred to as “sustainable investing,” “impact investing,” and similar titles by practitioners.)

The outstanding faculty presenting during the one-day course will include experts in ESG / sustainable / impact investing, covering topics such as best practices; data sources; analytical tools; research resources; methodologies; why ESG matters; and realized outcomes using these approaches to analysis and investment management.

MEET ONE OF YOUR COURSE LEADERS
Louis Coppola
Executive Vice President & Co-Founder, Governance & Accountability Institute, Inc. Topic:  Bridging the Perceived Gap Between Sustainability & Profitability:
Materiality, Risk Management & How Top and Bottom Lines Are Affected

* * * * * * * *
CAREER BACKGROUND: LOUIS COPPOLA
Louis Coppola is EVP and a co-founder of Governance & Accountability Institute, a New York based sustainability consulting, research and advisory firm. He also serves on the Board of Directors for The Global Sourcing Council, a global non-profit focused on educating and inspiring sustainability in sourcing and supply chains.

Louis focuses particularly on providing advice to corporate and investor clients related to sustainability strategy, disclosure (reporting), investment and performance.

G&A Institute is the exclusive Data Partner for GRI for the United States, United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.  Lou directs the Institute’s relationship with GRI including the activities around the Data Partner relationship, “Organizational Stakeholder” (OS) relationship, and several joint research publications.

Lou is a co-chair of the Social Investment Forum’s (SIF) – Sustainable Investment Research Analyst Network’s (SIRAN) Sustainable Education and Company Engagement (SECE) committee.  He is also an active New York Society of Securities Analyst (NYSSA), Sustainable Investing Committee steering member.

Lou is frequently called on by the media, academics, and industry to contribute to articles, speak on panels, and present his ideas on ESG & Sustainability related topics.  He also coordinates the Institute’s various public research projects such as “Sustainability – What Matters?“, and studies of sustainability reporting external assurance practices in collaboration with GRI, Bloomberg, and the big four accounting firms.

Louis contributed to the US section of “Carrots & Sticks III“, a collaborative publication with GRI, KPMG, UNEP, Centre for Corporate Governance in Africa and various other stakeholders.  The report analyzed the growing number of sustainability reporting policies and guidance from countries around the world.

Louis is an adjunct professor at the Bard M.B.A in Sustainability NYC campus teaching courses on business pragmatics of sustainability focusing on disclosure standards and analysis of sustainability reports.

Louis is expert at translating concepts related to current and emerging technology to readily accessible tools and resources. He plays the lead role in the research, recommendation and deployment of all technology including interactive Web platforms, content management systems, e-distribution, automated intelligence gathering, and other solutions to meet the “command and control” needs at G&A Institute.

Prior to forming the Institute, Louis Coppola worked as an Account Executive – Information Technology for Rowan & Blewitt, a global crisis management and issues management consulting firm that was under the corporate umbrella of Interpublic Group (NYSE:IPG).  The firm’s clients were Fortune 100 and multinational companies. Louis was responsible for managing the technological implementation of the crisis and issues management strategies for Rowan & Blewitt.

Louis Coppola was graduated with Honors from Molloy College with a Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA). In recognition of high scholastic achievement, he was selected for membership in Sigma Beta Delta, an international honor society in Business, Management, and Administration. He received his undergraduate B.S. with Major in Computer Information Systems and Minor in Computer Science.   Lou has qualified and is an active member of Mensa.

For more information about the course and how to register, visit: https://intro2esg.eventbrite.com

Meet Peter Fusaro – Chairman – Global Change Associates @ #Intro2ESG Training

Presenting at Introduction to ESG, Sustainable & Impact Investment OneDay Training
The How & Why of Applying ESG to Corporate Valuations
Hosted by Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College/CUNY on June 15th

Introduction:  For professionals in the capital markets, and in the corporate sector, G&A Institute and Global Change Associates are teamed to present a one-day professional training program, hosted by Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College/CUNY, in midtown Manhattan.  This is an excellent introduction to the application of ESG factors to investment making decisions and corporate valuations.  Find out more at https://intro2esg.eventbrite.com

ESG = the corporate environmental, social or societal and corporate governance factors to be evaluated by the financial analyst, asset owner, asset manager, and others in the capital markets in looking beyond the financial in selecting public companies for “buy/sell/hold” portfolio management decisions. (This is also referred to as “sustainable investing,” “impact investing,” and similar titles by practitioners.)

The outstanding faculty presenting during the one-day course will include experts in ESG / sustainable / impact investing, covering topics such as best practices; data sources; analytical tools; research resources; methodologies; why ESG matters; and realized outcomes using these approaches to analysis and investment management.

MEET ONE OF YOUR COURSE LEADERS
Peter Fusaro
Chairman, Global Change Associates
Topic:  Case Study of Corporate Malfeasance: The VW Emissions Scandal

A conversation with Peter:

Q: How is your day-to-day work related to the Intro to ESG, Sustainable & Impact Investment Certificate Program to be presented at Baruch?
[PF]  I work broadly in the area of corporate finance for sustainability for private companies in the area of clean energy, clean water and sustainable agriculture. Most of my work centers in clean energy arena for both electric power generation and transportation. 

Today, I work on solar energy finance as well as energy storage with advanced batteries and fuel cells. I work with a  hydrogen manufacturing company for both energy storage and transportation of fuel cell vehicles. In the past I have worked on taking the lead out of gasoline with the US EPA and was a consultant to the Toyota Prius development team. 

Because of this expertise, I am intimately aware of the VW emissions scandal and its ramifications in terms of corporate governance for that company.

Q:  What can attendees expect to learn from your session?
[PF] Course participants will learn that the VW emissions scandal is not a one-off crisis event. That Volkswagen has committed many transgressions in the past 25 years and tried to cover them up. I will go through the specifics of how they tried to get away with the fraudulent use of software to hide defects in their diesel fuel technology of their engines.  So far, this has lead to over US$15 billion in fines and great damage to their corporate reputation. It is a text book example of corporate malfeasance.

Q:  What advice do you have or opportunity that you see for attendees who complete the Certificate Program?
[PF] Attendees will learn not only the basics of ESG but also come away with some ideas on what to look for investment in public companies. The rigorous ESG screens are still evolving but with the expertise of the instructors for this program, course participants will learn what analysis is needed to vet both investment and sustainability parameters within companies. Moreover, they will learn what red flags to look for in any due diligence process.

* * * * * * * *

CAREER BACKGROUND: PETER FUSARO
Peter C. Fusaro is a best-selling author, keynote speaker and thought leader on emerging energy and environmental financial markets.  He’s Chairman of Global Change Associates, a financial services advisory in New York City, and author of “What Went Wrong at Enron,” as well as 15 other books on energy and the environmental financial markets.

Peter has been on the forefront of energy and environmental change for more than 40 years, his work focusing on how to use energy more efficiently and in an environmentally-benign manner.  His current focus is on environmental financial market acceleration toward the goal of the low-carbon economy through sustainable finance in renewable energy, clean technology and resource efficiency.  Peter founded and runs the Wall Street Green Summit — now in its 15th year. Information at: www.wsgts.com.

Peter served at the US Department of Energy in the 1970s where he worked on removing lead in gasoline with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as co-writing an Environmental Impact Statement on LNG (liquefied natural gas) safety and siting.

He was a senior policy analyst in the New York City Mayor Office of Energy & Telecommunications, where he created the first energy efficiency programs for electricity and natural gas with Con Edison (the electric utility) and Brooklyn Union Gas in the mid-1980s.   In the early-1990s he established his consultancy and implemented energy efficiency and conservation programs for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, including lighting retrofits, mechanical systems and energy savings.

Peter worked with the Toyota Prius development team on electric power issues in the mid 1990s. He has run a cleantech venture capital fund as well as worked with hedge funds on portfolio construction. Today, he works with several clean energy technologies and fund managers in clean energy project finance.

Peter was graduated with an M.A. in International Relations from Tufts University and a B.A. from Carnegie-Mellon University.  Peter was an adjunct professor at Columbia University, where he taught a popular renewable energy project development and finance course each fall semester to second year graduate students.  He is on the advisory board of Bard College’s MBA in Sustainability program as well as having served for eight years on the External Advisory Board of the ERB Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.

For more information about the course and how to register, visit: https://intro2esg.eventbrite.com

Meet Eric Kane – Health Care Sector Analyst, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) @ #Intro2ESG Training

Presenting at Introduction to ESG, Sustainable & Impact Investment OneDay Training
The How & Why of Applying ESG to Corporate Valuations
Hosted by Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College/CUNY on June 15th

Introduction:  For professionals in the capital markets, and in the corporate sector, G&A Institute and Global Change Associates are teamed to present a one-day professional training program, hosted by Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College/CUNY, in midtown Manhattan.  This is an excellent introduction to the application of ESG factors to investment making decisions and corporate valuations.  Find out more at https://intro2esg.eventbrite.com

ESG = the corporate environmental, social or societal and corporate governance factors to be evaluated by the financial analyst, asset owner, asset manager, and others in the capital markets in looking beyond the financial in selecting public companies for “buy/sell/hold” portfolio management decisions. (This is also referred to as “sustainable investing,” “impact investing,” and similar titles by practitioners.)

The outstanding faculty presenting during the one-day course will include experts in ESG / sustainable / impact investing, covering topics such as best practices; data sources; analytical tools; research resources; methodologies; why ESG matters; and realized outcomes using these approaches to analysis and investment management.

MEET ONE OF YOUR COURSE LEADERS
Eric Kane
Health Care Sector Analyst,
Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)
TOPIC:  About SASB & More Effective 10-K Disclosure

A conversation with Eric:

Q. How is your day to day work related to the Intro to ESG Certificate Program?
[EK]  As the Health Care Sector Analyst at SASB, I work to identify material sustainability issues and to provide evidence of financial impact and standardized methods of accounting. This work ultimately helps to inform how and why sustainability factors are integrated into corporate valuations. 

Q. What can attendees expect to learn from your session?
[EK]  Attendees will learn about SASB’s standards setting process, and how the organization is working to enhance corporate disclosure on material sustainability issues.

Q. What advice do you have or opportunity that you see for attendees who complete the Certificate Program?
[EK] There is a tremendous amount of growth around sustainable investing.  By learning what organizations and strategies are leading this aspect of the market, attendees will be well positioned to participate and excel in the field.

* * * * * * * *

CAREER BACKGROUND: ERIC KANE
Eric re-joined SASB in July, 2016 as the Health Care Sector Analyst. Prior to his work at SASB, Eric served as a Senior Consultant at Context. In that role, he advised numerous Fortune 500(r) companies on sustainability strategy and reporting.

Eric was also a Senior Analyst at Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, where he managed a global team of analysts that rated utility companies on the basis of environmental, social, and governance performance. While at Innovest, Eric served as the Lead Author of the Carbon Disclosure Project Report 2007: Global FT500.

The Report, which was written on behalf of 315 institutional investors with combined assets of US$41 trillion, analyzed how the world’s 500 largest companies were responding to the risks and opportunities associated with climate change.

Eric holds a Master of Public Administration from NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a degree in political science from Bates College.

For more information about the course and how to register, visit: https://intro2esg.eventbrite.com

Meet Kate Starr, CFA, CIO, Flat World Partners @ #Intro2ESG Training

Presenting at Introduction to ESG, Sustainable & Impact Investment OneDay Training
The How & Why of Applying ESG to Corporate Valuations
Hosted by Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College/CUNY on June 15th

Introduction:  For professionals in the capital markets, and in the corporate sector, G&A Institute and Global Change Associates are teamed to present a one-day professional training program, hosted by Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College/CUNY, in midtown Manhattan.  This is an excellent introduction to the application of ESG factors to investment making decisions and corporate valuations.  Find out more at https://intro2esg.eventbrite.com

ESG = the corporate environmental, social or societal and corporate governance factors to be evaluated by the financial analyst, asset owner, asset manager, and others in the capital markets in looking beyond the financial in selecting public companies for “buy/sell/hold” portfolio management decisions. (This is also referred to as “sustainable investing,” “impact investing,” and similar titles by practitioners.)

The outstanding faculty presenting during the one-day course will include experts in ESG / sustainable / impact investing, covering topics such as best practices; data sources; analytical tools; research resources; methodologies; why ESG matters; and realized outcomes using these approaches to analysis and investment management.

MEET ONE OF YOUR COURSE LEADERS
Kate Starr, CFA
Chief Investment Officer, Flat World Partners
TOPIC: What Investors Need to Know About the Rising Importance of Impact Investing

A conversation with Kate:

Q:   How is your day-to-day work related to the Intro to ESG, Sustainable & Impact Investment Certificate Program to be presented at Baruch?
[KS] Here at Flat World Partners, we help family offices, foundations, pension funds, and wealth advisors build customized investment portfolios that drive positive environmental and social impact.  We look at everything from direct investments in early-stage companies to public equity and fixed income and think about how ESG works across asset classes.

Q:  What can attendees expect to learn from your session?
[KS] I’ll be focusing on “impact investing” — what it means and where it fits into an overall portfolio from both an investment and a client service perspective.  We’ll talk about the issue of impact measurement and how to think about simple, effective ways to do it. Last, we’ll discuss some of the most interesting themes and strategies that we’re seeing in the market right now.

Q:  What advice do you have or opportunity that you see for attendees who complete the Certificate Program?
[KS] Our entire business is focused on impact, or sustainable investing, because we believe that it represents the future of investing.  Clients have already woken up to the fact that finance and investment plays a big role in shaping the world around them. 

Finance and investment teams who can recognize that demand and lead their clients to a better future will be the ones to be sustainable over the long-term.

* * * * * * * *

CAREER BACKGROUND: KATE STARR
Kate leads investment strategy and portfolio development at Flat World Partners. In her prior role at the Heron Foundation, Kate formed and led the team that invests Heron’s approximately US$300 million portfolio for impact. Working with the board and staff, Kate developed the investment policy statement and implementation plan to move the foundation to invest 100% of its assets for mission.

Kate started her career as an economics and equities analyst at First Asset Management and moved into research on microfinance in Tanzania.  She is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), co-leading the Sustainability Committee at the New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA),.  She serves on the investment committee of the Christopher Reynolds Foundation; and, serves as an advisor to the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the Mission Investors Exchange.

She was graduated from Indiana University with an Honors degree in English and Italian, and earned a Master’s degree in International Relations from Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies.

For more information about the course and how to register, visit: https://intro2esg.eventbrite.com

Meet Hideki Suzuki, Senior ESG Analyst, Bloomberg LP @ #Intro2ESG Training

Presenting at Introduction to ESG, Sustainable & Impact Investment OneDay Training
The How & Why of Applying ESG to Corporate Valuations
Hosted by Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College/CUNY on June 15th

Introduction:  For professionals in the capital markets, and in the corporate sector, G&A Institute and Global Change Associates are teamed to present a one-day professional training program, hosted by Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College/CUNY, in midtown Manhattan.  This is an excellent introduction to the application of ESG factors to investment making decisions and corporate valuations.  Find out more at https://intro2esg.eventbrite.com

ESG = the corporate environmental, social or societal and corporate governance factors to be evaluated by the financial analyst, asset owner, asset manager, and others in the capital markets in looking beyond the financial in selecting public companies for “buy/sell/hold” portfolio management decisions. (This is also referred to as “sustainable investing,” “impact investing,” and similar titles by practitioners.)

The outstanding faculty presenting during the one-day course will include experts in ESG / sustainable / impact investing, covering topics such as best practices; data sources; analytical tools; research resources; methodologies; why ESG matters; and realized outcomes using these approaches to analysis and investment management.

MEET ONE OF YOUR COURSE LEADERS
Hideki Suzuki
Senior ESG Analyst, Bloomberg LP
TOPIC:  ESG Equity Fundamentals Data Analytics

A conversation with Hideki:

Q:  How is your day-to-day work related to the Intro to ESG, Sustainable & Impact Investment Certificate Program to be presented at Baruch?
[HS] 
My day-to-day is to manage ESG data products on Bloomberg – both on and off terminal. We extract and ingest listed company & debt issuer ESG data into our system and make sure they speak with our analytics correctly.

Q:  What can attendees expect to learn from your session?
[HS] ESG information is easy to digest when a company/issuer gives you fiscal period environmental and social data  that give analysts company operational insights – by that we mean operational risks & opportunities into how companies manage things like resource consumption and human capital issues.

As for governance, how well is this company being managed?

This is a qualitative question every analyst is trying to answer by looking at company structure and listening into CEO/CFO’s presentations. Quantitative data on board of directors and executive  statistics – ex) company executive pay practice, can give you clues on how company rewards executives for taking risks etc.

Participants will learn “how you can navigate a widening variety of datasets available on the Bloomberg terminal to find best-in-class issuers.”

What advice do you have or opportunity that you see for attendees who complete the Certificate Program?
[HS] Data is still challenging at times in this space but challenge is an opportunity for investors – opportunity to manage beta, generate alpha and an engagement opportunity with the public company. If you are a consultant or in other service provider space, this is your business opportunity to help companies/investment firms respond to ESG questions and help them tell their ESG stories well.

* * * * * * * *

CAREER BACKGROUND: HIDEKI SUZUKI
Hideki is a senior corporate governance analyst and also a team lead for ESG data team at Bloomberg.

After joining Bloomberg LP in 1999, he spent the first five years in electronic trading desk support and 3rd party fixed-income and the derivatives pricing contents team.

In 2005, Hideki moved to the equity fundamentals data department, and then moved to the ESG team in December 2008. From 2014 on, his focus has been to build database and analytics for corporate governance and executive compensation products on the Bloomberg terminal.

Since 2016, he is a team lead for the ESG data analyst team at Bloomberg.

He has a B.A. in Economics and History from Fordham University.

For more information about the course and how to register, visit: https://intro2esg.eventbrite.com