Doing the Right Things in Business — Making the Business Case – Making the Financial Case — Also Incorporating the Moral Case?

It’s an age-old topic of discussion:  Where in American business do the issues of morality, ethical behaviors, and “fair and equitable” fit in?  Andrew Winston, author of the best-selling “Green to Gold,” explores the topic (“morality”) in an essay on Sustainable Brands’ “New Metrics” web platform.

Morality:  moralizing; degree of conforming to moral principles.  So — in exploring the subject of morality in business, Andrew Winston thinks managers should crank the “moral” arguments into making-the-business case-for-corporate-sustainability discussions.  Making-the-financial-case (“investors want to know…”) is occurring more frequently now with many more mainstream investors focused on the firm’s ESG performance and the sustainability journey of especially large-cap enterprises.

“This is the right thing to do…” may be the persuasive argument in making the business case to decision-makers.  The moral positions of companies and their leaders are facing greater scrutiny now, says Winston.  Will companies defend LGBT rights — or protect immigrant employees?  Will they publicly argue for greater attention and action on climate change issues?  (It’s the right thing to do, many of you, dear readers, will agree.)

In our Top Story, author Andrew Winston sets out four “buckets” of arguments as to how the initiatives companies pursue create value — and three “mainstream” arguments (have some element of making-the-business-case, such as “short-term financial wins”).  The fourth argument — improve the shared commons –  and is it time to broaden how we talk about sustainability and bring in a moral dimension.

The traditional business case is still critical – but broadening the arguments in making the sustainability business case has Winston wondering if a combined logic or “good for business” and “good for the soul” will work.  He welcomes your thoughts after reading the essay.

Governance & Accountability Institute, Inc. is now in the 10th year of operations.  When we founded G&A back in 2007, we adopted the tagline:  Helping our clients do the right things for the right reasons.  That’s guided us to 2017 and benefited many of our corporate clients and our partners-in-progress.

Is it Time to Add Morality to the Business Case for Sustainability?
(Monday - February 06, 2017)
Source: Sustainable Brands - Every manager (or consultant) who has pitched an initiative under the banner of “sustainability” has faced the same question nearly every time: What’s the business case?

The Best Intentions of C-Suite On Corporate Sustainability — Results in Are In With Sharing of Bain & Co Survey

This is not encouraging: the respected management consulting company Bain & Company surveyed the leaders of 300 companies engaged in “sustainability transformation” and conducted interviews with heads of sustainability recognized for outstanding results.

The question: What are the results of instituting sustainability as a top priority? The answer: Alas, not really encouraging for stakeholders, says Bain & Company. There’s an important “but” here with tips for CEOs and C-suite on how to overcome the odds of losing forward momentum in corporate sustainability efforts.

The management consulting firm published the results of its research in: “Achieving Breakthrough Results in Sustainability.” This effort found that for the 300 companies, only two percent (2%) of their corporate sustainability programs achieved or exceeded their aims when compared to the companies’ other transformation programs (which had a 12% success rate). There are “change traps” that keep companies from reaching their goals.

Key quote: “Too often, sustainability gets stuck in first gear, while the need for change is accelerating,” said Jenny Davis-Peccoud, who leads Bain’s Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility practice. “Once companies learn to navigate common roadblocks, they open the door to a transformational journey and the potential to leave a legacy,prompting companies to redefine what it means to be a leader in their industry.”

We see this in our analysis of corporate sustainability reporting as the Global Reporting Initiative data partners for the United States, United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. The corporate leaders in sustainability have made “the journey” an integral part of strategy-setting, operations, marketing, employee motivation, stakeholder (including investor) engagement, and incentivizing internal behaviors. The “leaders” and “laggards” in sectors and industry categories self-identify through their reporting on achieved progress (and stalled progress is also apparent).

For 2016 our analysts reviewed more than 1,500 corporate sustainability / responsibility / environmental progress / citizenship reports published by companies and databased key characteristics, data sets, achievements, and more. This intelligence is leveraged in our client services, shared research and teaching programs.

One of the issues Bain found in its survey effort and conversations with managers is that the rank and file employees do not see sustainability as a business imperative — even though those at the top of the organization understand that enhancing the firm’s “public reputation” is a key driver for sustainability change. Two important factors emerged from the Bain effort: Less than 1/4 of the firms surveyed said employees were held accountable for sustainability through incentives; and, there was a lack of resources as well as competing priorities to deal with.

G&A Institute analysts look for the winning characteristics that overcome these obstacles in their report analysis. G&A has designed a series of tools and services to help companies engage more effectively with their employees on sustainability goals and initiatives that is proving to be very successful among our clients. Please let us know if you’d like to set up a call to discuss how we can help your company.

Among the four tips for CEOs and corporate leadership from Bain: “Highlight the Business Case.” (Helping to make the case: for brand marketers, those with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability grew four times faster than their peers in 2015, according to the Nielsen Global Corporate Responsibility Report.)

There’s more in the Top Story this week, along with information on requesting a copy of the report from Bain & Company. Inc.

Corner Office Sustainability Passions Get Trapped at the Top: Why 98 Percent of Companies Do Not Achieve Their Sustainability Goals
(Wednesday – January 25, 2017)
Source: CSRWire - A new report from investment leader and management consultants Bain & Company — “Achieving Breakthrough Results in Sustainability” — finds that only 2 percent of corporate sustainability programs achieve or exceed their aims, compared to 12 percent of other corporate…

The 100 Most Sustainable Global Companies According to Corporate Knight Analysis

Every year the Canadian-headquartered firm Corporate Knights (publishing, research) ranks “the world’s most sustainable companies,” from a universe of 4,000 global enterprises with market cap of at least US$2 billion each. The research team applies 14 metrics in its analysis of “corporate sustainability” to evaluate the management and governance of the sustainability journey.

This year’s list was unveiled at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos.  Among the top 100 “most sustainable companies” are firms headquartered in the USA, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, France, the United Kingdom, Finland, Brazil, and other nations.  The firm ranked #1 by Corporate Knights is Siemens (Germany’s giant industrial manufacturer); #2 is Storebrand ASA (Sweden-insurance); and #3, Cisco – IT leader — USA.  In the Top 10 rankings, there are two US firms (Cisco and Johnson & Johnson); in the next 10 rankings, there is one (McCormick & Co); and in the next 10 (#20 to #30) there is one – Allergan (healthcare).  Overall, the USA had the most companies in the rankings: 19.

Among the key metrics for this important Global 100 ranking by Corporate Knights:  the level of executive compensation.  The ratio of CEO pay to average worker is considered.  This is interesting to note going forward; in 2017 under Dodd-Frank rules (unless the rule is rescinded in some way) American companies will have to start publishing the ratio of CEO pay comparisons to the median worker. The Glassdoor web site in August 2015 stated that this ratio is 204 times (CEO to median pay).  That ratio will be reported by US public companies beginning this year.

The Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies list and background information is in our Top Story this week by Forbes staffer Jeff Kauflin, who writes on management and leadership.  He’s written for Fast Company and Business Insider in the past.

There is more information at Corporate Knights (“the Magazine for Clean Capitalism”).

Read the Januray 17, 2017 Forbes article: The World’s Most Sustainable Companies 2017

The NYT Brings Us Encouraging News in the Swelter of Negative Reports as Sustainability Advocates Consider Possible Changes of Course in the New Year for U.S. Federal Government Policies

Leading Business readership publication focuses attention on the dramatic rise of ESG factors in investing over the past five years in wrap up story…

If you have not yet seen the story by Randall J. Smith that appeared in The New York Times Business Section on December 14th, we urge you to read it now, and to share it with your colleagues. Especially those occupants of the C-suite, board room, investor relations office — this will help to make the important case for ESG / sustainable investing. It’s our Top Story this week and the headline puts things in focus: investors are sharpening their focus on “S” and “E” risks to stocks.

This is a front page, Business Section [Deal Book] wrap-up feature that shares news, commentary and important developments at such organizations as MSCI, Vanguard, TIAA-CREF, Goldman Sachs, Perella Weinberg Partners, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, US SIF, Heron Foundation, Parnassus and other leaders in sustainable investing.

“Investing based on ESG factors has mushroomed in recent years,” author Randall Smith explains, “driven in part by big pension funds and European money managers, trying new ways to evaluate potential investments.”  The article helps those not yet familiar with sustainable investing to understand the increasing momentum in “sustainable” or “ESG” or “sustainable, responsible & impact” investing.

The organization MSCI is in sharp focus in the piece, with Linda-Eling Lee (the firm’s able head of global research) interviewed on the company’s approach to ESG research, ratings, equities indexes, and related work.  At MSCI, the assets managed using ESG approaches is now at $8 billion-plus — that’s triple the 2010 level.  ESG-related risks and opportunities are being closely evaluated as MSCI looks at publicly-traded companies, and as explained by the MSCI head of global research, 6,500 companies are followed by 150 analysts working in 14 global offices.

The recent US SIF survey results are heralded — $8.1 trillion in professionally-managed AUM assets in the U.S.A. are determined using ESG factors in analysis and portfolio management (the big driver is client demand).  The TIAA-CREF Social Choice Equity Fund is at $2.3 billion in assets under management — doubling in the past five years.  MSCI’s ESG indexes are at $3 billion — tripling over the past three years.  Vanguard’s social index fund is at $2.4 billion — quadrupling since 2011.  There’s a new CalSTRS low-carbon portfolio (using an MSCI index) set at $2.5 billion.

This article in the Business Section of a leading American daily newspaper provides an encouraging — and very timely! — look at the momentum that’s been building the capital markets signaling mainstream capital markets uptake and dramatic growth in adoption of ESG strategies and approaches for asset owners and asset managers.

As we suggest, it is a wonderful wrap-up of top-line developments in sustainable investing that also underscores the importance of corporate sustainability to individual institutional investors — and should help to make the investing and business cases for top management.

This news article is of course timely as corporate sustainability and sustainable investing professionals consider the potential changes on the horizon with a new administration and the new congress coming to town with a very different agenda – at least what has been publicly proclaimed to date.  There is clearly momentum in the capital markets for consideration of corporate ESG factors as investment dollars are being allocated.  This is good news heading into 2017 and the probable headwinds sustainability professionals will encounter.

Investors Sharpen Focus on Social and Environmental Risks to Stocks
(December 14, 2016)
Source: New York Times - Investing based on so-called E.S.G. factors has mushroomed in recent years, driven in part by big pension funds and European money managers that are trying new ways to evaluate potential investments. The idea has changed over the last three decades from managers’ simple exclusion from their portfolios of “sin stocks” such as tobacco, alcohol and firearms makers to incorporation of E.S.G. analysis into their stock and bond picks.

For Finance / Investing Professionals: “ESG” IN FOCUS IN ALL-DAY WORKSHOP Hosted At Baruch College/CUNY – NYC

The interest in sustainable investing continues to rise in the mainstream investment community.  Numerous data & analytics providers, ratings & rankings organizations, and other influentials are busily shaping new approaches in and for the mainstream investment community. Corporate “ESG” factors are an important addition to the ubiquitous Bloomberg terminals, as example (i.e. the ESG Dashboard).  Mainstream asset managers — notably BlackRock, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, State Street, and others — are putting sustainable investment approaches in place and launching new products for clients that are demanding “investable” vehicles for “doing well and doing good” with their assets.

As an investment professional, are you up to speed on these developments?  Need to “be more in the know” about sustainable investing?  Here’s a suggestion:  plan to attend an all-day workshop hosted at the Newman Vertical Campus of Baruch College/CUNY and presented by Governance & Accountability Institute and Global Change Associates (GCA). Participants will receive a Certificate of Completion from G&A Institute and GCA.

Mark the Date:  Wednesday, December 14, 2016
The course begins at 8 a.m. and features a full day of lectures from leaders in the field of sustainable investing and corporate sustainability. A networking lunch is included. The topics to be covered include:

  • What is Corporate ESG & Why It Really Matters to Shareowners;
  • ESG Analysis, Rating & Research;
  • What Investors Need to Know about the Rising Importance of Impact Investing;
  • The Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (SASB);
  • Case Study of Corporate Malfeasance — the VW Case;
  • ESG Equity Fundamental – Data Analytics;
  • About the Baruch CSR-Sustainability Monitor Project; 
  • and, Looking Beyond Corporate Sustainability & Financial Performance.

Presenters include:  Samuel Block, MSCI; Kate Starr, Flat World Partners; Eric Kane, SASB (Healthcare); Hideki Suzuki, Bloomberg LP; Mert Demir, PhD, Weissman Center at Baruch College.  And, there’ll be presentations by the principal organizers: Peter Fusaro of Global Change Associates; and, Hank Boerner, Chairman, and Louis D. Coppola, EVP (and co-founders) of G&A Institute.

We look forward to seeing you there, at Baruch College in December! 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER for the workshop & for more information on the course offering.

New Training Announcement: Introduction to Corporate Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) for Investment & Finance Professionals Certification

- The Why and How of Applying ESG to Corporate Valuations

New York, NY (November 3, 2016) –  In response to the growing demand for sustainable investing education from asset owners, asset managers, financial analysts and other financial professionals we are pleased to announce a one-day certificate program entitled, “Introduction to Corporate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) for Investment and Finance Professionals.” The program is organized by Governance & Accountability Institute (G&A) in collaboration with Global Change Associates (GCA) and hosted by the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College/CUNY.

The first all-day certification program will be presented on Thursday, December 14, 2016. The program is being hosted at Baruch College’s Newman Vertical Campus (55 Lexington Avenue) in midtown Manhattan.  The course will begin at 8 a.m. with registration and continental breakfast, leading into a full day of lectures from leaders in the sustainable investing field.  A networking lunch is included.  Participants will receive a certificate of completion from G&A and GCA at the 5 p.m. close of the seminar.

AGENDA

Arrival, Registration & Continental Breakfast

What is Corporate ESG and Why It Really Matters to Shareowners
Hank Boerner, Chairman & Co-Founder, Governance & Accountability Institute

Bridging the Perceived Gap Between Corporate Sustainability & Corporate Profitability: Materiality, Risk Management and How Top and Bottom Lines Are Affected
Louis Coppola, EVP & Co-Founder, Governance & Accountability Institute

Coffee Break and Networking

ESG Analysis, Rating, and Research
Samuel Block, Research Analyst – Investment ESG Risk, MSCI

What Investors Need to Know About the Rising Importance of Impact Investing
Kate Starr (Invited), Founder & CIO, Flat World Partners; formerly Vice President-Capital Deployment, Heron Foundation

Networking Lunch

SASB 101: About the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and More Effective 10-k Disclosure
Eric Kane, Sector Analyst – Health Care, SASB

Case Study of Corporate Malfeasance:  The VW Emissions Scandal
Peter Fusaro, Chairman, Global Change Associates

Break

ESG Equity Fundamentals Data Analytics
Hideki Suzuki, ESG Group, Equity Fundamentals Department, Bloomberg LP

About the Baruch CSR-Sustainability Monitor Project
Mert Demir, Ph.D. in Finance, Senior Research Associate, Weismann Center for International Business at Baruch College

Looking Beyond Corporate Sustainability & Financial Performance
Louis Coppola, EVP & Co-Founder, Governance & Accountability Institute
Peter Fusaro, Chairman, Global Change Associates
Lecturers include leading experts in the sustainable investing field and the participants will come away with an understanding of why ESG matters, and how to apply ESG to corporate valuations, reputation, risk, opportunity and other aspects of financial analysis.

For information and to register click the link below: 
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/intro-to-corporate-esg-for-investment-finance-professionals-certification-tickets-29052781652

About Baruch College (http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/)
Baruch College is a senior college in the City University of New York (CUNY) with a total enrollment of more than 18,000 students, who represent 164 countries and speak more than 129 languages. Ranked among the top 15% of U.S. colleges and the No. 5 public regional university, Baruch College is regularly recognized as among the most ethnically diverse colleges in the country. As a public institution with a tradition of academic excellence, Baruch College offers accessibility and opportunity for students from every corner of New York City and from around the world.

About Governance & Accountability Institute, Inc. (www.ga-institute.com)
Governance & Accountability Institute is a New York City-based sustainability research, consulting and educational services company working with corporate sector and investment community clients. Typical engagements include preparation of sustainability, CSR and citizenship reports; peer benchmarking on ESG issues and reporting; customized ESG research (environmental, social and governance performance); strategic materiality analysis; sustainable investor relations; corporate communications around sustainability; and assistance with stakeholder engagements. The company is the exclusive Data Partner for the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) for the USA, UK and the Republic of Ireland.


About Global Change Associates (www.global-change.com)
Peter C. Fusaro founded Global Change Associates, Inc. in 1991 to focus on the convergence of energy and environmental financial markets. His insights have earned him the international status of “thought leader” in these markets. His advice to client companies who require expert guidance to navigate their way through the multiple impacts of clean energy, natural gas and water technologies has proven invaluable to them. The focus of GCA today is to assist in raising funds for clean energy funds as a Registered Representative and to assist in the commercialization of new energy technologies. Peter holds the highly successful Wall Street Green Summit (www.wsgts.com) now in its 16th year and held in New York City each spring.

Lots of Important Sustainability Events & Training To Tell You About!

Today we call your attention to a number of events and training initiatives that may be of interest if you are:

  1. A corporate manager with responsibilities in the areas of [corporate] citizenship, sustainability, ESG, responsibility, and related areas, or
  2. Working in the capital markets and want to learn more about these topics, or
  3. Working in another field and would like to join a company or investor organization focused on sustainability and sustainable investing…

An important part of the G&A Institute mission since our founding a decade ago is to help educate, inform and share critical information related to the above topics and positions.  As an example we work closely with Skytop Strategies on many events such as the ESG Summit, 21st Century Company, and Future of Corporate Reporting that educate and inform on these subjects.  We’d like to tell you about a few of our most recent initiatives in these areas.

Introduction to the Importance of Corporate ESG for Investment & Finance Professionals at Baruch College 
Watch for announcements soon about a new program offering we’ve organized in partnership with Baruch University and Global Change Associates (headed by G&A Fellow Peter Fusaro) — this is an all-day “Introduction to the Importance of Corporate ESG for Investment and Finance Professionals.”  We’ll have speakers from Bloomberg, MSCI, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board and other organizations sharing valuable information.  Save the date:  December 14th at the Newman Vertical Campus in mid-town Manhattan.

G&A Sustainability Training HQ Platform & CCRSS Course Offering
The “Certification in Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Strategies” in partnership with Professor Nitish Singh of St Louis University, is the first course offering on the new “G&A Sustainability Training HQ” online training platform.

To learn more about the special introductory G&A Sustainability Training Pioneers Program for this course (including a special discount and extra recognition as a leader in this area), contact Louis Coppola at G&A: lcoppola@ga-institute.com.   Click here for more information and to register for the course.

Join G&A for a Special GRI Standards Launch Event Webinar
We’ve been communicating with you about the important event coming up at Bloomberg Headquarters in New York City– the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Sustainability Standards Launch Event scheduled for Wednesday, November 3rd.  We’ve learned that the registration for the in-person event is now full and closed.

You can still learn about the new GRI Standards via the convenience of a lunchtime webinar:  Governance & Accountability Institute invites you on behalf of GRI to join us in celebrating the launch of the GRI Sustainability Standards on an informative one-hour webinar led by GRI’s Alyson Genovese on Thursday, November 10th at 12 Noon Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Whether you are new to sustainability reporting or a seasoned veteran, this webinar is designed to provide you with an interactive, detailed overview of the very latest in sustainability reporting. You’ll be guided through the new GRI Standards, important background and benefits, and you’ll be receiving an excellent overview of the changes from the current G4 Guidelines. You’ll have ample opportunity to ask questions to both GRI and G&A (reminder: we’re the exclusive GRI Data Partner in the USA, United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, member of the GRI Data Consortium, and a Gold Community Member).

To learn more and register for this free event, please visit: 
https://goo.gl/forms/jVPOVUL19Jzd1WnB3

If you have questions or want to learn more, please contact Louis Coppola at lcoppola@ga-institute.com.

IMPORTANT NEWS: The New GRI Standard For Corporate Reporting Has Now Been Released To Replace The GRI G4

JOIN US IN PERSON OR VIRTUALLY TO LEARN MORE

The most commonly used sustainability reporting standard for corporate and institutional reporting on an organization’s economic, environmental and social/societal impacts – The Global Reporting Initiative’s (“GRI”) framework -  has now moved from the fourth generation (G4) to the new modular GRI Standards.  The titles of these corporate reports prepared using the GRI approach to disclosure carry varying titles:  Corporate Sustainability, Corporate Responsibility, Corporate Citizenship, Environmental Stewardship, and more.

Since the launch of the first GRI framework in 1999-2000, more than 30,000 such reports have been published, the overwhelming majority by companies (publicly-traded and privately-owned, from macro-and large-cap down to smaller enterprises).  Companies from around the world are well represented in the global reporting database maintained by GRI in Amsterdam, where it is headquartered. While reports are filed from Europe, Asia/Pacific, Africa, Latin America, and North America. It’s worth noting here that GRI was birthed in the United States, in great measure modeled on the earlier reporting framework efforts for corporations developed by the Ceres organization in Boston.

While European-based companies in earlier years dominated in utilizing the framework, in recent years U.S. companies have well made up for any gap, in various industry and sector categories.  G&A Institute researchers closely follow the important S&P 500® universe, and we found that in 2010, about 20% were publishing sustainability / responsibility reports; that percentage climbed to over 50% in 2011, reached the mid-70s% mark in 2012 and 2013, and last year (2015) we reported that 81% of the 500 firms were on board with reporting – the majority by far using the GRI framework.

Over a decade-and-a-half, the global framework has evolved through a comprehensive multi-party development process, moving from “G1” up through G3 to today’s G4.  And now there is a significant development for you to tune in to:  The Global Reporting Initiative is formally launching the GRI Standards.  The new modular structure will feature three (3) universal standards and a selection of 33 topic-specific Standards to cover specific economic (financial), environmental and social (or societal) topics.
The advantages of the new Standard include having a modular structure for ease of updating and suitability for inclusion in, say, government-mandates for corporate reporting schemes, such as the new Accounting Standard in the 28 European Union nations.  Current GRI reporters will find the approach familiar; there are the familiar General Disclosures, Management Approaches, and Performance Indicators. Companies in the GRI “Gold Community” are already early adopters of the GRI Standards (G&A Institute is proud to be a Gold Community company).

There’s much more to know about the new GRI Standards — whether you are new to sustainability reporting or a seasoned veteran.  GRI is inviting you to help GRI celebrate the launch of the Standards at  Bloomberg LP headquarters in New York City on November 2 from 11am to 2pm.  The new Standards will have a “guided tour” by GRI staff, and we’ll learn more about the transition from current G4 Guidelines, as well as having our questions answered by GRI team members who were involved in developing the Standards.

To learn more and register for this free event at Bloomberg, please visit:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/gri-standards-launch-event-new-york-registration-28340058879

Unable to attend the event at Bloomberg, but want to learn more?
G&A Institute is hosting a webinar with GRI’s Alyson Genovese to discuss the transition to our network of interested organizations.  Join us for a webinar on November 10, 2016 at 12pm EST. Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned reporter, this webinar will give you an interactive, detailed overview of the new GRI Standards, gaining an excellent oversight on the changes from the current G4 Guidelines. You’ll also have ample opportunity to ask questions and learn about next steps.

Register for the G&A Webinar here:
https://goo.gl/forms/68FmZZoZMMOTjgPQ2

GRI is also hosting a series of in-person launch events around the globe.
Visit this site for a full list of locations and dates.

With questions or to learn more, please contact Louis Coppola at lcoppola@ga-institute.com

As you may know, Governance & Accountability Institute has been the exclusive Data Partner for the GRI in the United States of America since 2010; we are also the DP for the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.  In this role we receive and analyze more than 1,500 corporate and institutional reports each year.  Contact us for more information about how we can help you and your organization with your GRI reporting and transition over the coming months to the new Standard.

Stay Tuned to the new GRI Standards!

FILLING A NEED – On-Line Training for Managers Seeking CSR Certificate

At G&A Institute we regularly partner with colleges and universities to provide managers in all sectors(business, social, public sectors) with learning experiences to help advance their careers in key fields.  The areas in focus include corporate citizenship, corporate and institutional sustainability, corporate responsibility, disclosure and reporting, and more.

Recently we announced the launch of our remote, Web-based learning platform “Sustainability Training HQ” -– designed to meet the needs of professionals seeking knowledge about these growing fields of endeavor. The first course offered on the platform is focused on Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Strategies, with a certificate issued by G&A Institute upon completion of the 30-hour course.

The “certification” courseware was developed in collaboration with Dr. Nitish Singh, Associate Professor of International Business at the Boeing Institute of International Business at Saint Louis University (in St. Louis, Missouri) and founder of IntegTree, and with Brendan  Keating, VP of IntegTree.  The “CCRSS” course focuses on ESG expectations that are evolving more quickly now in the corporate sector, compelling companies to develop new capabilities to address the need for greater sustainability and social accountability.

The broad objective of the course and certification program is to equip the participant with cutting-edge sustainability skills that companies needs to thrive in a global sustainable economy.  The course will help participants explore how firms can leverage sustainability strategies to enhance their environmental and economic performance.

A complimentary introductory session is available on-line.  Interested in taking the full course?  Contact G&A Institute to learn more about the “pioneer” student offer available for a short time after the official launch.

REGISTER FOR THE CERTIFICATION
Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Strategies:

http://learning.ga-institute.com/courses/course-v1:GovernanceandAccountabilityInstitute+CCRSS+2016/about

Take the free sample session here:
http://learning.ga-institute.com/courses/course-v1:GovernanceandAccountabilityInstitute+CSR101+Sample/about

The G&A Institute e-learning platform is built on open-source software tools – primarily, the OpenedX, which was created by founding partners Harvard Business School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  We’ve customized the platform to include many user-friendly tools and resources to enhance the remote learning experience.

Additional courseware is being developed by partnering organizations -– watch for announcements of course offerings. And, if you would like to discuss the possibility of developing courseware for offering on the platform, please contact G&A’s EVP Louis D. Coppola at lcoppola@ga-institute.com.

Global Supply Chains and the Necessity Of Making Operations Safer, More Sustainable

Savvy corporate managements recognize that the supply chain of their company represents a huge opportunity for cost savings, more efficient management of procurement, and the extension of important health & safety practices beyond their own operations. And, that addressing the inherent risk within their global supply network of partnering organizations (suppliers large and small) is a critical risk management consideration, taking the supply chain to the company board room (that is, the directors’ responsibility to oversee enterprise risk management approaches).

Compared to just 30 years ago or so, and the end of the Cold War, the network of suppliers (and their many locations) represents an astonishing change in corporate strategy, operations and management oversight for the average large-cap and mid-cap company.  There are important drivers for these changes.First is the trend toward globalization of numerous elements of operations for virtually all businesses.  Even a small retailer today can attract and service customers that are 7,000 miles distant, and the “store” can be totally on line.  The second critical driver is the technology that makes this possible, with the foundation being the reach of the internet, and use of the World Wide Web.  And the third major force for change over the past several decades is the global consumer thirst for ever-lower priced goods and greater competition within the retail space. 

In that regard, we are truly entered into the Age of the Internet of Things.  And so the focus of corporate management on the supply chain is of critical importance to business enterprises — from large-cap public companies all the way down the value chain to their smallest (independent) suppliers of goods and services.

Companies in developed nations — USA, Canada, Europe, and United Kingdom — have a plethora of compliance regulations to follow.  Moving to less developed economies for their outsourcing, early on the suppliers in far off lands could have less safe and even unsafe operations.  It was “out of sight.”  No more!  Stakeholders are looking more closely these days at the source of goods and considering the working conditions at those sourcing points.  And so the growing emphasis on “supplier performance management models,” as described by Pierre-Francois Thaler, co-CEO of the EcoVadis organization, who shares importance perspectives in our Top Story this week.

EcoVadis provides “sustainability scorecard ratings” for major customers to evaluate their supply chain partners. (There are 21 CSR performance indicators, 150 commodities, 110 countries in the EcoVadis scoring system.)  At G&A Institute, we assist our corporate clients in responding to the EcoVadis surveys – these are very comprehensive.  There is important information for managers of all sizes of business organizations in the interview published by Supply Chain Digital.

Corporate sustainability leadership companies understand the importance of “effective supply chain management” to their top and bottom lines, the company brands and reputation, and the risk factors presented by global sourcing.  An example is Johnson & Johnson, the giant healthcare products company (for “health, wellness and fitness”).  Addressing supply chain management, the J&J web site notes:  “Taking responsibility for the environmental and social impacts of our products begins with product design and development, and then extends to the sourcing, manufacturing and delivery of our products to our customers. For many years, we have been implementing and improving environmental and social measures in our own organization. As a natural progression, we are focusing on promoting sustainability throughout the supply chain.”

“By doing so, we can improve our own performance, as well as influence the performance of our supply chain partners. We look to partner with suppliers who are transparent about their sustainability programs, can assure us that they are sustainably producing the goods and/or services we are buying, and can verify the legal and regulatory compliance of their supply chain. With annual spending of approximately $30 billion, we are able to leverage our purchasing power to set sustainability expectations beyond our own operations.”

Theresa Ragozine, VP of Procurement Citizenship at J&J, will lead a CSR Executive Panel discussion for the two-day CSR Certificate Program presented by The Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers Business School and Governance & Accountability Institute at the Newark, NJ campus of the Rutgers University School of Business on Wednesday, September 28th (2016) at 1PM.

The course agenda includes a session focused on exploring J&J’s own world class sustainable supply chain best practices.   Joining Theresa Ragozine will be Cindy Bush, Director-Environmental Health & Safety at Tessy Plastics (J&J supplier), and Toby Simpson, Program Manager-EcoVadis (J&J partner). Professionals in companies with a global supply chain benefit from the knowledge shared in this session.  So, too, will men and women pursuing the dream of playing a role in the “sustainability journey” of companies that seek to gain a more effective supply performance management strategy and action plan.  There is more information about the Rutgers/G&A Institute CSR Certificate Program at this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/csr-certificate-program-sept-28-29-tickets-26809141865

Read the story below:

The necessity of sustainable supply chains 
(Tuesday – September 13, 2016)
Source: Supply Chain Digital - Financial support for sustainability can only go so far. To make a real difference in supply chain sustainability, global companies need to leverage their influence and resources to drive true change.