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.

Preparing Professionals for Career Focus on Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Sustainability and Sustainable & Responsible Investing

Important elements of the Governance & Accountability Institute mission is to share knowledge, perspectives and information about the opportunities in corporate responsibility, including career paths to success, and to do the same for men and women interested in sharpening their focus in the financial community, with the continuing embrace of ESG approaches by investment firms of all types (“sustainable investing”).

We partner with outstanding academic centers to present structured courses for the introduction to the relevant issues and processes by best-in-class faculty who bring their real-world experience to the courses.

Two current examples:  Our just-completed “CSR Certificate” two-day course in partnership with Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership (IEL) at the Rutgers University Business School in Newark, New Jersey.  We had a wonderful line up of presenters from the corporate world (Prudential, Horizon Blue Cross/Blue Shield, PepsiCo, Pirelli Tires, Johnson & Johnson), from ESG service providers (CSR Hub, Futerra, Ethisphere Institute, EcoVadis, Hansen Philanthropic Solutions), global ESG standard setters (CDP), investment management firms (Cornerstone Capital), academics (Rutgers IEL, Rutgers University), and UN multilateral organizations (UNGC, UN PRI).  A hearty “thank you” to our great faculty and our latest group of students.

We’ll present this popular course again in the Fall — stay tuned for “save-the-date” announcements as G&A and Rutgers IEL share information about the next upcoming course.

Coming Up
On Thursday, June 15th, we are presenting our “Intro to ESG, Sustainable & Impact Investing Training,” hosted at the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College/CUNY in midtown Manhattan, presented by G&A Institute and Global Change Associates. This one-day training program is in response to the growing demand for sustainable impact investment education by asset owners, asset management, financial analysts and others in the finance community.  This is a full day of lectures by outstanding speakers who are practitioners in the field, sharing their knowledge to bring participants up to speed on ESG / sustainable investing best practices, research, data providers and methodologies. At the end of the program, participants will receive a certificate of completion.

We’ll be sharing news about this learning opportunity with you in the days ahead.

To register, and find out more information visit:  http://bit.ly/Intro2ESG

G&A Institute in partnership with IntegTree’s Dr. Nitish Singh provides convenient on-line education for professionals — “Certification in Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Strategies.”  The courseware provides a broad overview to equip professionals with cutting-edge sustainability skills that companies need to thrive in the rapidly expanding, global “green economy.”  There is information for you at: http://bit.ly/CRSScertf

Are you interested in participating in these learning and knowledge-sharing opportunities in some way?  Please contact Louis Coppola at lcoppola@ga-institute.com — let’s have a conversation.

The path to a rewarding sustainability career
(Tuesday – May 16, 2017)
Source: Eco-Business – Four young professionals from around the world share how their choice of a postgraduate sustainability programme paved the way to a rewarding and meaningful career in the sector.

Meet Judy Young

Joining Outstanding Faculty for Spring CSR Certificate Course
At Rutgers University – May 16th and 17th at Business School

On May 16th and 17th, the Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership and Governance & Accountability Institute present the Spring 2017 CSR Certificate Program for corporate managers, not-for-profit and foundation managers, and others interested in career opportunities and advancement in the fields of Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”), Corporate Citizenship, Corporate Sustainability, Philanthropy, Risk Management, Ethics, and related positions.

An outstanding faculty of professionals from leading CSR and sustainable investment organizations will lead the interactive discussions which are a feature of the course.  For information about the course and to register, visit: http://bit.ly/RutgersCSR 

Meet one of your hosts and course leaders:
Judy Young
Executive Director, Rutgers Business School, Institute for Ethical Leadership
Topic:  “Ethical Leadership”

A conversation with Judy:

Q:  How is your day-to-day work related to the CSR Certificate Program?
[JY]
 We do discuss ethical leadership and CSR and the importance of an ethical leader, culture as part of and implications to CSR.

Q:  What can attendees expect to learn from your session?
[JY]  Ethical Leadership:  What is Ethical Leadership, Why focus on Ethical Leadership, Explore Organizational Culture and the implications to CSR, CSR Ethical Dilemmas and our Institute for Ethical Leadership process for Ethical Decision Making.

Q:  What advice do you have or opportunity that you see for attendees who complete the CSR Certificate Program?
[JY]  This program will enable participants to be a CSR asset to their current organization or future organization.

* * * * * * * *

Career Background:  Judy Young – Executive Director, at Rutgers University – Business School

Judy Young is an experienced business leader focus on key topics of importance to many in the business world, academia, and the investing community:  Ethical Leadership; Talent Management; Learning & Development; Organizational Effectiveness; Change Management; Leadership Development; and Team Effectiveness.

She is the Executive Director at the Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership, and has been at Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey since 2009.  Prior, she was Director of Organizational Development at Bristol-Myers Squibb, the global pharmaceutical company; and, Director of Human Resources at Johnson & Johnson, with a decade of service at Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Systems, Ethicon and Corporate Consulting Group.

Judy Young holds the M.A. and M.B.A. degrees, Corporate Communications, from Seton Hall University.

The course is hosted at Rutgers University Business School in Newark, New Jersey (easily reached by train from Newark’s Penn Station from New York City, Philadelphia and parts of New Jersey, and convenient to Newark International Airport).

For information about the course and to register, visit: http://bit.ly/RutgersCSR

Meet Theresa Ragozine

Joining Outstanding Faculty for Spring CSR Certificate Course
May 16th and 17th at Rutgers University Business School

On May 16th and 17th, the Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership and Governance & Accountability Institute present the Spring 2017 CSR Certificate Program for corporate managers, not-for-profit and foundation managers, and others interested in career opportunities and advancement in the fields of Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”), Corporate Citizenship, Corporate Sustainability, Philanthropy, Risk Management, Ethics, and related positions.

An outstanding faculty of professionals from leading CSR and sustainability- minded organizations will lead the interactive discussions which are a feature of the course. For more information about the course and to register, visit: http://bit.ly/RutgersCSR

Meet one of your course leaders:
Theresa Ragozine, Vice President, Procurement Citizenship at Johnson & Johnson
Topic:  “Partnering for Sustainable Procurement @ Johnson & Johnson”

A conversation with Theresa: 

Q:  How is your day-to-day work related to the CSR Certificate Program?
(TR)  At Johnson & Johnson everything begins and ends with our responsibilities to our doctors, nurses, patients, consumer, customers and communities – the commitments outlined in Our Credo. Our Sustainable Procurement and Global Supplier Diversity & Inclusion Programs align with and respond to those commitments.

In 2016 we established the Procurement Citizenship Center of Excellence as a way to increase collaboration internally and externally to our organization, and to thoughtfully engage our stakeholders and suppliers in discussions and actions as we strive to meet our Citizenship commitments. This collaboration has allowed us to drive broader, higher impact sustainability and diversity results, driving innovation, growth and ultimately shareholder value. 

Q:  What can attendees expect to learn from your session?
(TR)  How procurement professionals can add value in unexpected ways, generating positive reputational lift and driving social change.

Q:  What advice do you have or opportunity that you see for attendees who complete the CSR Certificate Program?
(TR)  Don’t underestimate the power of collaboration. Leverage the contacts you make through this program to challenge your thinking, identify shared interests and innovate. Collaboration is critical to accelerate environmental and social improvements across the value chain and beyond.

* * * * * * * *

Career Background:  Theresa Ragozine
Theresa is Vice President, Procurement Citizenship, and has been with Johnson & Johnson for 35 years.  In her current role, Theresa is responsible for managing Procurement’s Global Supplier Diversity & Inclusion, Sustainability, Social Responsibility and Talent programs — all of which are focused on creating positive global community impact and supporting J&J’s mission to help people live longer, happier, healthier lives.

Prior to this assignment, Theresa served as Vice President, Enterprise Standards & Productivity, a transformative global operating model redesign, focused on standardizing functional operations and creating greater business value through optimized service to all stakeholders.   Early career days covered a wide variety of roles within Global Strategic Sourcing and end-to-end global logistics for the International Export Division.

Theresa serves as Johnson & Johnson’s National Program Director for what is recognized as the most successful volunteer blood drive campaign in industry.  Theresa’s awards and citations include TWIN Award (Tribute to Women and Industry), Fleet Executive of the Year, GE Award of Excellence, The America’s Blood Centers President’s Award, New Jersey Business Industry Association (NJBIA) Public Service Award, and the American Association of Blood Banks Award of Merit.

She earned an undergraduate degree from Rutgers University in 1980; graduated with honors from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1992, with an MBA in International Business; and, also completed the Smith College Leadership Consortium for executive leadership training in 2008.

For more information about the course and to register, visit: http://bit.ly/RutgersCSR

Meet Janis Herzig

Joining Outstanding Faculty for Spring CSR Certificate Course
May 16th and 17th at Rutgers University Business School

On May 16th and 17th, the Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership and Governance & Accountability Institute present the Spring 2017 CSR Certificate Program for corporate managers, not-for-profit and foundation managers, and others interested in career opportunities and advancement in the fields of Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”), Corporate Citizenship, Corporate Sustainability, Philanthropy, Risk Management, Ethics, and related positions.

An outstanding faculty of professionals from leading CSR and sustainable investment organizations will lead the interactive discussions which are a feature of the course. For more information about the course and to register, visit: http://bit.ly/RutgersCSR

Meet one of your course leaders:
Janis Herzig
Director, Global Public Policy and Sustainability for PepsiCo
Topic: “Corporate Sustainability Reporting Panel – GRI Corporate Reporters”

A conversation with Janis:

Q:  How is your day-to-day work related to the CSR Certificate Program?
[JH] Every day is a new adventure and I never know what issues may come up.  Over the last several years my focus has been on sustainability engagement and reporting.  I maintain PepsiCo’s relationship with our sustainability groups, such as Ceres, SustainAbility and the Sustainability Leadership Forum as well as our investors and NGOs. I try to stay engaged with our sustainability experts in the company to be aware of our key priorities strategies, challenges and performance. 

All of this feeds into our sustainability reports, including our annual GRI Report and important sustainability questionnaires and surveys.  I work closely with the Sustainability Office and Sustainability Communications team on development of our reports.

Q:  What can attendees expect to learn from your session?
[JH] I am looking forward to sharing PepsiCo’s sustainability journey.  I also hope to convey how to develop your sustainability transparency strategy, important considerations when developing reports, managing challenges and expectations as well as the fabulous feeling you have when your report is published.

Q:  What advice do you have or opportunity that you see for attendees who complete the CSR Certificate Program?
[JH] “Sustainability” is a very broad area and there is room in the field to focus on your passions.  Think about your passions and your strengths and create a path that marries the two.

* * * * * * * *

Career Background:  Janis Herzig – PepsiCo

Janis Herzig is Director, Global Public Policy and Sustainability for PepsiCo. She serves as part of the leadership team responsible for PepsiCo’s external public policy issues.

Working with key internal functions on stakeholder engagement, she builds the awareness of critical matters to PepsiCo such as health and wellness. She leads the implementation and compliance monitoring of PepsiCo’s health and wellness marketplace policies and represents PepsiCo in several organizations and serves as Treasurer of the International Food and Beverage Alliance.

As senior manager, Janis led sustainability reporting including preparation of the GRI report and submissions to key sustainability rankings such as PepsiCo’s submission to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.  Janis now provides guidance on PepsiCo sustainability reporting.

Janis joined PepsiCo in 1999 in the Legal Department serving in various capacities from managing the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) compliance to corporate governance related matters. She has held several other roles within the Global Public Policy and Government Affairs department, all of which have focused on building awareness of PepsiCo’s health and wellness efforts and enhancing the transparency of those efforts to a key external audience. Also, Janis developed and led an award-winning volunteer program with Guiding Eyes for the Blind, where over 100 PepsiCo associates participate.

For more information about the course and to register, visit: http://bit.ly/RutgersCSR

Meet John Wilson

Joining Outstanding Faculty for Spring CSR Certificate Course
May 16th and 17th at Rutgers University Business School

On May 16th and 17th, the Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership and Governance & Accountability Institute present the Spring 2017 CSR Certificate Program for corporate managers, not-for-profit and foundation managers, and others interested in career opportunities and advancement in the fields of Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”), Corporate Citizenship, Corporate Sustainability, Philanthropy, Risk Management, Ethics, and related positions.

An outstanding faculty of professionals from leading CSR and sustainable investment organizations will lead the interactive discussions which are a feature of the course. For more information about the course and to register, visit: http://bit.ly/RutgersCSR

Meet one of your course leaders:
John Wilson
Head of Corporate Governance, Engagement & Research
Cornerstone Capital Group

John will be our keynote speaker at dinner on Tuesday, May 16th. He’ll share many insights and perspectives from his two decades of experience in the field of CSR and sustainable & responsible investing.

A conversation with John:

Q:  How is your day-to-day work related to the CSR Certificate Program?
[JW]  I have been involved in sustainable & responsible investing, and corporate governance and related activities for two decades.  What has been encouraging to me is the embrace of corporate social responsibility and sustainability practices and strategies by leading companies over that time, from modest beginning when I started in the field to robust, broad programs being adopted today by leading companies.  At Cornerstone, we work with Investors and corporations to fully integrate sustainability and good governance into capital markets activities.

Q:  What can attendees expect to learn from your session?
[JW]  The embrace of corporate social responsibility and corporate sustainability by leaders in the corporate sector is accelerating, and creating many new opportunities for professionals entering the field.  I will share lessons learned over the past two decades, and identify emerging opportunities for course participants.

Q:  What advice do you have or opportunity that you see for attendees who complete the CSR Certificate Program?
[JW]   This is still a relatively new field for a good number of companies.  If you look at the supply chain of major companies you can see the uptake of CSR programs by a growing number of suppliers within the large company’s network.  That creates new opportunities for professional with a keen understanding of what corporate recruiting and promotion needs are, and how they qualify for positions that are opening now with the embrace of CSR by many more companies.

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Career Background:  John Wilson – Cornerstone Capital Group

John is Head of Corporate Governance, Engagement & Research at Cornerstone Capital Group. A globally-recognized authority on corporate governance and related issues, he has almost two decades of experience in corporate governance and socially responsible investing.   He leads a team of people who produce thematic investment research into environmental, social and governance topics, and advise companies that wish to better tailor and communicate their sustainability strategies to the capital markets.

His firm was founded in 2013; Cornerstone applies the principles of sustainable finance across the capital markets, enhancing investment processes through greater transparency and collaboration. (Cornerstone, based in New York City, offers wealth management, investment research, and corporate advisory services .)

John was previously Director of Corporate Governance at TIAA-CREF, the nation’s largest private pension system.  He supervised the corporate (shareholder) proxy voting of CREF, which had 8,000-plus public companies in the investment portfolio.  At T-C he engaged with corporate boards and senior management on many issues, helping to advance policies and best practices in corporate responsibility and sustainability.

John is Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia Business School, and Member of the Advisory Council of the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board. He holds a degree from Georgetown University (B.A., History), and an MBA and Master of International Affairs from Columbia University.

For more information about the course and to register, visit: http://bit.ly/RutgersCSR

Meet Danielle Chesebrough

Joining Outstanding Faculty for Spring CSR Certificate Course
May 16th and 17th at Rutgers University Business School

On May 16th and 17th, the Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership and Governance & Accountability Institute present the Spring 2017 CSR Certificate Program for corporate managers, not-for-profit and foundation managers, and others interested in career opportunities and advancement in the fields of Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”), Corporate Citizenship, Corporate Sustainability, Philanthropy, Risk Management, Ethics, and related positions.

An outstanding faculty of professionals from leading CSR and sustainable investment organizations will lead the interactive discussions which are a feature of the course. For more information about the course and to register, visit: http://bit.ly/RutgersCSR

Meet one of your course leaders:

Danielle Chesebrough
Senior Manager, Investor-Company Relations, U.N. Principles for Responsible Investing (UN PRI) and U.N Global Compact (UNGC)
Topic:  “United Nations Global Compact & Principals for Responsible Investment (PRI)”

A conversation with Danielle:

Q:  How is your day-to-day work related to the CSR Certificate Program?
[DC]  Every day we are working to connect investors and companies on sustainability-related issues. With 193 countries coming together for the first time to agree to a set of global goals, capital markets have a new blueprint for leadership. Using the framework of these goals, we are working with stock exchanges around the world to help companies and investors better understand how they can work together to advance the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

While there are many avenues available to address these goals, enhanced communication around ESG information is an important foundation for this work. This is why much of my day-to-day work is focused on improving reporting and broader communication between investors and companies on bow ESG factors can create financial value. 

Q:  What can attendees expect to learn from your session?
[DC] Attendees can expect to learn:

  • Why the UN Sustainable Development Goals are relevant to your business.
  • How investors are using the ESG information companies report and why they need improved data.
  • What the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative is doing to help investors, and companies, to improve transparency on ESG globally.
  • Lastly, exploring the role we all have to play in achieving the SDGs and creating more sustainable capital markets. 

Q:  What advice do you have or opportunity that you see for attendees who complete the CSR Certificate Program?
[DC]  By being able to clearly articulate how sustainability links back to both sustainable development and financial value creation your company will be at a competitive advantage. This can help the company improve its customer and employee relations, but also attract and maintain investors who will support your long-term growth plans and put less pressure on short-term, sometimes value destroying, techniques. 

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Career Background:  Danielle Chesebrough  – Dual Role – United Nations PRI and UNGC

Danielle Chesebrough started working in her dual role with the PRI and UN Global Compact in May 2011. She facilitates collaboration between UN Global Compact companies and PRI investors, as well as co-organizing the Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative with three United Nations partner organizations

About The UN Global Compact: The United Nations Global Compact is a United Nations initiative to encourage businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies, and to report on their implementation.

About The UN Principles for Responsible Investment: The United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment is an international network of investors working together to put the six Principles for Responsible Investment into practice.

Her main area of focus is on improving and integrating ESG communication (“environmental, social & governance”) between companies and investors.

Previously, Danielle worked in ESG client services at MSCI. Prior to joining the client services team, she conducted ESG analysis and led engagements with publicly-listed companies. MSCI Inc., is a prominent US-based provider of equity, fixed income, and hedge fund stock market indexes, and equity portfolio analysis tools. The firm publishes the MSCI BRIC, MSCI World and MSCI EAFE Indexes.

Danielle has a B.A. in Political Science from Clemson University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work, with a focus on Policy and International Studies, from the University of Connecticut. email:  @DAChesebrough

For more information about the course and to register, visit: http://bit.ly/RutgersCSR