North Sea Oil & Gas – Fueling Great Accumulations of Wealth for the Long-Term Benefit of Norway’s Future Generations

The foundation for the significant progress made in so many spheres of society in the 20th Century was…Oil!  The oil-producing nations of the world amassed great wealth with the marketing of oil and petroleum-derived products; those products enabled fantastic progress to be made in industry, government, agriculture, the consumer sector…throughout our modern society.

A number of formerly categorized as “still developing nations” of the early 20th Century years became quite wealthy when oil deposits were discovered or exploited on their lands — especially countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Emirates, and Kuwait and Iran and Iraq.

North Sea oil and gas exploration would bring great wealth to certain western nations in the second half of the Century.  One of these was Norway, with significant reserves identified (and exploited) beneath the often storm North Sea waters.

A strategic decision was reached internally in 1990 — a stream of “surplus” revenues would be directed toward the country’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), officially “the Government Pension Fund” – this inflow began in 1996 and since, the SWF has become the largest Sovereign Wealth Fund in the world. (There is a separate internal fund also receiving funds for domestic investment.)

The Norway SWF invests in 77 countries; the portfolio allocation is in equities (62%), fixed-income (34%) and real estate (3%). The return on investment in 2016 was almost 7%.

The Fund states that it is a “Responsible Investor,” with a mandate to integrate responsible investment activities into the management of the fund.

Sign of the times:  In the flow of news reports and commentaries about the trend to minimize or dis-invest shares of fossil-fuel companies in investment portfolios, comes news from the Nordic nation [the advice] that the Norway SWF should scale back or drop investments in oil & gas stocks.

The Norges Bank, which manages the SWF’s US$1 trillion in AUM, advised that such a step would make Norway less vulnerable to a permanent slide in Oil & Gas prices.  About 6% of the AUM is now in the sector (in such companies as Shell, BP, ExxonMobil). Shell contributed the most to the fund’s return in 2016.

Important note:  There were holdings in about 9,000 public companies in 2016; the average holding in the world’s listed companies was about 1.3% to 2%, and up to 5% in 28 companies. (Nestle is the largest holding in a single issuer.)

In North America, holdings are in 2,268 companies; 2,107 bonds from 582 issuers; and in 400 (office & retail) properties. Oil and Gas performed best in 2016, Norges Bank reported (29%).  One investment of note is Florida-based NextEra Energy, a U.S. company “driving the transition from coal-based power to clean electricity.”

All of this is sort of inside baseball; the SWF is owned by the central government for the benefit of future generations; the Norges Bank operations are part of the government; the Finance Ministry will review the suggestions.  We will likely see important decisions taken by June 2019, according to the BBC.

It will be interesting to watch as the world’s largest Sovereign Wealth Fund and one of the world’s key responsible investors — all integral parts of one of the world’s important oil & gas countries — make decisions on fossil fuel investments going forward.

BBC highlights of the latest developments are in our Top Story this issue. And there is more detailed information for you in the Norges Bank Annual Report for 2016.

Story This Week…

Norway’s state fund ‘needs to drop oil and gas investments’
(Friday – November 17, 2017) Source: BBC – Norway’s government has been told its state-run fund should drop its investments in oil and gas stocks.

 

Seven Important Trends From Textile Exchange Conference Summed Up: The Industry Gets It on Sustainability

“Sustainability is front and center in the apparel sector” — so writes Tara Donaldson in the November 5th feature story in the Sourcing Journal in covering the Textile Sustainability Conference in October. Seven major trends were discussed at the meeting of industry execs.

Considering such things as reducing microfibers polluting our oceans or using more materials with less environmental impact or other factors, the industry focus on sustainability is creating a new vision for the apparel industry, including for brands that had not yet been on board.  Because: the consumer and industry now demand this.

And there are seven trends that illustrate the paradigm shift in the industry, with details set out by the Journal for each:

Embrace of Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) – more companies are taking a close look at how their businesses align with these, and the October conference in Washington, DC focused on exploring what SDGs mean to the apparel sector. The SDGs provide a common vocabulary for the industry.  And the manufacturing centers are taking a closer look — like China, India, Bangladesh and El Salvador.

Better raw materials in products – slowly but steadily, brands are building products with sustainable materials; the trend is up for the year, according to the 2017 Preferred Fiber & Materials Report.

Circularity/Circularity/Circularity – companies are gearing up for more circularity (circular value chains that is!), with about one-quarter of firms developing such a strategy and more than half with a strategy being implemented.  For example, making a silk-like fiber out of orange peels.

Actions on Climate – for many firms, climate change is a major issue and more than 200 companies have set carbon reduction targets. Luxury products marketer Kering Group plans to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2020, for example.

Leveraging Technology for Sustainability – DNA tech is one of the “big things” with the ability to provide greater transparency and traceability for fiber (the technique is using DNA-based tags embedded in raw materials such as organic cotton).

Water — Being Better Stewards – apparel companies are “water guzzlers,” with 14-plus liters to make one cotton suit (as example).  Companies are figuring out how to go “waterless” or really cut their water usage over time in the production of apparel.

Investors and Long-Term Viability – and yes, the industry leaders acknowledge that investors “are paying heed” to sustainability and long-term business viability. A Bloomberg LP analyst laid out the importance of sustainability to the conference attendees.

There’s more for you in the Top Story on the above seven major trends.  And we include in our wrap up this week another report — about investors now paying greater attention to sustainability efforts in the apparel industry.

Note:  for the Sourcing Journal – a subscription is required — a “Free” registration will allow you access to this story, with a limit of 5 articles per month.

Top Stories This Week…

The Top 7 Sustainability Trends Coming Out of Textile Exchange
(Monday – November 06, 2017) Source: Sourcing Journal – Whether it’s circularity, reducing microfibers polluting the world’s oceans or using more materials with less environmental impact, sustainability is front and center in the apparel sector, and brands that hadn’t been on board…

Morningstar Now Informs Investors About ESG/Sustainable Mutual Funds — And The Good News Is That ESG Funds’ AUM Continues to Grow

The authoritative voice for many investors on the always expanding mutual fund universe is the Chicago-based Morningstar organization.  The company tracks mutual fund’s in- and outflows, performance, focus and other aspects of [mutual fund] activities.

The firm began adding ESG analysis to its legendary and comprehensive analytical work last year.  About 200 mutual funds with ESG criteria were initially being monitored by Morningstar, with analysis provided by Sustainalytics. **

Now here’s an important update for you:  we are apparently on pace for a record year for ESG funds this year.  In 3Q 2017, the universe of ESG funds (equity and fixed-income) continued to grow; there were five new fund launches and net flow (funds in) that “…keep the group on track for record year of attracting new assets.”

Morningstar explains that “Sustainable Mutual Funds” experienced continued growth in assets and heavier inflow through 2016 and into 2017; Assets Under Management were about $60 billion through September.  New launches were by Brown Advisory, Essex, iShares and NuShares (four were bond funds and one, equity-focused).

Notes Morningstar:  Because many of these funds are “young,” with almost 100 lacking three-year track records, they remain small (below $50 million AUM). But the good news is that with continued new fund launches and flows in continuing, sustainable funds continue to gain traction in 3Q 2017, offering investors more choices who are focusing on ESG / sustainable portfolios.

The addition of ESG / Sustainable investing data and information to the influential Morningstar suite of services for investors was an important development, and a solid sign of ESG investing coming of age in the USA for the company’s customers.  Shortly after adding the ESG features, Morningstar made a strategic investment in Sustainalytics buying 40% of the firm earlier this year – another good sign for the sustainable investing community.

There’s good information for you in our Top Story.

There’s more news about sustainable investing here in this week’s Highlights — read on!

Keep watch: We will soon be sharing news about our new “To the Point” corporate management briefing service.  This new platform on launch will have lots of good, timely, actionable information about ESG players that influence the capital markets — and public company access and cost of capital.  For advance information, send an email to:  info@ga-institute.com

**Footnote:  Morningstar defines the ESG universe as fund that incorporate ESG criteria into their investment process (or) pursue a sustainability-related theme (or) seek measurable sustainability impact along with financial return.

Top Stories This Week…

Sustainable Funds Universe Continues to Expand
(Thursday – October 12, 2017)
Source: Morningstar – The universe of sustainable funds in the United States continued to grow in the third quarter, with five new fund launches and positive estimated net flows that keep the group on track for a record year of attracting new assets.

SEC Proposes Important Amendments to Corporate Disclosure & Reporting – Changes Are in the Wind — But Corporate ESG Disclosure Is Not Addressed in the SEC Proposals …

October 12 2017 – by Hank Boerner – Chair, G&A Institute

On October 11, 2017 important news was coming from the Securities Exchange Commission (in Washington DC) for corporate leaders and investment professionals: a comprehensive package of proposed changes (amendments) to existing rules for corporate disclosure and reporting was released for public examination and comment.

There are more than 250 pages of proposed changes and adjustments released for your reading (the document will be published now in the Federal Register for broad communication to stakeholders).

You’ll remember the April 2016 activities as SEC released a 200-plus page Concept Release that addressed a range of issues that could result in revamping the overarching parts of Regulation S-K and parts of Regulation Fair Disclosure (“Reg FD“) and other corporate disclosures required by Federal statutes.

We told you about this in our post of May 13, 2016.
Link: http://ga-institute.com/Sustainability-Update/tag/sec-concept-release/

We said then: Maybe…U.S. Companies will be required…or strongly advised…to disclose ESG Data and related business information…

There were great hopes raised when the Commission in circulating the Concept Release document devoted more than a dozen pages to discussion about ESG, sustainable investing, the possibility of “guidance” or perhaps amending rules to meet investors’ expectations that public companies would begin, expand, improve on, ESG disclosure.

Numerous investor interests provided comments to the SEC in support of the possibilities raised by SEC in the dozen pages of the Concept Release devoted to ESG et al.

The US SIF — the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investing, a very influential trade association of asset owners and managers — provided important input, as did the CFA Institute (the U.S.-based, global certification organization for financial analysts and portfolio managers worldwide).

Disclosure of material ESG issues was a key concern of the numerous responders in the public comment period.

This week’s development: The SEC Commission proposed amendments to existing regulations that are part of the “Modernization and Simplification of Regulation S-K,” citing a different package of legislation. (The FAST Act Modernization, which in part will the sponsors said will attempt to “prune the regulatory orchard” — this is part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act or “FAST”.)

The Commission referred to the proposals as an important step “…to modernize and simplify disclosure requirements for public companies, investment advisors and mutual fund (investment) companies under the FAST Act…”

This, said recently-appointed SEC Chair Jay Clayton, “…is the most effective way to update SEC rules, simplify forms and utilize technology to make disclosure more accessible…”

The proposed amendments were characterized as part of the overall, long-term review of the SEC’s disclosure system. Thus, the SEC said the proposed amendments reflect “perspectives developed during the staff’s broader review…including public input on the prior Concept Release.

The details are available for you in a new 253-page document, at: https://www.sec.gov/rules/proposed/2017/33-10425.pdf

You have 60 days of open comment period ahead during which to express your views on the proposals.

The proposed amendments mostly address corporate governance (G”) issues that if adopted would:

• Change such items as Description of Property**; the MD&A; Directors, Executive Officers, Promoters and Control Persons; Compliance with Section 16(a) of the Exchange Act; Outside Cover Page of the Prospectus.

• Revise rules and forms to update, streamline and improve the SEC disclosure framework by eliminating risk factor examples listed in the disclosure requirement and revising the description of “the property requirement” to emphasize the materiality threshold**”.

Note that while “property” is usually a facility, this does not always apply to the service sectors.

• Update rules as needed to reflect changes since the rules were first adopted or last amended. (Including, “corporate governance” items, such as for Board Auditing, Compensation Committee operations.)

• Simplify the overall disclosure process, including treatment of confidential information; also, changes would be made to the MD&A to allow for “flexibility in discussing historical periods”. (The discussion on confidential info runs for pages – important to read for corporate managers involved in disclosure.)

• Treatment of subsidiaries.

• Incorporate technology to improve access to information requiring data tagging (XBRL) for items on the cover page and use of hyperlinks (HTML) by reference and in the EDGAR system.

Again – the public now has 60 days to submit comments on the proposed amendments (to such statutory authority as the Securities Act of 1933; Securities Exchange Act of 1934; Investment Company Act of 1940; and, regulations under these landmark securities protection laws of the land).

There are numerous sections within the proposed amendment document where the Commission is inviting public comment. To submit your comments, see: http://www.sec.gov/rules/proposed.shtml — file#S7-08-17

Disappointing News: There is no mention that we could find in the proposal document that addressed the many comments that were directed to the SEC staff in response to the earlier Concept Release by sustainable & responsible investor interests. And, in many investor conversations with SEC staff that acknowledged the growing importance of disclosure regarding corporate sustainability and ESG performance.

No mention of: Climate Change. ESG. Responsible Investment.

This is very troubling — no doubt members of the investment community and corporate leaders well along on their sustainability journey will be providing their perspectives to SEC — and the media, and elected officials — on this important oversight.

SEC guidance for corporate reporters regarding their ESG, sustainability, responsibility, citizenship, etc disclosures and reporting activities would be very helpful – right?  Of course, we are in a new political environment now, and perhaps that is helping to shape the agenda at the Commission as “reforms” are drafted and distributed for public consumption.

There is much more news to come when the response to the announcement begins. Stay Tuned!

P.S. – if you/your organization responds to the draft proposals, please do let G&A know so we can publicize your perspectives.

Meet Hideki Suzuki, Bloomberg LP @ Demystifying The CSA & DJSI Workshop

Hideki Suzuki, Senior Governance Data Analyst, Bloomberg LP is speaking at Demystifying the Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) & The Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI). This practitioner workshop is presented by Governance & Accountability Institute in collaboration RobecoSAM on October 24, 2017 and is being hosted at Baruch College/CUNY in New York City.  Hideki will be focusing on ESG Data from an Investor Perspective.

MEET ONE OF THE SPEAKERS: HIDEKI SUZUKI
Senior Governance Data Analyst, Bloomberg LP
TOPIC:
ESG Data from an Investor Perspective

A conversation with Hideki:

Q:  What can attendees expect to learn from your session on ESG Data from an Investor Perspective?

In the session, I will walk through how RobecoSAM scores are viewed and utilized by investment professionals through our analytics.

Q:  What type of information from the RobecoSAM CSA is available to subscribers of the Bloomberg terminal?

The percentile rankings of each of the various criterion under the Environmental, Social, Economic and Total ESG categories for nearly 2000 companies are available. 

Q:  What can companies learn about their competitors if they have access to a Bloomberg terminal?

Benchmarking is made easy for corporate sustainability officers. Bloomberg terminal will let them see what others in the industry consider important, how their competitors are performing on the KPIs.

* * * * * * * *

CAREER BACKGROUND:
Hideki Suzuki, Senior Governance Data Analyst, Bloomberg LP
Hideki Suzuki is a senior corporate governance analyst at Bloomberg.

After joining Bloomberg LP in 1999, he spent the first 5 years in electronic trading desk support and third party fixed income and its derivatives pricing contents team.

In 2005, Hideki moved to equity fundamentals data department then moved to ESG team in 12/2008. From 2014 on, his focus has been to build database and analytics for corporate governance and executive compensation products on Bloomberg terminal.

He has a BA in Economics and History from Fordham University.

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

* * * * * * * *

The aim of this workshop is to increase the participants’ knowledge about the methodology behind the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) and the RobecoSAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) — in this session, specifically on selected criteria including Human Rights, Supply Chain, and Human Capital. A workshop session will also be included on how institutional investors are utilizing data from the CSA and ESG data in their investment decision-making.

Click here for more info and to register.

RobecoSAM and Governance & Accountability Institute expert representatives will contribute to the meeting overall and in particular present content (including analysis and slide decks) that address each of the criterion. Representatives from CSA-responding corporations that are high scorers in the respective CSA criterion will respond and share their perspective and experience in crafting responses to the CSA.

Participants can expect to take away a deeper understanding of:

  • The DJSI 2017 – results and learnings.
  • Effective approaches to assessing established and emerging sustainability topics in the CSA.
  • Rationale, the business case, performance, and results from last year’s assessment, and learn more about major challenges for companies, especially in the CSA Criteria of Human Rights, Human Capital, and Supply Chain.
  • How institutional investors/fiduciaries are utilizing ESG data.

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

Meet Ariel Meyerstein, Citi @ Demystifying The CSA & DJSI Workshop

Ariel Meyerstein, Senior Vice President, Corporate Sustainability Program, Citi is speaking at Demystifying the Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) & The Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI). This practitioner workshop is presented by Governance & Accountability Institute in collaboration RobecoSAM on October 24, 2017 and is being hosted at Baruch College/CUNY in New York City.  Ariel will be focusing on assessment questions for Human Rights.

MEET ONE OF THE SPEAKERS: ARIEL MEYERSTEIN
Senior Vice President, Corporate Sustainability, Citi
TOPIC: Workshop 1: Human Rights

A conversation with Ariel:

Q:  What is your involvement and experience at Citi in completing the RobecoSAM CSA for the DJSI each year? 

As the newest edition to Citi’s Sustainability Team, joining in March 2017, I’ve been involved in Citi’s most recent RobecoSAM CSA filing for 2017, but my colleagues on the Sustainability team have long had lead ownership over preparing our overall response and gathering information from dozens of functions across our global company, garnering us a spot on the DJSI World and DJSI North American indices for 17 straight years. Our team also co-leads development of our annual Global Citizenship Report, which summarizes the ways in which Citi enables progress in the cities and communities where we live and work. I manage our reputational risks for human rights and other sustainability issues, so I focus on our CSA responses to the human rights-related questions, parallel sections of the Citizenship Report and various other external stakeholders.

Q:  What can attendees expect to learn from your session on Human Rights?

We’ll discuss how Citi supports human rights across our entire value chain – for our employees, suppliers, clients and communities in all the countries where we do business. This is a complex and rapidly evolving space that requires us to refine our approach to human rights based on a number of factors. Citi is determined to finding and eliminating human rights violations across our company, supply chain and anyplace else we can influence the human rights agenda.

We also recognize that partnering with our industry and more broadly is critical to improving businesses’ collective approach to preserving human rights. Citi is a founding member of the Equator Principles, a member of Shift’s Business Learning Program, and the first U.S. bank to report to the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework.

Q:  What advice do you have or opportunity that you see for attendees who are considering attending the program and looking to improve their RobecoSAM CSA responses, and get on the DJSI? 

Corporate responsibility efforts, particularly on social issues like human rights and labor, are never complete, particularly as regulatory initiatives continue to proliferate and expectations around action and transparency continue to rise.  As companies work on these issues, we all struggle with how much of our internal story to disclose, particularly for efforts that are always ‘in progress’ or where results are uneven because the issues are challenging. So the trick is to keep tabs on developments, expectations and best practices and find ways to get comfortable with being increasingly transparent about your progress and your challenges so that stakeholders can have greater appreciation for all the hard work you do.

* * * * * * * *

CAREER BACKGROUND:
Dr. Ariel Meyerstein, Senior Vice President, Corporate Sustainability, Citi
Dr. Meyerstein works in Citi’s Sustainability team, helping to lead the development of policy frameworks and risk management approaches to human rights and sustainability issues. Prior to joining Citi, Meyerstein led multilateral organization policy engagement on human rights, labor affairs, sustainable development and corporate governance for the United States Council for International Business, an association of Fortune 500 U.S. businesses. While at USCIB, Meyerstein launched the Business for 2030 portal, one of the earliest platforms to promote and track business engagement in the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Prior to USCIB, Meyerstein spent several years developing expertise in international dispute resolution while working for global law firms and in international courts and tribunals. Meyerstein has served on a number of advisory committees to various U.S. executive branch agencies and international organizations on the intersection of trade, investment and human rights and sustainable development. He was elected a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations in 2016 and is a member of the Global Advisory Council of the Ethics Alliance. He has published several articles and book chapters on various aspects of human rights law and teaches business and human rights as an adjunct professor at Fordham University School of Law. He received his law degree and PhD in Jurisprudence & Social Policy from the University of California, Berkeley. He has a B.A. from Columbia University in English & Comparative Literature with a concentration in Human Rights. He lives in Brooklyn, NY, with his wife and two children.

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

The aim of this workshop is to increase the participants’ knowledge about the methodology behind the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) and the RobecoSAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) — in this session, specifically on selected criteria including Human Rights, Supply Chain, and Human Capital. A workshop session will also be included on how institutional investors are utilizing data from the CSA and ESG data in their investment decision-making.

Click here for more info and to register.

RobecoSAM and Governance & Accountability Institute expert representatives will contribute to the meeting overall and in particular present content (including analysis and slide decks) that address each of the criterion. Representatives from CSA-responding corporations that are high scorers in the respective CSA criterion will respond and share their perspective and experience in crafting responses to the CSA.

Participants can expect to take away a deeper understanding of:

  • The DJSI 2017 – results and learnings.
  • Effective approaches to assessing established and emerging sustainability topics in the CSA.
  • Rationale, the business case, performance, and results from last year’s assessment, and learn more about major challenges for companies, especially in the CSA Criteria of Human Rights, Human Capital, and Supply Chain.
  • How institutional investors/fiduciaries are utilizing ESG data.

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

Meet Jocelyn Cascio, Intel Corporation @ Demystifying The CSA & DJSI Workshop

Jocelyn Cascio, Supply Chain Sustainability Senior Manger at Intel Corporation is speaking at Demystifying the Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) & The Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI). This practitioner workshop is presented by Governance & Accountability Institute in collaboration RobecoSAM on October 24, 2017 and is being hosted at Baruch College/CUNY in New York City.  Jocelyn will be focusing on assessment questions for supply chain at the workshop.

MEET ONE OF THE SPEAKERS: JOCELYN CASCIO
Supply Chain Sustainability Senior Manager at Intel Corporation

Topic: Workshop 3: Supply Chain

A conversation with Jocelyn:

Q:  What is your involvement and experience at Intel Corporation in completing the RobecoSAM CSA for the DJSI each year? 

For the past 6 years, my team and I have owned completion of the Supply Chain section of the CSA. We analyze, synthesize and consolidate data from various sources and collaborate across internal stakeholders to ensure the most complete story in the application. We also own the SC section in Intel’s CSR Report.

Q:  What can attendees expect to learn from your session on Supply Chain?

  • Insight on how Intel has evolved our Supply Chain Sustainability Program over the past decade and how we’ve integrated Sustainability into our standard supply chain processes.
  • How we’ve leveraged Industry Associations like the EICC to create and proliferate standards and achieve the greatest possible reach across our global Supply Chain.
  • What some of the key focus areas of our program are (e.g., Forced and Bonded Labor, Conflict Minerals, Supplier Diversity) and how we measure them.
  • How our Supplier Capability Building Program supports and enables supplier performance improvement. 

Q:  What advice do you have or opportunity that you see for attendees who are considering attending the program and looking to improve their RobecoSAM CSA responses, and get on the DJSI? 

Build strong relationships internally with others in your company that work on the different programs comprehended in the CSA. Determine an overall lead as well as clear ownership for the various sections to ensure you are able to provide the most complete picture with all relevant data. Have a strong multi-stakeholder sensing process in place to ensure you comprehend the various, ever-changing and increasing priorities (including DJSI); this will enable you to stay ahead of emerging issues and be proactive versus being completely reactive and potentially losing points.

* * * * * * * *

CAREER BACKGROUND:
Jocelyn Cascio, Supply Chain Sustainability Senior Manager at Intel Corporation

Since 2009, Jocelyn Cascio has been the Supply Chain Sustainability Senior Manager at Intel, working internally and externally to integrate sustainability more deeply into the supply chain, define increased expectations for suppliers and lead capability building efforts.  She has spent her 20 year tenure at Intel in various roles across the Supply Chain, leading business process improvement and change management efforts on a variety of global, cross functional initiatives.  She is a Lean Six Sigma Certified Black Belt with a BA in Organizational Communication from Arizona State University and an MBA from Babson College.  She also holds Leading Organizational Transition and CSCMP Supply Chain Masters certifications.  Jocelyn’s personal passions include competing in equestrian sports as well as marathons and Ironman triathlons.

* * * * * * * *

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

The aim of this workshop is to increase the participants’ knowledge about the methodology behind the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) and the RobecoSAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) — in this session, specifically on selected criteria including Human Rights, Supply Chain, and Human Capital. A workshop session will also be included on how institutional investors are utilizing data from the CSA and ESG data in their investment decision-making.

Click here for more info and to register.

RobecoSAM and Governance & Accountability Institute expert representatives will contribute to the meeting overall and in particular present content (including analysis and slide decks) that address each of the criterion. Representatives from CSA-responding corporations that are high scorers in the respective CSA criterion will respond and share their perspective and experience in crafting responses to the CSA.

Participants can expect to take away a deeper understanding of:

  • The DJSI 2017 – results and learnings.
  • Effective approaches to assessing established and emerging sustainability topics in the CSA.
  • Rationale, the business case, performance, and results from last year’s assessment, and learn more about major challenges for companies, especially in the CSA Criteria of Human Rights, Human Capital, and Supply Chain.
  • How institutional investors/fiduciaries are utilizing ESG data.

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

Meet Robert Dornau, RobecoSAM @ Demystifying The CSA & DJSI Workshop

Robert Dornau, Director, Senior Manager Sustainability Services, RobecoSAM is speaking at Demystifying the Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) & The Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI). This practitioner workshop is presented by Governance & Accountability Institute in collaboration RobecoSAM on October 24, 2017 and is being hosted at Baruch College/CUNY in New York City.  Robert will be focusing on assessment questions for Human Rights, Human Capital & Supply Chain as well as providing results, and learnings of the DJSI 2017.

MEET ONE OF THE SPEAKERS: ROBERT DORNAU
Director, Senior Manager Sustainability Services, RobecoSAM
Topic:
Workshop 1: Human Rights; Workshop 2: Human Capital; Workshop 3: Supply Chain

A conversation with Robert:

Q:  What is your involvement and experience with RobecoSAM’s CSA for the DJSI? 

I am a director in RobecoSAM’s Sustainability Services business. We leverage the unique CSA database and provide benchmarking services to companies. In this role I have looked at the environmental performance of hundreds of CSA participating companies in detail and helped them understand RobecoSAM’s CSA methodology and the rational and scoring methodology for the questions we ask. It is important to know that my department is not involved in the CSA scoring process.

Q:  What can attendees expect to learn from your presentations?

For all of the focus areas in this workshop I will present RobecoSAM’s rational, the approach we expect companies to take when they address these areas, the performance indicators that we measure and our assessment methodology, and the link we see to business value drivers (Risk profile, growth, profitability). I will also present statistical analysis on the results of the 2017 assessment in the focus area. Based on that the areas most companies struggle with will be identified and discussed in more detail.

Q:  What advice do you have or opportunity that you see for attendees who are considering attending the program and looking to improve their RobecoSAM CSA responses, and get on the DJSI? 

The basis to improve your performance in RobecoSAM’s CSA is an improvement of your underlying sustainability performance. This workshop will help you better understand RobecoSAM’s rational and expectations in the focus areas covered. The better you understand the requirements, the more focused your answers to the assessment can be. A better understanding of the CSA approach also helps you find the arguments internally to improve e.g. your companies processes and transparency in certain areas. The value of participating in the CSA goes clearly beyond inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices. By definition only a small number of companies can make it into the index. The results of the CSA are also published on Bloomberg, this allows investors to see the full ranking of companies that goes beyond the top 10% included in the index.

CAREER BACKGROUND:
Robert Dornau, Director, Senior Manager Sustainability Services, RobecoSAM, Zurich, Switzerland

Robert joined RobecoSAM’s Sustainability Services Team in February 2014. Before that Robert worked in different roles in climate change and sustainability, including Vice President, Global Head Climate Change Service at technical verification and inspection firm SGS, Deputy to the CEO of the International Emissions Trading Association, Consultant to the World Bank as Conference Director for Carbon Expo. Robert is a regular speaker and chair at workshops, webinars and international conferences. He holds a Master in Economics from the University of Konstanz, Germany and has published articles in peer reviewed journals and contributed chapters to different books on among others carbon markets and climate change regulation.

* * * * * * * *

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

The aim of this workshop is to increase the participants’ knowledge about the methodology behind the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) and the RobecoSAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) — in this session, specifically on selected criteria including Human Rights, Supply Chain, and Human Capital. A workshop session will also be included on how institutional investors are utilizing data from the CSA and ESG data in their investment decision-making.

Click here for more info and to register.

RobecoSAM and Governance & Accountability Institute expert representatives will contribute to the meeting overall and in particular present content (including analysis and slide decks) that address each of the criterion. Representatives from CSA-responding corporations that are high scorers in the respective CSA criterion will respond and share their perspective and experience in crafting responses to the CSA.

Participants can expect to take away a deeper understanding of:

  • The DJSI 2017 – results and learnings.
  • Effective approaches to assessing established and emerging sustainability topics in the CSA.
  • Rationale, the business case, performance, and results from last year’s assessment, and learn more about major challenges for companies, especially in the CSA Criteria of Human Rights, Human Capital, and Supply Chain.
  • How institutional investors/fiduciaries are utilizing ESG data.

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

Sustainable Business Practices Can Impact The Bottom Line, Say This Quartet of Researchers — Lessons Here For Busy Execs

You can read our Top Story this week first and then you can forward this important commentary to your C-Suite if the execs there have been wondering how corporate sustainability may be impacting a company’s bottom linein positive ways.

A quartet of experts writing in the Harvard Business Review has responded to the short-term, bottom-line pressures that we hear so much about throughout much of Corporate America.

To develop their case, the authors (three academics and a consultant) looked at Brazil’s giant beef industry, a challenge for studying considering the size and complexity of the industry and its long-term impact on the planet.  (Brazil is the world’s largest beef exporter and second largest consumer market for beef products.)

Key finding:  “sustainable” and “deforestation-free” industry practices created significant financial benefits for all players in the industry value chain. Quantifying this, the authors found net benefits to ranchers ranging from 12% to 23% of revenues.  Sustainable agricultural practices provided the most financial benefits, while the uptake of deforestation-free commitments over time reduced risk to the industry and company components.

Their approach demonstrated (they write) that measuring the value chain of sustainable business can be done and the sustainable business itself can be cost-effective.  Brazil’s beef industry impact on the plant has been intense (with de-forestation and GHG emissions) and there have been significant steps taken to address the issues involved.

One industry participant explained that while there is no price premium for sustainability alone, there is for quality, and the company’s quality immediately increased with the adoption of sustainable practices.  Today, 70% of their beef products are sold with a quality premium, from “zero” two years ago. That resulted in increased revenues and greater customer satisfaction.

While the focus is on the Brazil beef industry (and the value chain from grower through the processor to retail) we think there’s some good material here to help executives understand “the possible” bottom line impacts through sustainable business practices.

The authors are Tensie Whelan of NYU Stern School of Business, Center for Sustainable Business; Bruno Zappa, A. Kearney strategy consultant; Rodrigo Zeidan, of NYU-Shanghai and Fundacao Dom Cabril/Brazil; and Greg  Fishbein at The Nature Conservancy / Collaboration for Forests & Agriculture.

The academic authors worked with AT Kearney to develop the methodology for their case.  The work included research, data analysis and interviews with key players.  Organizations examined included McDonald’s; Carrefour; JBS, Mafrig, Antea Group (all in Brazil); Infalora; Instituto Centro de Vida (ICV); and, The Nature Conservancy.
And, they provided a link to the Excel spreadsheets on which they calculated the numbers for the article (it’s embedded in the post).

Top Stories This Week…

How Do We Measure Sustainability?
(Friday – September 08, 2017)
Source: EWN – Globally, there has been an increase in demand for higher transparency on environmental, social and governance issues.

DJSI Results Announced — Are You In / Out? Attend Our Workshop in Collaboration with RobecoSAM in New York City on October 24th

Many corporations that endeavor to be sustainable become a bit nervous as we pass Labor Day in the USA.  The rebalancing of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes is traditionally announced at that time.  Is my company in?  Out?  Increasingly, CEOs and other C-suite execs and board members (as well as numerous managers) are holding “membership” in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices in very high regard.

On September 7, 2017, the results were announced in Switzerland by RobecoSAM (the creators and managers of the DJSI) and S&P Dow Jones Indices (owners of the intellectual property and one of the world’s leading index providers).

Among the many new companies added to the Indices, three were announced in the official press release, Samsung Electronics, Ltd; BAT (British American Tobacco plc); and, ASML Holding NV.  And among the many unfortunate companies dropped from the index, the three mentioned in the release included Enbridge Inc; Reckitt Benckiser Group plc; and, Rio Tinto plc.

The DJSI were launched in 1999, and over time became the “gold standard” for corporate sustainability indexes.

Every year select corporations are invited to respond the company’s Corporate Sustainability Assessment (“CSA”) — a rigorous, rules-based online process for company managements’ response efforts. There are about 600 data points per company that is organized into one overall score. Certain criterion (topic sub-sections of the CSA) are added for specific sectors based on materiality, and each sector has different scoring weights applied to the various criterion based on how material they are to the sector.  (Note that the G&A Institute team assists client organizations in their response efforts each year.)

This year, the CSA assessed “Policy Influence” for the first time — assessing public companies’ lobbying activities.  And the Impact Measurement & Valuation Criteria were expanded to just about all industries. RobecoSAM sees Policy influence as a material issue for investors, especially in such countries as those where the revenues of public companies may exceed the GDP of that country.

RobecoSAM acknowledges that companies are aware of the need to “understand environmental and social profits and losses, but less than 10% have a viable valuation approach in place to provide detailed insights into potential E and S financial impacts.”

Top Stories This Week…

How Do We Measure Sustainability?
(Friday – September 08, 2017)
Source: EWN – Globally, there has been an increase in demand for higher transparency on environmental, social and governance issues.


A special all-day workshop is being offered to corporate managers, presented by G&A Institute in collaboration with RobecoSAM in New York City on Tuesday, October 24th at Baruch College/CUNY:

Demystifying The Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) & The Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI)
Focused on Assessment Questions for
Human Rights, Human Capital & Supply Chain

Click here for more information and to register.

Highlights of the Workshop:  The aim of this workshop is to increase the participants’ knowledge and obtain advice on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) and the RobecoSAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) — in this session, specifically on selected criteria including Human Rights, Supply Chain, and Human Capital.

Representatives from high-scoring CSA-responding companies including 3M and Citi will share their perspectives and experience in crafting responses to the CSA.

Participants will also learn how institutional investors are utilizing data from the CSA and ESG data into their investment decision-making with a special guest from Bloomberg LLC.

Participants can expect to take away a deeper understanding of:

  • The DJSI 2017 – results, lessons, outlook.
  • Effective approaches to assessing established and emerging sustainability topics in the CSA.
  • Rationale, the business case, performance, and results from last year’s assessment, and learn more about major challenges for companies, especially in the CSA Criteria of Human Rights, Human Capital, and Supply Chain.
  • How institutional investors/fiduciaries are utilizing ESG data.

Early bird pricing is open through September 30th.
Get more details and register at: http://bit.ly/CSAtrain