October 16, 2020
by Hank Boerner – Chair & Chief Strategist – G&A Institute
Celebrating Highlights issue #500 – this is a landmark achievement, we will say, for this is also the tenth anniversary year of publishing the G&A Institute’s weekly newsletter (G&A Institute’s Sustainability Highlights). As you will see in reading #500, we are also introducing an enhanced format intended to make the newsletter easier to read or scan as well.
Our G&A Institute’s Sustainability Highlights newsletter is designed to share timely, informative content in topic/issue “buckets” that we think will be of value to you, our reader. So much is happening in the sustainable investing and corporate sustainability spaces these days – and we are working hard to help you keep up to date with the important stuff!
Publishing the Sustainability Highlights newsletter is a team effort here at G&A.
Our company was formed in late 2006 and among our first efforts, Ken Cynar, then and now our Editor-in-Chief, began the daily editing of the then-new “Accountability Central” web site with shared news and opinion. The focus was (and is) on corporate governance, environmental matters, a widening range of societal and corporate-society issues, SRI investing, and more.
Two years later we created the “SustainabilityHQ” web platform – Ken manages content for both platforms today.
Back in those early days there was not the volume of ESG news or opinion pieces that we see today. Whenever we “caught” something of note the rest of the G&A team would quickly share the item with Ken.
Our team had worked together (some for a number of years) at the former Rowan & Blewitt consultancy, specialists in issue management, crisis management and strategic communications for the fortunate Fortune 500s.
That firm was acquired by Interpublic Group of Companies and after 7 years the New York City team created G&A Institute to focus on corporate sustainability, responsibility, citizenship and sustainable & responsible investing. All of us came equipped with a strong foundation of issue management, risk management, critical issues managements, and corporate communications experience and know-how.
“ESG” had just emerged as a key topic area about the time we began our publishing efforts and soon we saw a steady flow of news, features, research reports, opinions & perspectives that we started sharing.
We had worked on many corporate engagements involving corporate governance, environmental management, a range of societal issues, public policy, and investor activism. Here it was all coming together and so the G&A enterprise launch to serve corporate clients!
By 2010, as we emerged from the 2007-2008 financial markets debacle, then-still-small-but-solid (and rapidly expanding) areas of focus were becoming more structured for our own information needs and for our intelligence sharing, part of the basic mission of G&A from the start. And so, we created the weekly Highlights newsletter for ease of sharing news, research results, opinion & perspectives, and more.
It is interesting to recall that in the early issues there were scant numbers of corporate CSR or sustainability etc. reports that had been recently published (and so we were able to share the corporate names, brief descriptions of report contents, links of those few reports). That trickle soon became a flood of reports.
But looking back, it was interesting to see that at the start of the newsletter and our web sites, there were so few corporate sustainability / responsibility reports being published we could actually post them as news for readers. Soon that trickle of corporate reports became a flood.
A few years in, The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) invited G&A to be the data partner for the United States and so our growing team of ESG analysts began to help identify and analyze the rapidly-increasing flow of corporate reports to be processed into the GRI’s global reporting database.
Hank Boerner and Lou Coppola in the early days worked closely with Ken on the capturing and editing of content. Lou designed the back end infrastructure for formatting and distribution.
Amy Gallagher managed the weekly flow of the newsletter, from drafts, to layout and then final distribution along with the coordination of a growing body of conference promotions with select partner organizations.
And now with a solid stream of content being captured today, all of this is a considerable effort here at G&A Institute.
Ken is at the helm of the editorial ship, managing the “AC” and “SHQ” web platforms where literally thousands of news and opinion are still hosted for easy access. He frames the weekly newsletter.
Today Ken’s effort is supported by our ESG analysts Reilly Sakai and Julia Nehring and senior ESG analyst Elizabeth Peterson — who help to capture original research and other content for the newsletter.
Hank and Lou are overall editors and authors and Amy still manages the weekly flow of activities from draft to distribution. Our head of design, Lucas Alvarez, working with Amy created this new format. As you see, it is a team effort!
There is a welcome “flood” — no, a tidal wave! — of available news, research and opinion being published around the world that focuses on key topic areas: corporate sustainability, CSR, corporate citizenship, ESG disclosure & reporting, sustainable investing, and more. We capture the most important to share in the newsletter and on our web sites.
We really are only capturing a very tiny amount of this now-considerable flow of content, of course, and present but a few select items in the categories below for your benefit. (The target is the three most important stories or items in each category.)
Much more of the ongoing “capture effort” is always available to you immediately on the SustainabilityHQ web platform (see the “more stories” links next to each category of headlines).
We hope that you find Sustainability Highlights newsletter of value. It’s a labor of love for us at G&A, and we would like to get your thoughts and feedback …including how we can continue to improve it. Thanks for tuning in all of these years to our long-term readers!
As example of the timely news of interest for this week we offer these (two) commentaries on the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs). We are five years in/with 10 years in which to make real progress…where do you think we are headed?
As students and faculty head back to campus – there’s discussion about “sustainability” and “campus”: