It’s Annual ESG Survey & Query Time -– Public Companies Are In Response Mode…




It’s Annual ESG Survey & Query Time
-– Public Companies Are In Response Mode…

Barrage… Avalanche… Tidal Wave… Tsunami...  “Survey Fatigue...” 

These are terms we hear all year ‘round and especially in the spring of the year as corporate managers describe for us what they often feel as the inevitable growing flow of third party ESG / Sustainability data sets, ratings, rankings, surveys, forms and various types information for review come pouring into their offices.  It’s spring – survey time!   Large-cap companies may receive 200 and more such queries during a year. 

These ESG profiles are more important to address each year as more asset owners and their managers either directly pose questions to companies -- or do so through an army of third-party ESG analytics firms. Stakes are high and getting higher for executives and boards as these data sets can result in inclusion in sustainable investing indexes, benchmarks, investor products, and win high rankings, scores, ratings and other honors.

Corporate managers are aware that there is an ever-widening transparency of the company ESG profile: the Bloomberg professional services ESG dashboard will put the company’s ESG data and profile in front of more than 300,000 subscribers; the Thomson Reuters’ Eikon dashboards reach 200,000 and more subscribers with the same kinds of information.  Other important suppliers of ESG data to investors include MSCI, Sustainalytics, RobecoSAM, Oekom, ISS, and more.

We are hearing the call from the corporate offices this month -- Help!

The good news:  there are efficient, comprehensive, organized ways to meet the challenges described at publicly-traded and even privately-owned enterprises. Here at G&A Institute, we've developed what we call our ESG matrix approach to assist companies to review, engage, and enhance the “mosaic” (or multi-dimensional) corporate ESG profile -- with significant benefits for our clients.

This ESG "mosaic" profile may be incomplete, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise detrimental to the company and its stakeholders. That leads to negative perceptions that can significantly affect corporate reputation and valuation.

We start with an examination of the most influential third party ESG investor data sets, rankings and ratings of the corporation.  Key areas of strength, weakness and the competitive standing will emerge from our comprehensive analysis. Correcting inaccurate data, and guidance for improving reporting by better organizing important ESG disclosure data is a valuable result.  Longer term, the results of this type of analysis and engagement inform strategy setting, and resource allocations to most efficiently and effectively improve the ROI of the Sustainability program.

KEEP IN MIND:  Improving the ratings, rankings,
scores etc. is a journey, not a sprint.


It’s important here to stress that whether or not a company chooses to answer queries, respond to data provider inquiries or attempts to correct some public information that service providers are sharing with investors, there is a public sustainability profile out there and it is making an impression on investors.

 

What Value Do Companies Get From Engaging With ESG Investor Data Providers?
G&A's Co-Founder Louis Coppola was recently interviewed at Skytop Strategies ESG4 Summit on the Value Companies Can Obtain by Engaging with ESG Investor Data Providers.  Watch the interview here and email Lou at lcoppola@ga-institute.com if you have any questions or would like to discuss.

More information on this topic can be found on our more comprehensive blog post here.

For your information:   As the flow of this year’s queries reaches corporate managers, it is important to understand who some of the key third party ESG players are -- and what their work is about – and how they can impact the corporation.  We provide some recent news updates about leading players here for your information:

For Your Further Information:
News About Key ESG / Sustainability Data Providers

Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS)
The Universe of ESG Rankers Serving Institutional Investor Clients Expands…
Source:G&A Institute’s To the Point! Management Brief (January 2018)
ISS’ Traditional Corporate Governance Focus Expanding to Encompass Environmental & Social QualityScores for Roughly 1,500 Public Companies Coming in January…And Expanding to 5,000 Issuers in Q2…

ISS Unveils New Corporate “E” and “S” QualityScores for 1,500 Companies
Source:G&A Institute’s To the Point! Management Brief (February 2018)

ISS/Oekom
Oekom Research to Join Institutional Shareholder Services
Source: oekom research (March 2018)
oekom research, a leader in the provision of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) ratings and data, as well as sustainable investment research, today announced it will join Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (“ISS”)...

Sustainalytics
Sustainalytics’ New Research Report Offers Insight into ESG Risks Facing 10 Sectors
Source: Sustainalytics (February 15, 2018)
Sustainalytics, a leading global provider of ESG and corporate governance research, ratings and analytics, today released a new thematic research report – “10 for 2018: ESG Risks on the Horizon”.

Morningstar & Sustainalytics Expand Sustainability Collaboration
Source: Sustainalytics (July 2017)
In a continuing and growing commitment to helping investors integrate sustainability considerations into portfolio decisions, Morningstar, Inc., a leading provider of independent investment research, and Sustainalytics, a leading global provider of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) research and ratings, today announced...

Bloomberg LP
Bloomberg ESG Function for Sustainability Investors Adds RobecoSAM Data
Source: Bloomberg (September 2016)
Bloomberg recently expanded its offering of ESG (environmental, social, governance) data by incorporating information from RobecoSAM’s percentile rankings on the Bloomberg Professional service at ESG<GO> --  a Bloomberg Terminal function that provides sustainability investors with data about a company’s environmental, social and governance metrics...

RobecoSAM Group/Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (DJSI))
RobecoSAM Publishes “The Sustainability Yearbook 2018”
Source: RobecoSAM (February 2018)
RobecoSAM, the investment specialist that has focused exclusively on Sustainability Investing (SI) for over 22 years, today announced the publication of “The Sustainability Yearbook 2018”.    The Yearbook showcases the sustainability performance of the world’s largest companies and includes the top 15% per industry...

Results Announced for 2017 DJSI Review
Source: RobecoSAM (September 7, 2017)
S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI), one of the world’s leading index providers, and RobecoSAM, an investment specialist focused exclusively on Sustainability Investing (SI), today announced the results of the annual Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) review...

MSCI
MSCI:  2018 ESG Trends to Watch
Source: Commentary by Linda Eling-Lee, Global Head of ESG Research, MSCI  (January 2018)
Bigger, faster, more.  Whether due to policy, technological or climatic changes, companies face an onslaught of challenges that are happening sooner and more dramatically than many could have anticipated.  Investors, in turn, are looking for ways to position their portfolios...

Has ESG Affected Stock Performance?
Source: Commentary by Guido Giese – ED, Applied Equity Research, MSCI 
Are ESG characteristics tied to stock performance? Many researchers have studied the relationship between companies with strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) characteristics and corporate financial performance. A major challenge has been to show that positive correlations — when produced — explain the behavior...

CDP / Formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project
CDP:  The Disruptors:  Paul Simpson, the Atypical Activist Who Awoke C-Suites to Climate Risk
Source: Ethical Corporation (November 2017)
The founder of CDP tells Oliver Balch how the organization he started 17 years ago has helped transform corporate and investor attitudes to climate change  The phrase "task force” is hardly one to get the heart racing. Expand it to the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, and you’re into catatonic territory...

Our Governments Have Committed to Keeping Global Temperature Rises to Well Below 2-Degrees – What Can Companies and Cities Do…
Source: CDP Campaigns
The Paris Agreement sends a clear signal that the shift to a low-carbon economy is inevitable, and everyone must play their part...

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G&A's To The Point! is a businesss intelligence web-platform resource. This management briefing service offers timely insights and perspectives on Corporate Sustainability, Responsibility & Citizenship. Click here to request a trial subscription. Below are links to a sampling of three recent briefs:

Second in the Series: A BIG YEAR SHAPING UP, 2018 – Developments in Corporate Sustainability / Responsibility & in Sustainable Investing in 1Q
March 30, 2018 Update -- on First Quarter 2018 ESG / Sustainable Investment Developments Continuing our commentary on the theme suggested by MSCI's Linda Eiling Lee of Volume and Velocity in 2018 (of change) – current developments have been signalling dramatic and rapid changes in sustainable investing and corporate sustainability in the First Quarter… Read More

ABOUT THOSE CORPORATE EMPLOYEE PENSION PLANS –The Focus is Increasing on the Shortfalls…and Remedies
February 22, 2018 updating the January 5, 2018 brief on the issues. Employee pension plans / retirement systems are regulated under federal law by the U.S. Department of Labor.  The empowerment is the sweeping "ERISA" legislation of the mid-1970s. The agency created to oversee corporate plans is the… Read More

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G&A Institute Sustainability Update
Informative, insightful, thought provoking
Governance & Accountability Institute's blog focusing on the sustainable world evolving daily before our eyes. Read it, absorb it, question it and challenge.

Dispatch From London and The Economist Sustainability Summit 2018

Feeding 9 Billion People in 2050? Challenging!  – A Leading U.S. CEO in the Food & Agriculture Business Has Important Perspectives to Share

The DJSI Corporate Sustainability Assessment Will Soon Be “Open” for US Companies to Begin Their Response Effort – a Workshop for Corporate Staff is Scheduled for April 6th in New York City, Presented by G&A Institute in collaboration with RobecoSAM

 

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Using The GRI Sustainability Reporting Framework Improves The Quality of ESG Disclosures - Joint Research From G&A Institute and Baruch College Shows

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The Sustainability Highlights eNewsletter is prepared by Governance & Accountability Institute, Inc. based on continuous monitoring of trends and developments in Sustainability and ESG. Governance & Accountability Instiute is the "Sustainability Headquarters™" for clients in the corporate, investment, public and social sectors. Based in New York, G&A is a for-profit consulting organization providing a range of value-added strategies, services and resources related to ESG & sustainability to clients in the corporate and capital markets communities. For G&A's full range of services, click on each of the links below:

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