3p Contributor: CSRHUB

CSRHub provides access to corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information on nearly 5,000 companies from 135 industries in 65 countries. Managers, researchers and activists use CSRHub to benchmark company performance, learn how stakeholders evaluate company CSR practices and seek ways to change the world.CSRHub rates 12 indicators of employee, environment, community and governance performance and flags many special issues. We offer subscribers immediate access to millions of detailed data points from our 140-plus data sources. Our data comes from six socially responsible investing firms, well-known indexes, publications, “best of” or “worst of” lists, NGOs, crowd sources and government agencies. By aggregating and normalizing the information from these sources, CSRHub has created a broad, consistent rating system and a searchable database that links each rating point back to its source.

Recent Articles

Energy Subsidies Losing the Wind Beneath Their Wings?

| Thursday January 24th, 2013 | 0 Comments

The following is part of a series by our friends at CSRHub (a 3p sponsor) – offering free sustainability and corporate social responsibility ratings on over 6,500 of the world’s largest publicly traded companies. 3p readers get 25% off CSRHub’s professional subscriptions with promo code “TP25.″ 

As previously seen on the CSRHub blog.

windBy Carol Pierson Holding

After a year where wind producers sat on their hands, waiting until Congress decided whether the wind tax credits would be extended, it finally happened: on December 31, as part of the fiscal cliff deal, Congress extended the production tax credit (PTC) for wind and other renewables through the end of 2013.

But one year is not enough time to get a wind production facility up and running. There are plenty of wind operations — some 100 pre-operational wind projects in the Northwest alone — that are far enough through planning stages to break ground in time to qualify. But any longer-term projects are stalled because of the lack of predictability for tax credits. Wall Street can’t invest with that much uncertainty. Even operating concerns cut back. In fact, this year’s uncertainty caused turbine manufacturers including Siemens and Vestas to cut back in the middle of last year.

What galls Energy Policy Expert Fred Hewitt is that energy subsidies have been a fixture of American policy since the dawn of the fossil fuel era, and yet lawmakers refuse to make subsidies for wind anywhere near permanent. Some eighty years ago, special treatment in the tax, accounting and business formation codes, from special depreciation and federal resource leasing rules, was put in place to support building the electric power system. Similar subsidies were given to the nuclear industry fifty years ago in the form of legal shielding in case of accident. These special incentives still exist today.

And yet the renewable energy industry has to apply every one or two or five years to have their incentives renewed.

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The C-Suite Sees the Importance of CSR

| Tuesday January 22nd, 2013 | 0 Comments

The following is part of a series by our friends at CSRHub (a 3p sponsor) – offering free sustainability and corporate social responsibility ratings on over 6,500 of the world’s largest publicly traded companies. 3p readers get 25% off CSRHub’s professional subscriptions with promo code “TP25.″ 

As previously seen on the CSRHub blog.

By Bahar Gidwani

It seems to be my fate to explain corporate social responsibility (CSR) to all of my friends (and to a number of strangers).  I suspect that my eyes sometimes glaze with messianic fervor and that some of my listeners start looking for the nearest exit.

The most frequent question I get when I pause for breath is “Who is interested in CSR?”  Of course, I have my own favorite answer (“EVERYONE!”), but I thought I’d offer a little more concrete data.

Our friends at CR Magazine run one of the biggest and broadest CSR events each year—Commit!Forum.  They recently put out a multi-page document to solicit sponsors for the 2013 Commit!Forum.  (Yes, they try to make money, running these things.)  As part of proving the case for why a company should spend up to $332,633 (the price for a “Platinum” marketing package) to be part of the event, CR offered some stats on who showed up in 2012.

 

COMMIT! Forum Attendees

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5 Reasons CSR Should Be on a CEO’s Radar

| Thursday January 17th, 2013 | 1 Comment
PepsiCo CEO

Indra K. Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo

The following is part of a series by our friends at CSRHub (a 3p sponsor) – offering free sustainability and corporate social responsibility ratings on over 6,500 of the world’s largest publicly traded companies. 3p readers get 25% off CSRHub’s professional subscriptions with promo code “TP25.″

As previously seen on the CSRHub blog.

By Bahar Gidwani

One of the smartest folks I know—one of my directors when I was at McKinsey—had time to have a cup of coffee with me last week.  During a chat that covered topics ranging from board practices to roof leaks, I told him a bit about CSRHub and our efforts to encourage corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability.

After a while, my friend sat back and said, “But why would a CEO care about CSR?”  He continued by pointing out that CEOs have to worry about profits, strategy, personnel…so many things that could push CSR off of her or his agenda.

I could have tried to pull a “study says” answer, and quote him data from a great Gibbs & Soell report.  They estimated that more than 80 percent of Fortune 1000 CEOs wanted their companies to “go green.”  However, my friend has done lots of studies himself.  He knows they don’t always predict what will happen in real world situations.

I instead offered him my belief that three pressures will force CEOs to understand and evaluate how their businesses are performing, socially:

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Where SRI (Socially Responsible Investing) Doesn’t Work

| Wednesday January 2nd, 2013 | 1 Comment

The following is part of a series by our friends at CSRHub (a 3p sponsor) – offering free sustainability and corporate social responsibility ratings on over 6,500 of the world’s largest publicly traded companies. 3p readers get 25% off CSRHub’s professional subscriptions with promo code “TP25.″ 

As previously seen on the CSRHub blog.

new and used guns

By Carol Pierson Holding

In December, at Seattle’s Newground Social Investment holiday party, the firm’s Founder Bruce Herbert, a leader in SRI, gave a toast in which he applauded Bill McKibben’s leadership in fossil fuel divestiture. Herbert asked the crowd to support McKibben’s efforts, both in attending events (Herbert attended McKibben’s Do The Math divestiture launch) and in our investment practices.

At first, I was thrilled. I wondered if the Do The Math campaign had already spread beyond college campuses to the broader SRI investment community. If so, the movement was spreading even faster than I could have hoped.

Four days later, in Newtown Connecticut, a 20-year-old gunman trained a semi-automatic gun on a 2nd grade classroom, killing 20 small children and 6 adults. In the midst of writing about fossil fuel divestiture, I realized there was something bigger going on: despite all the successes the SRI industry can claim, it has been a failure when it comes to products that kill.

SRI was first practiced by religious groups who refused to invest their money in companies whose products were harmful to their congregations, mostly alcohol, tobacco and gambling. These “sin” screens have been in place for at least sixty years. Later, other screens were commonly added for harmful industries such as pornography, weapons and the military. But none of these industries has been seriously affected by SRI.

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CSRHub Celebrates 5th Anniversary

| Thursday December 20th, 2012 | 0 Comments

The following is part of a series by our friends at CSRHub (a 3p sponsor) – offering free sustainability and corporate social responsibility ratings on over 6,500 of the world’s largest publicly traded companies. 3p readers get 25% off CSRHub’s professional subscriptions with promo code “TP25.″ 

As previously seen on the CSRHub blog.

By Bahar Gidwani

CSRHub marked the fifth anniversary since our founding. It’s a remarkable milestone, and we feel we have accomplished more than anyone thought possible when we first formed our company.

CSRHub 5 year anniversary

Our latest “big data” set contains more than 20,000,000 data elements.  They come from more than 185 sources who collectively cover all aspects of sustainability and corporate social responsibility.  With our latest data release, we offer at least partial ratings on more than 6,500 companies and organizations.  As we expected, we are starting to add private companies and public entities to our long list of publicly-traded companies.

We rate companies now in 70 countries.  We have great coverage of the huge U.S. market (almost 3,000 names), but also strong coverage of Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Pacific (1,700 companies), Europe (1300+) and more than a smattering now of companies in Africa (100), the Middle East (86), and South and Central America (200+).

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Measuring Trust at the Corporate Level

| Thursday November 29th, 2012 | 1 Comment

The following is part of a series by our friends at CSRHub(a 3p sponsor) – offering free sustainability and corporate social responsibility ratings on over 6,500 of the world’s largest publicly traded companies. 3p readers get 25% off CSRHub’s professional subscriptions with promo code “TP25.″ As previously seen on the CSRHub blog.

measuring trustBy Bahar Gidwani

At a recent Forum for the Future gathering, I had the opportunity to talk about measuring trust with an interesting group of sustainability experts.  Due to the “Chatham House” rules that were in force, I can’t say who was at my table or attribute comments to anyone directly.  But, I think I can say that my table included prominent members of the media, advertising, and public relations — plus a prominent academic.

We started our discussion by agreeing that many people assume companies are lying about both their commitment to improve their social performance and their progress.  This lack of trust contaminates the interactions between companies and their stakeholders.  Companies work hard to treat their community better, cut their environmental impact, or improve how they treat employees and govern themselves.  Then, unfortunately, stakeholders such as investors, employees, consumers, and suppliers discount any improvements because they suspect that some or all of changes claimed are “smoke and mirrors.”

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The Truth Will Out: Integration

| Thursday July 26th, 2012 | 0 Comments

sustainability As previously seen on the CSRHub blog.

By Ashley Coale

So what exactly did Unilever CMO Keith Weed mean when he told the annual Marketing Society audience  in London at the end of last year that CSR departments have become redundant? Well, besides meaning to be just a little bit provocative, he also meant that the time has come to look past add-on CSR units within a corporation and start thinking about integration.

Calling a CSR department redundant wasn’t Weed’s way of saying CSR or sustainability efforts no longer have value. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Much like the example that Unilever is striving to set, integrated sustainability means putting sustainable principles into every facet of business operations. CSR is not the sole purvey of corporate affairs, the corporate foundation, the marketing department or even facilities. It’s part of all these departments and more. With integration, sustainability drives strategy, planning and the core of what and who the business is.

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The Truth Will Out: CSR is a Profession

| Friday July 13th, 2012 | 0 Comments

The following post is part of a CSRHub series focusing on 10 trends that are driving corporate transparency and disclosure in the coming year. To follow the discussion of each trend, watch for posts on the CSRHub blog every week. 

International Society of Sustainability Professionals logo

By Bahar Gidwani and Sally Bell

How many U.S. companies do you think have positions that include the word “sustainability” in their job title? Would you guess 100? 1,000? According to ZoomInfo, the answer is 12,660. This statistic proves that sustainability jobs exist, but does not necessarily prove that there is an established career path within the sustainability profession.

Almost every time we speak at a conference or seminar, at least one young person will come up afterwards to ask if we can help them find a career opportunity in sustainability. Schools such as the University of Michigan Erb Institute, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Massachusetts, Boston University, Rutgers and Bainbridge Graduate Institute all have programs and degree opportunities in sustainability and social responsibility practices. People want to do sustainability work and are willing to pay to be trained in the area – are there jobs out there waiting for them?

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The Truth Will Out: The Tide Is Turning

| Tuesday July 10th, 2012 | 0 Comments

The following post is part of a CSRHub series focusing on 10 trends that are driving corporate transparency and disclosure in the coming year. To follow the discussion of each trend, watch for posts on the CSRHub blog every week. 

By Bahar Gidwani

If you’ve ever watched the tide turn, you know that there is a long period where nothing seems to happen then the water suddenly rushes in. The same thing is happening with sustainability as companies rush to take advantage of a surge of interest from consumers, employees and other stakeholders.

While we founded CSRHub in 2007, one of our founders, Cynthia Figge, has been working as a sustainability advisor since 1996. Back in the 1990s, there were few examples of major companies with sustainability programs. A few pioneers on Wall Street, at firms such as KLD, Calvert, Innovest, EIRIS, Vigeo and IW Financial, were starting to gather data on corporate social performance. But, there were no standards for behavior for reporting it, and companies were reluctant to talk about their “softer side.”

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The Truth Will Out: Competition

| Friday July 6th, 2012 | 0 Comments

The following post is part of a CSRHub series focusing on 10 trends that are driving corporate transparency and disclosure in the coming year. To follow the discussion of each trend, watch for posts on the CSRHub blog every week. CSRHub (a 3p sponsor) – offers sustainability and corporate social responsibility ratings on nearly 5,000 of the world’s largest publicly traded companies. 3p readers get 40% off CSRHub’s professional subscriptions with promo code “TP40.”

By Bahar Gidwani

Companies are used to competing on price, quality and service. Thanks to pressure from a wide range of corporate stakeholders, they now have to compete also on their sustainability. A sustainability program used to be something that was “nice to have” and “fun.”  These programs are now becoming vital parts of overall corporate strategy.

What percentage of the world’s large companies would you expect to have special corporate social responsibility areas on their websites? The following chart shows that 75 percent of the 5,000 companies we rate on CSRHub already have these areas.

Note that the majority of companies in “less developed” areas have these web areas.  Because so many companies have these programs, stakeholder groups like company employees, customers and suppliers now expect to see them.

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The Truth Will Out: A Distinct and Fast-Growing Market

| Wednesday June 27th, 2012 | 3 Comments

The following is part of a series by our friends at CSRHub (a 3p sponsor) – offering free sustainability and corporate social responsibility ratings on over 5,000 of the world’s largest publicly traded companies. 3p readers get 40% off CSRHub’s professional subscriptions with promo code “TP40.As previously seen on the CSRHub blog.

sustainabilityBy Ashley Coale

Are you an in-aisle label reader? How often have you chosen a product because it has post-consumer  packaging or because it lacks sulfates and phosphates? What about seeking out local alternatives to carbon-intensive products from far away? While this behavior may have been quite unique a decade ago, it is no longer. We are witnessing the rise of the conscious consumer.

According to a 2011 study by OgilvyEarth of US consumers, about 16 percent of those surveyed are deeply committed to purchasing green and think of themselves as sustainability-oriented. Facilitating the green consumer’s purchasing decisions, the rise in online transparency tools, like GoodGuide, is helping a consumer quickly understand and rate a company’s health, environmental and social practices and impacts. Similarly, CSRHub allows users to view corporate ratings in light of a certain activity or practice with its Special Issues feature. Interested in knowing if that company is involved in nuclear power? What about animal testing? Look no more.

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“Rising Sea Levels” … an Inflammatory Term?

| Monday June 25th, 2012 | 2 Comments

The following is part of a series by our friends at CSRHub (a 3p sponsor) – offering free sustainability and corporate social responsibility ratings on over 5,000 of the world’s largest publicly traded companies. 3p readers get 40% off CSRHub’s professional subscriptions with promo code “TP40.
As previously seen on the CSRHub blog.

climate changeBy Carol Pierson Holding

Two somewhat encouraging facts landed on my desk this week. The first was a study from The Brookings Institute reporting that 65 percent of Americans believe that “there is solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer.” While the absolute number may be lower than we’d like, it is moving in the right direction, up from 52 percent in the spring of 2010 and much closer to 2008’s 72 percent. The research shows that more Americans believe in global warming because they experienced it firsthand this year in the much milder winters.

When results were parsed by political party, the study counted 42 percent Republicans among the “believers” in rising temperatures. Of course, that still leaves the majority of Republicans that either don’t believe or are still unsure.

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Is Climate Denial Coming to an End?

| Monday June 18th, 2012 | 3 Comments

The following is part of a series by our friends at CSRHub (a 3p sponsor) – offering free sustainability and corporate social responsibility ratings on over 5,000 of the world’s largest publicly traded companies. 3p readers get 40% off CSRHub’sprofessional subscriptions with promo code “TP40.

By Carol Pierson Holding

Like so many, I was shocked a few weeks ago to read about the Heartland Institute’s billboard that showed a mug shot of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski next to the headline “I still believe in global warming. Do you?” I could not imagine what the positioning might mean from an organization that has strived so hard for credibility. Was this a joke akin to a schoolyard prank?

Heartland quickly imploded from the fallout, losing at least one-third or $825,000 in 2012 corporate funding, almost its entire Washington, DC office staff and several board members, too. Heartland’s seventh annual confab held at the end of May was a disaster, with speakers, sponsors and attendees pulling out as a result of the billboard. Heartland President Joseph Bast announced this will be its last conference. Even featured gala guest Czech President Václav Klaus failed to staunch the tide. More than one-third of expected dinner guests did not show.

Where did Heartland get its outrageous hubris? Was it, as Paul Krugman suggested, simply that “wealth and power creates a bubble in which people are so eager to please the paymasters that they lose any sense of what it sounds like to those not already answering to the same paymasters”? Three weeks later, I got a more complete picture of the paymaster from Bill McKibben’s review of Steve Coll’s new book Private Empire: ExxonMobile and America Power. The climate denier’s arrogance may not have started with Exxon, the world’s 21st largest economy, but if for 20 years Exxon has persuaded US presidents that climate science is in doubt, why shouldn’t movement spokespeople feel they can do exactly what they want?

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The Truth Will Out: Supply Chain Management

| Tuesday June 12th, 2012 | 1 Comment

The following post is part of a CSRHub series focusing on 10 trends that are driving corporate transparency and disclosure in the coming year. To follow the discussion of each trend, watch for posts on the CSRHub blog every week. CSRHub (a 3p sponsor) – offers sustainability and corporate social responsibility ratings on nearly 5,000 of the world’s largest publicly traded companies. 3p readers get 40% off CSRHub’s professional subscriptions with promo code “TP40.”

By Bahar Gidwani

A company’s supply chain generally controls 60 percent to 70 percent of its costs. Companies that manage their supply chains will perform better because they have lower costs, more flexible product cycles, and/or higher quality products. When a company includes sustainability in its corporate strategy, it may need to also build sustainability into its supply chain strategy.

One of the first groups of companies to realize this fact was retailers. Tesco, WalMart and 91 other major companies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) formed The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) to help prod their 100,000-plus suppliers into improving their performance on dimensions such as carbon use, water use, recycling, child labor and diversity. (Click here to see a list of the companies in TSC that CSRHub rates.) Sedex, in the UK, has done similar work with a set of 482 companies and more than 25,000 of their suppliers. Industry associations such as the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and theElectronic Industry Citizenship Coalition are also publishing and promoting standards of conduct within their area. NGOs such as Trucost and the Carbon Disclosure Project led pioneering studies that proved that sustainable supply chain management could lead to massive reductions in waste and improved product quality.

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Energy Transparency Key to Greening Buildings

| Tuesday June 5th, 2012 | 0 Comments

The following is part of a series by our friends at CSRHub (a 3p sponsor) – offering free sustainability and corporate social responsibility ratings on over 5,000 of the world’s largest publicly traded companies. 3p readers get 40% off CSRHub’sprofessional subscriptions with promo code “TP40.

By Carol Pierson Holding

Why isn’t technology solving our energy problems? As venture capitalist Elton Sherwin discovered, you have to get people to buy the technology first.

Sherwin invested in energy efficiency devices that had huge potential, only to see them flounder in the market. That’s why he got involved with Washington, DC-based Institute for Market Transformation(IMT), whose mission of “addressing market failures that inhibit investment in energy efficiency and sustainability in the building sector” is close to his heart.

One of IMT’s efforts is to work with state and local agencies to introduce ordinances for building energy performance benchmarking and disclosure. This could mean installing energy control and measurement devices, which Sherwin invests in.

I heard about IMT from Seattle building performance consultants Theresa Stroisch and Kevin Dingle ofSustaining Structures, which was recently featured in an IMT report on Energy Disclosure. Seattle is one of five urban centers that have established ordinances that require energy disclosure and reporting.

But which tool would be best for reporting and benchmarking? Turns out, it’s an easy decision. Energy Star for Buildings is centralized, free and neutral. Better yet, it already has a blue-chip reputation. And Energy Star already has had accepted ratings for buildings in place since 1996. Lots of data. Lots of credibility.

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