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

The Truth Will Out: The Power of Employees

| Tuesday May 29th, 2012 | 3 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 Karen Dam

Do you want to work for a socially responsible company? Do you care if your employer’s social and environmental performance is consistent with your values? Insisting on a job that respects your moral commitments as well as your paycheck is a prominent trend in today’s workforce, especially with younger workers. As companies assess the challenges and benefits of effective sustainability and/or CSR efforts, employee preference, retention, and engagement is an increasingly important element.

According to a 2011 PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) study, 88 percent of graduate students and young professionals factor an employer’s CSR position into their job decision. And 86 percent would consider leaving a job if their employer’s CSR performance no longer held up.

Similarly, the 2010 Corporate Social Responsibility Branding Survey revealed that almost half of respondents between the ages of 18 to 24 would choose a position with a socially responsible company, even if they had to take a pay cut.

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The Truth Will Out: Government Regulation

| Tuesday May 22nd, 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 Karen Dam

“There is no time for a regulatory business-as-usual approach. After decades of voluntary laissez-faire reporting, the time is ripe for stronger regulatory action.” With this statement, Mervyn King, former Chairman of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), called for a more robust regulatory environment at the ESG Disclosure Workshop in 2010. More governments seem to be hearing the call and the trend towards government regulation in CSR appears to be growing.

As noted in the 2010 Carrots and Sticks report by KPMG, the public, NGOs, and investors are demanding that governments take a greater role in sustainability reporting. “Mandating sustainability reporting is a strong signal, sent from regulators to the business community, about the long-term goals and objectives of the country as whole.” (See “The Consequences of Mandatory Corporate Sustainability Reporting”).

Many groups do not trust companies’ ability to regulate themselves. A solution to these questions about voluntary reporting standards would be binding, third party, government standards. These standards could allow stakeholders (and particularly stockholders) to more confidently assess a company’s sustainability, CSR, or ESG efforts. A frontrunner in this regard is the EU, which has consistently emphasized CSR and enhancing economic competitiveness by building trust between business and society.

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A Better Idea for Branding Public Transit

| Thursday May 17th, 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 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

An Atlantic Cities blog post recently posed a question that consistently bedevils environmentalists: How do we break Americans’ love for the automobile? A love enhanced by automakers who have used design and advertising to reinforce the link between sex and cars.

The blog post was inspired by a new book, Making Transit Fun! How to Entice Motorists from Their Cars (and onto Their Feet, a Bike, or Bus), in which designer Darrin Nordahl proposes that we apply “the power positive emotion wields over a person’s choice” to transit, just as has been done with cars. Nordahl believes that good design and branding will make this change happen. He gives concrete examples such as the gorgeous new terminal building planned for San Francisco and the names and logos developed for bus routes in Boulder – names like Hop, Skip, Jump, Bound, Bolt, Dash, and Stampede. These are fun names that give personality to the experience.

And planners point out that the new generation is rejecting car ownership anyway in favor of renting through businesses like Zipcar or other car sharing services. This younger cohort is primed for a message that will make transit more attractive and remove any lingering stigma that the older car-addicts have applied to transit.

But I would argue that transit’s sensory experience will never come close to driving’s magical sense of power, freedom, control, — and yes, sex. It’s often the first experience of its kind that a young adult encounters. And names that bring to mind speed like “Bolt” won’t work either until transit really is reliably faster than taking a car, as it can be in New York.

So if a car’s experience is so fundamentally different than riding transit, what parallel experience can we plumb for joyous attributes?

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The Truth Will Out: Mainstream Media is Starting to Notice

| Friday May 11th, 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 Ashley Coale

Sustainability and CSR are no longer confined to niche publications or blogs. While traditional green or sustainability related online news sources (such as Triple PunditGreenBiz3BLMedia) remain strong and growing, coverage of sustainability and CSR is becoming a key piece of mainstream journalism and reporting.

Increasing consumer demand has changed the expectation of business responsibility and social action, and has also pressured mainstream media sources for more information. ForbesHuffington Post,BloombergFast Company, and Yahoo! are all examples of mainstream sources that have come to include a full section dedicated to sustainability, green issues, and/or CSR within the last several years. This uptick in coverage is important for the CSR field not just for pure quantity, but also the legitimacy that stems from coverage in highly respected mainstream and business publications.

Similarly, businesses have used the release of sustainability reports or the implementation of sustainability initiatives as a PR opportunity. PR Newswire routinely covers the release of sustainability reports, and has even recognized companies with its PR News CSR Award and Hall of Fame (this coverage of Campbell’s provides a great example as does this coverage of SAP).

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Five Questions Supply Chain Managers Should Be Asking

| Tuesday May 8th, 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’s professional subscriptions with promo code “TP40″

By Michael Koploy

A key part of assessing the sustainability of any business operation is examining its supply chain. In some ways, this external look can be more of a challenge than the internal examination, as transparency, evaluation and the power to re-tool a practice, resource or product are more difficult outside the doors of the company. However, to truly understand the impact of a business service or product, we must take into account the practices and consequences of what goes into the product.

As part of my work on transportation management systems at Software Advice, I have been able to clearly understand where we need changes in supply chain management and what questions supply chain leaders need to ask themselves in the discussion. Here are the five questions that leaders need to start with to begin the conversation about sustainability:

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EPA Protects West Coast Ports Besieged by Coal

| Thursday May 3rd, 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″

Rainforest Action Network projects “Keep Washington Beautiful No Coal Exports” at the EMP and Space Needle. Photo by Marcus Donner

By Carol Pierson Holding

In a long-awaited move, the EPA has called in the Army Corps of Engineers to review plans for West Coast coal ports. Finally, alarmed environmentalists and frightened local residents are getting help from the Federal government.

In December, 2010, I first heard about a proposed coal port in Longview, Oregon and was so outraged that I wrote an article for CSRHub.com. It was so shocking, here, in the Pacific Northwest, a place that prides itself on clean energy leadership. Where just months later, amidst great celebration, Washington state announced it will close its last remaining coal plant.

The environmental arguments against the Longview coal terminal seem indisputable: the coal that would have been shipped from Wyoming and Montana was the lowest grade, a grade outlawed in the US because it is so toxic. The trains carrying the coal would go through the Columbia River Gorge and other environmentally sensitive areas, spreading adjacent land and communities with coal dust.

And when the coal finally got to China, the resulting clouds of black soot could have resulted in pollution so thick as to reduce visibility in West Coast communities.

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The Truth Will Out: The Power of Crowds

| Tuesday May 1st, 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

If one consumer complains about a company’s social performance, it is a gripe.  When a horde of them complain at the same time, it is a movement. Bottom up, crowd sources of sustainability information may soon become one of the most important drivers toward corporations becoming more socially responsible.

A surprisingly large number of companies maintain Facebook fan pages, monitor Twitter feeds, and otherwise engage directly with their outside stakeholders. A recent study by Burston-Marsteller showed that 79 percent of the largest 100 companies in the Fortune Global 100 are using at least one social media platform to communicate with their stakeholders. A similar study by The Center for Marketing Research at UMass Dartmouth reported that 90 percent of the leaders of the Inc. 100 group of leading smaller companies said that social media tools are important for managing their company’s brand awareness and reputation.

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Slow Money Waters the Crop

| Tuesday April 24th, 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’s professional subscriptions with promo code “TP40″

By Bahar Gidwani

Slow Money is a national movement that seeks to fix our economy from the ground up, starting with food. The New York chapter has started growing quickly – they had to close registrations for a recentMeetup when they hit 70 people – about twice the capacity of the venue (Jimmy’s 43, a great East Village bar).

The group sprang from a seminal book of the same name by sustainability visionary, Woody Tasch. As he pointed out, we all care about food. The New York chapter is connecting its members with food-related entrepreneurs and investors. They are also working on increasing access to capital for food companies who are trying to improve the sustainability of our food chain.

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Increasing the Impact of TOMS Shoes

| Friday April 20th, 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″

By Ashley Coale

Last week was the TOMS shoe company “One Day Without Shoes” – a day to raise awareness for TOMS’s mission of providing shoes to children who need them. Two of my colleagues took part and went shoeless.

The bare feet sparked an interesting discussion about the impact and success of the TOMS business model. TOMS’s do-good efforts are decidedly non-systemic, meaning they focus on the number of shoes donated over big, system-disrupting changes like health care infrastructure or education policy. And for the most part there is a significant lack of hard data on the business model’s impact. So how do we judge TOMS’s success?

Our discussion was fed by a Fast Company Co.exist critique of TOMS by Cheryl Davenport, who works at Mission Measurement (all about helping companies measure and improve their pro-social impact). She called TOMS’ model “broken” and gave two reasons why.

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Is Fracking Sustainable?

| Wednesday April 18th, 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’s professional subscriptions with promo code “TP40″

Is fracking benign or bad?  An opportunity to cut the cost of energy and reduce the environmental damage of oil and coal production or a threat to water resources and public health?  The controversy around this issue seems to grow daily.

CSRHub has now added fracking (some call it fracing) to our growing list of special issues.

Those who have registered or subscribed on our site can choose to either approve of fracking (green button), disapprove of it (red button), or block out ratings entirely for companies who participate in the area (white button).  The list of companies involved in this area was surprisingly long — we found that 51 companies out of the approximately 5,000 we cover participate in the area.  We have partial information on another 40 or so smaller companies.  We hope to be able to publish partial ratings on these companies, soon.

We were able to create our list thanks to the hard work of five organizations and one well known expert in the area, blogger Mike Benard.  With help from Mike, we reviewed data from FracFocus (44 companies matched our list), FracTracker (31 matches), Marcellus Shale Coalition (42 matches),Marcellus Money (26 matches), and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (23 matches).  We combined their input with data Mike had gathered on 56 companies to create our final list.

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Social Media: A New Tactic for Corporate Sustainability?

| Friday April 13th, 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″

By Kimberly Wilson

Social media has undeniably changed the corporate sustainability landscape as companies harness this technology for their sustainability programs. According to the SMI-Wizness Social Media Sustainability Index, the number of companies in its index that use social media to communicate sustainability has more than doubled in the last year. In 2010, the report found 120 of the 287 companies in its index engaged in social media through platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter, but only 60 companies dedicated resources to the mission. In 2011, 250 major corporations engaged in sustainability communications through social media and 100 companies committed resources to that goal.

The companies trailblazing the way include General Electric, IBM, and Pepsico, all of which made the top 10 list on the index. IBM’s Smarter Planet is a website devoted to communicating its sustainability initiatives and uses compelling storytelling that showcases its work around the world in communities and cities. Just look at its Facebook likes to see how popular it has become – 230,952 and counting.

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Why Facebook Needs Women on its Board

| Tuesday April 10th, 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’s professional subscriptions with promo code “TP40″

By Carol Pierson Holding

As has been widely reported, Facebook – the social media company about to go public and possibly become the world’s 5th largest company – has no female board members.  Putting aside moral objections, why is this so terrible? Because it limits the company’s profitability, curbs innovation and, scariest for investors and employees, increases the risk of a meltdown.

My sponsor CSRHub is adding a positive screen for companies with female board members. The company’s founders, Bahar Gidwani and Cynthia Figge believe, as do most sustainability focused consumers and investors, that female board members make for stronger companies, and they want to give consumers a method for identifying which companies satisfy this criteria.

Their premise is backed up by substantial data. In 2007, the Boston Globe reported on a Catalyst study that examined the number of female board members at Fortune 500 companies, using data from 2001 to 2004. The top quartile yielded 13.9 percent higher return on equity and a similar advantage for sales.

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Top Eleven Takeaways from WSJ’s Conference on Business and Sustainability

| Tuesday April 3rd, 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’s professional subscriptions with promo code “TP40″

By Cynthia Figge

A week ago I attended the Wall Street Journal ECO:nomics Conference. This event was brimming with over 200 CEOs, entrepreneurs, industry experts and policymakers, discussing profitability, innovation, and smarter uses of energy. The focus was on the opportunities and risks that are quickly emerging and changing across sectors within the intersection of business and environment. While the event left me with many thought-provoking questions and ideas, I wanted to share some of what caught my attention the most here:

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Shell’s Lawsuit Against Environmental Organizations Invites Disaster

| Wednesday March 21st, 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’s professional subscriptions with promo code “TP40″By Carol Pierson Holding

Shell is suing 12 environmental organizations to preempt legal challenges to exploration in the Arctic Ocean. The environmental groups include, among others, the Center for Biological Diversity, the National Audubon Society, Oceana (full disclosure: Oceana is a source for CSRHub ratings) and the Sierra Club. Crazy isn’t it, Shell, a $378 billion company, attacking the National Audubon Society? It’s a bully image that can only hurt, and Shell should know better because it’s happened to them over and over again.

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CSR Data Tied to Better GRI Scores

| Tuesday March 13th, 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’s professional subscriptions with promo code “TP40″

By Bahar Gidwani

The subject of this post could be summarized as (for those who know Latin) scientia potentas est. This is a quote from Francis Bacon that means, “in knowledge is power.” We recently contributed knowledge from our sustainability information system to help substantiate some ground-breaking research. Both studies showed a connection between strong social performance and a commitment to sharing data and knowledge. We hope these research studies will be powerful tools for influencing corporate behavior.

On March 6, Cora Lee Mooney, in conjunction with the BrownFlynn team, published a report called “GRI Application Levels: Why Strive for an A?” Brown Flynn is a both a well-known sustainability consulting firm and one of only a few GRI-certified training partners. They wanted to understand if companies benefit from receiving the A level for their Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) report. Do they get credit for the hard work this accomplishment requires, from outside stakeholders? With a lot of hard work, they confirmed that there was a positive relationship between GRI application level and CSRHub’s sustainability rating score.

The folks at Brown Flynn were careful not to claim that the simple act of reporting information caused companies to be more positively viewed. It is possible (and perhaps even likely?) that companies that adopt GRI reporting are good corporate citizens, even before they start the reporting process. For instance, the following graph shows that the distribution of ratings on the CSRHub system for companies who commit to the UN Global Compact, is much better than those who do not.

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