Since our inception more than 20 years ago, BrownFlynn has been active in demonstrating our expertise and innovation in sustainable business. From principals to analysts, our team members are sought-after subject matter experts on a wide range of sustainability topics. Our thought leadership activities range from giving presentations, to moderating discussion panels and webinars, to conducting workshops and training courses at conferences and events globally.

In the last two years, we have partnered with Nasdaq to deliver eight quarterly webinars on a variety of topics of interest to their listed companies, such as non-financial reporting trends; the impact of human capital on financial performance; proxy season and ESG activism; and, materiality. Through these webinars we have reached more than 600 business leaders with timely information and best practices from some of the biggest publicly traded companies in the country. In 2016, we partnered with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) to bring research to members through surveys, webinars, and speaking engagements. In June 2016, the WBCSD formally established the Ratings & Rankings Working Group at the Pathways to Impact conference at Yale University. The Working Group surveyed practitioners to help assess market trends relating to ESG questionnaires, the results of which helped practitioners:

  • make the business case for responding to these types of questionnaires;

  • request better access to leading ESG research firms to ask questions about methodologies and scoring; and,

  • work with peers to better respond to these questionnaires.

Since 2012, we have authored a monthly column on GreenBiz.com entitled Shift Happens, which focuses on sustainability and organizational change. Our team also contributes to thought leadership pieces for several mainstream publications, including IR Update, Ethisphere magazine, and Directorship Magazine (NACD). In 2015, we co-authored a white paper with Trucost (now a part of S&P Dow Jones Indices) entitled “What Matters and Where: Managing Sustainability in the Health Care Sector.” This piece discusses how to use sustainability as a financial strategy within health care to drive tangible benefits, and features case studies from Kaiser Permanente, Dignity Health, Baxter International, Inc., Novo Nordisk, and the National Health Service (United Kingdom).

BrownFlynn also issues a quarterly newsletter to alert our stakeholders to important sustainability news items, trends, and useful tools. In 2015, we updated the format of our newsletter to include relevant news stories that correlate to our four practice areas, including news about our clients and partners. These stories cover a range of timely topics in a variety of industries to ensure we have something for everyone on our list. Further, we include BrownFlynn-specific news such as upcoming trainings, speaking engagements, webinars, and other resources that would be beneficial to our readers. In 2015 we began offering a new service called the BrownFlynn ESG Trends Tracker℠, a customizable report that allows companies to anticipate needs and proactively plan for the future. Trends Trackers provide companies with a monthly (or other frequency based on needs) snapshot of CSR/sustainability information relevant to a client’s industry via credible sources such as our Bloomberg terminal, and strategic partners such as RepRisk and eRevalue.

Highlight Story

Uplifting Leaders* (*Who Happen To Be Women) Book Project

Principals and Co-Founders Barb Brown and Margie Flynn began work on a self-published book in 2014 that came to fruition in December 2016. “Uplifting Leaders* (*Who Happen To Be Women)” comprises stories from 25 accomplished, influential women executives about those who lifted them up on their journeys, as well as those they uplifted along the way. The book also offers tangible advice to current and aspiring leaders. In celebration of BrownFlynn’s 20th anniversary and to ‘pay it forward,’ the book’s net proceeds will be donated to the YWCA’s Nurturing Independence and Aspirations (NIA) Program to support the education of young women transitioning out of foster care. BrownFlynn is incredibly grateful to the women who took time out of their busy schedules to share their life experiences for inclusion into the book, and we are proud to share this valuable resource with everyone.


Thought Leadership
Indicators & Performance

BrownFlynn diversified and expanded its thought leadership approach during 2015-2016, presenting at a wide range of events, from industry-specific professional associations to large non-profit organizations. Some of these events include:

  • American Accounting Association – annual meeting

  • Association of Climate Change Officers – member meetings

  • Automotive Industry Action Group – Corporate Responsibility Summit

  • CleanMed

  • Companies vs. Climate Change Conference

  • Corporate Sustainability Network

  • Environmental Bankers Association – winter meeting

  • Flavor & Extract Manufacturers Association

  • Global Ethics Summit

  • Global Reporting Initiative – global conference

  • GreenBiz Forum

  • GreenBuild

  • Michigan Green Healthcare Conference

  • National Association of Corporate Directors – Global Board Leaders’ Summit

  • Society for Corporate Governance – national conference and Milwaukee Chapter meeting

  • Sustainability Leadership Forums

  • Sustainable Packaging Coalition – annual conference

  • Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council – annual summit

  • SXSW Eco

  • World Business Council for Sustainable Development – seasonal meetings

  • United States Council for International Business – semi-annual meeting

  • VerdeXchange

Key Performance Indicators 2013 Performance 2014 Performance 2015 Performance 2016 Performance
Number of Shift Happens articles 12 12 11 9
Number of newsletter readers 680 2,432 7,297 6,320
Number of presentations at conferences 13 25 21 26
Number of white papers 1 1 1 0