Last week Fast Company ran an article on why Bloomberg got into the business of measuring other companies’ corporate responsibility performance. In 2006 sustainability director Curtis Ravenel launched an initiative to green Bloomberg’s operations. At the same time, he began to wonder how other businesses measure their non-financial impacts on society and in turn if they reported these impacts.
Soon after this thought he found himself browsing corporate responsibility and sustainability reports by firms that not only classified themselves as ‘green’, but catered to socially responsible investors. And shortly after this the light bulb went off. He asked his colleagues if Bloomberg collected non-financial data on its clients; the answer was no.
Ravenel knew that European companies had been pushing this for years, but admitted that it never really caught on in the states – mainly because it “never made it up to C-level”. This missed opportunity had motivated Ravenel to expand financial analysis to include environmental, social and governance (ESG) impacts. Historically ESG data was never factored into investment decisions, and was considered ‘extra financial data’.
Most are under the assumption that ESG impacts pertain just to the social aspect of a business. But its proponents are just as concerned about profits as any company in the U.S. Further, there’s increasing evidence that companies who take ESG impacts into account are forward-thinking and well-managed, making them highly attractive to investors.
It’s believed that the biggest indicator in ESG analysis right now is environmental, because it’s easy to quantify (specifically carbon footprint). Recent EPA rules regulate CO2, which affects everyone’s bottom line. Ravenel used this argument to persuade Bloomberg to add ESG data to its terminals. And investors are using it. Recently, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, UBS, Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse launched internal divisions to analyze ESG data from Bloomberg and its competitors.
Adam Kanzer, managing director of Domini Social Investments was quoted as saying: “Every Wall Street analyst has a Bloomberg and looks at it every day. Analysts are going to say, “If Bloomberg thinks this is important, maybe I ought to be paying attention.”
Well – should you be paying attention? And are you paying attention?
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Statement from the most senior decision-maker of the organization about relevance of sustainability to the organization and the organization’s strategy for addressing sustainability
Name of the organization
Primary brands, products, and services
Location of organization’s headquarters
Number of countries where the organization operates, and names of countries with significant operations or that are specifically relevant to the sustainability topics covered in the report
Nature of ownership and legal form
Scale of the reporting organization
Total workforce by employment type, employment contract, and region, broken down by gender
Percentage of total employees covered by collective bargaining agreements
Description of the organization’s supply chain
Significant changes during the reporting period regarding organization's size, structure, ownership, or supply chain
Whether and how the precautionary approach or principle is addressed by the organization
Externally developed economic, environmental, and social charters, principles, or other initiatives to which the organization subscribes or endorses
Memberships in associations and/or national/international advocacy organizations
Entities included in the organization consolidated financial and nonfinancial reports
Process for defining report content
Material aspects identified in the process for defining report content
For each material aspect, the aspect boundary within the organization
For each material aspect, the aspect boundary outside the organization
Explanation of the effect of and reasons for any restatements of information provided in earlier reports
Significant changes from previous reporting periods in the scope and aspect boundaries
List of stakeholder groups engaged by the organization
The basis for identification and selection of stakeholders with whom to engage
The organization’s approach to stakeholder engagement, including frequency of engagement by type and by stakeholder group, and an indication of whether any of the engagement was undertaken specifically as part of the report preparation process
Key topics and concerns that have been raised through stakeholder engagement, and how the organization has responded to those key topics and concerns, including through its reporting. Report the stakeholder groups that raised each of the key topics and concerns
Date of most recent previous report
Contact point for questions regarding the report or its contents
‘In accordance’ option and GRI Content Index
Policy and current practice with regard to seeking external assurance for the report
Governance structure of organization, including committees of the highest governance body
The organization’s values, principles, standards, and norms of behavior such as codes of conduct and codes of ethics
Disclosure on Management Approach for Aspect
Coverage of the organization’s defined benefit plan obligations.
Financial assistance received from government.
Significant indirect economic impacts, including the extent of impacts.
Total number and rates of new employee hires and employee turnover by age group, gender and region.
Average hours of training per year per employee, by gender and by employee category.
Percentage of employees receiving regular performance and career development reviews, by gender and by employee category.