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Sustainability And CSR

Below is some of the most recent coverage related to Corporate Social Responsibility and "sustainability." Coverage includes risks and disclosure challenges, climate change disclosure proposals, and reporting requirements of the Global Reporting Initiative. See also Compliance Week's database of sustainability reports, which features full-text searches of corporate sustainability and global citizenship reports, most of which use the GRI framework.

Conflicts Start Early on Minerals Rule; 'Absolutely Insane'

August 28, 2012

Compliance officers, brace for impact: The SEC's new conflict minerals rule is likely to be a due diligence nightmare. Retail chains did win an exemption from the rule, but a vast swath of Corporate America must start compliance in January. "If you look at a large-cap company, the breadth of what they have to undertake is absolutely insane," says corporate lawyer Sanjay Shirodkar. Full story inside.
 

Conflict Minerals Rule Casts a Wide Shadow

November 01, 2011

Think the SEC's conflict minerals rule doesn't apply to you? Think again. Many companies are finding that trace amounts of the minerals in packaging and other materials could subject them to compliance with the rule, which requires reporting on the sourcing of certain minerals mined in Africa. "We had no idea this legislation was going to be covering companies like us," says Irma Villarreal, assistant corporate secretary of Kraft Foods. Details inside.
 

Asbestos-Related Filings Decline

August 11, 2011

Corporate litigation departments can breathe easier these days: The asbestos-related lawsuits that have flooded courts for years finally seem to be receding. That being said, plenty of businesses—especially insurers—still face long periods of liability and large reserves for future settlements. Details inside.
 

The Gap Between ESG Practice and Perception

August 09, 2011

A new study has tried to pinpoint the real, measurable work companies put into environmental, social, and governance efforts—and compare that to how companies' ESG efforts are perceived by the public, with some interesting results. Which companies get more credit for ESG than they might deserve? Which ones are ESG underdogs? Details inside.
 

Navigating and Reporting ESG Data

June 21, 2011

Feeling overwhelmed by investor activists clamoring for more information about your company's environmental and social responsibility efforts? You are not alone. "ESG investing" is booming, and programs to rate your ESG performance (with or without your help) are proliferating. Inside are some basics on how to get ahead of the demand for more data.
 

No Shortage of Opinions on the SEC's 'Conflict Minerals' Proposal

March 15, 2011

Critics continue to fire away at the SEC's proposal to require disclosure of a company's use of "conflict minerals" from Central Africa, arguing that they need clearer language, more time to comply, and exemptions for small companies and those that use minimal amounts of the minerals. Full coverage inside.
 

Better CSR Reporting Means Better CSR Strategies

November 30, 2010

Increasingly, companies like Timberland and IBM are looking to build sustainability into their core strategies. Meanwhile, they are working to improve corporate social responsibility reporting with meaningful disclosures and straightforward language. "It doesn't have to be boring, tedious, and painful to read," says Carrie Teffner, CFO of Timberland. More inside.
 

EPA Emissions Guidelines Panned as Overly Vague

November 23, 2010

For industries awaiting clarification from the Environmental Protection Agency on plans to enforce reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the wait is finally over. Well, sort of.
 

Dodd-Frank Causes New Oil & Gas Pains

August 24, 2010

A broad new disclosure provision tucked into the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is poised to cause plenty of consternation for those in the energy industry.
 

How Sustainability Works at Daimler

August 24, 2010

Tucked inside BP’s corporate sustainability report from 2008 is a question-and-answer section with the now former CEO, Tony Hayward. It includes one question that probably seemed harmless at the time: Has BP improved the safety and integrity management of its operations since the Texas City explosion in 2005 and the Alaskan pipeline leaks in 2006?
 

CSR Reporting 101: How ConAgra Did It

July 27, 2010

Companies trying to draft a corporate responsibility report for the first time often find the journey to be a bumpy one.
 

More EPA Regulations of Greenhouse Gases

May 25, 2010

As part of its continuing effort to address climate change, the Environmental Protection Agency has published yet more final rules to limit greenhouse gas emissions, this time focusing on heavy emitting industrial facilities.
 

Study Reveals Hurdles to Embracing CSR

May 18, 2010

Contrary to popular belief, corporate executives say they are prepared for—and even support—more government action to address climate change. They’re just frustrated with the pace of action.
 

Time to Get Started on Your Sustainability Strategy

April 20, 2010

Last month’s column, “The Value of Tailoring a CSR Strategy to Investors,” described the growing phenomenon of institutional investors’ and sovereign wealth funds’ desire to invest in companies that have developed credible sustainability strategies and practices. Sustainability encompasses corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices and performance.
 

How Sustainability Works at UPS

December 08, 2009

Making the business case to spend money on corporate sustainability programs can be a hard sell these days, but at least one company believes sustainability is worth the expense.
 

Podcast: EPA Disclosure Rule

October 27, 2009

In this week’s podcast, editor Matt Kelly talks with Craig Moyer, of the law firm Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, about the new EPA rule requiring companies to disclose greenhouse gas emissions.
 

EPA Tells Companies: Report Your Gas

October 20, 2009

The Environmental Protection Agency has published final rules that for the first time ever will require companies to monitor and report their greenhouse gas emissions, under a new reporting system set to take effect early next year.
 

Choosing Among a Vast Array of CSR Initiatives

August 25, 2009

Corporate social responsibility programs can be an effective way to achieve numerous environmental, social, and economic goals within a corporation. But with so many approaches to CSR available, executives championing sustainability often don’t know which one to choose.
 

Getting the Most Out of Carbon Offsets

August 11, 2009

Thanks to recent House passage of legislation that would cap the amount of greenhouse gas emissions companies would be allowed to produce, the clock may soon start ticking for businesses to develop an effective way to manage carbon emissions.
 

Navigating Socially Responsible Investing

W. Savitz and Melissa Tritter Paschall Andrew July 07, 2009

We’ve all seen the spectacular collapse of the stock market in the last year, much of it due to Wall Street institutions behaving unwisely. Irresponsible executive behavior, excessive risk taking, and outlandish compensation packages have outraged millions of Americans, putting issues of corporate ethics and responsibility front and center.
 

The Time Has Come to Embrace Sustainability

June 16, 2009

Corporate sustainability is here to stay. The real question is how long will it take for the C-suite and boards of directors to adopt a business approach that goes well beyond traditional means of creating and developing corporate value.
 

A Blueprint for the Carbon Emissions Policy

June 09, 2009

From regulatory mandates to congressional actions to increasing pressures from shareholder activists, companies have more and more reasons for developing an effective way to manage carbon emissions. The question is just how to go about doing that.
 

Feds Give Fuel for Sustainability Efforts

June 02, 2009

The federal government is starting a full-court press to encourage corporate sustainability, with a wave of tax credits, exemptions, rebates, or grants meant to foster such efforts.
 

A Q&A With the EPA on Climate Disclosure

May 19, 2009

Since the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled in March its first proposal to force companies to monitor and report their greenhouse gas emissions, the move has raised an abundance of questions from Corporate America.
 

Shareholder Value and Your Sustainability Goals

May 19, 2009

The long-accepted corporate goal of maximizing shareholder value got a real slap-down when corporate icon Jack Welch recently told a reporter: “Shareholder value is the dumbest idea in the world.” What made the comment astonishing was that Welch was a proponent of shareholder value for more than 25 years, during which time General Electric exceeded analysts’ consensus estimates every quarter for longer than a decade.
 

Insurers Gear Up for Climate Disclosure Law

April 28, 2009

The insurance industry seems to be first out of the gate with new rules for disclosure of climate change risks. Insurance companies themselves, however, may be off to a slow start in complying with the new rules.
 

Proposed EPA Rule Requires Greenhouse Gas Disclosure

March 31, 2009

The Environmental Protection Agency has unveiled its first proposal to force companies to monitor and report their greenhouse gas emissions, opening a new realm of compliance headaches for Corporate America.
 

Environmental Policy, Enforcement Under Obama

March 17, 2009

The contentious debate over regulating carbon emissions may soon move into high gear in Washington. Depending on how forcefully the Obama Administration pushes it, companies could face major changes in environmental regulation and their compliance with corporate sustainability goals overall.
 

Investors Push SEC for More ESG Disclosures

December 23, 2008

Yet again, institutional investors have asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to force companies to do a better job disclosing environmental risks in their periodic filings.
 

Xcel, Cuomo Set Precedent for Climate Disclosure

September 23, 2008

A landmark agreement involving Xcel Energy Inc. has set new precedents for the disclosure of climate change risks and is likely to have an impact far beyond the company that struck the deal, according to observers.
 

What Environmental Disclosure Might Look Like

June 24, 2008

Another climate change bill that would have placed a cap on greenhouse gas emissions died in Congress earlier this month. But most political and environmental activists say it is only a matter of time before some sort of cap-and-trade rule becomes law.
 

Climate Change Resolutions Gain Steam in ’08

May 28, 2008

Since the turn of the century, investor activists have been pushing public companies toward more disclosure about climate change and similar issues. Only recently have companies really started listening to—and granting—their demands.
 

New CSR Paradigm: Share the Wealth, Blame

May 20, 2008

Corporate America is shifting from a business model where the shareholders who take all of the risk reign supreme to one in which shareholders share the social value limelight with other constituents: communities, suppliers, laborers, environmentalists, and the public. This is all occurring under the rubric of corporate social responsibility.
 

Leveraging CSR Up the Supply Chain

April 29, 2008

Like a tsunami created by an unpredictable earthquake, last year’s recall of nearly 1 million lead-tainted products by toy maker Mattel created a chain reaction that continues to create ripple effects throughout Corporate America.
 

How Sustainability Works at Pitney Bowes

October 30, 2007

When it comes to corporate sustainability, $5.9 billion mailstream technology company Pitney Bowes knows the ropes.
 

Sustainability as Corporate Growth Strategy

October 10, 2007

Eco-friendly corporate policies are gaining steam these days among investors and lawmakers alike. U.S. businesses are starting to feel the heat.
 

The Ethics of Addressing Sustainability Issues

September 05, 2007

Imagine waking up from the following nightmare: massive floods caused by global warming; four-year-olds running large machines in dark factories; a village of shacks razed to make way for a new chemical plant. And above it all, the CEO of your company behind the curtain, controlling everything.
 

Sustainability Gains Ground As ERM Tool

November 21, 2006

Whether lured by the promise of new opportunity or pushed by the fear of mounting risks, a growing number of public companies are starting to think a little more altruistically—and paying more attention to their ability to sustain themselves well into the future.
 

Sustainability In Practice: The Unilever Example

Andrew Savitz and Karl Weber August 01, 2006

One way to begin to develop a sustainability program is to examine your corporate strategy to identify the sweet spot: the place where your business interests and the interests of society overlap. Like General Electric’s Ecomagination or Toyota’s Prius, your business strategy and your approach to meeting society’s needs must ultimately be one and the same, not two separate programs working in parallel.
 

Building A System To Report Sustainability

Savitz Andrew W. July 25, 2006

Knowing what data to gather and how to report it poses many practical challenges. But a new, powerful reporting paradigm has emerged to address these challenges: the triple bottom line.
 

The Sweet Spot: Where Profit Meets Common Good

Andrew Savitz and Karl Weber July 18, 2006

Sustainability, also known as corporate social responsibility, incorporates the idea that companies can become more profitable by doing the right thing.
 

Managing Privacy Compliance As A Public Company

May 31, 2006

Driven by increased regulatory scrutiny, a spate of headline-grabbing, high-profile security breaches and a subsequent flurry of state legislation, privacy issues now sit high on the list of concerns that keep corporate executives awake at night.
 

Investors Bring Climate Change To A Simmer

Taub Stephen May 23, 2006

Global warming, it seems, is finally starting to heat up concern in corporate boardrooms. Driven by government regulations on climate damage such as the Kyoto Accords, plus public pressure agitated by environmental groups, global warming as emerged as one of the more prominent specific issues executives must face if they embrace the concept of corporate social responsibility.
 

CSR Unchecked: The Risks Of Doing Good

O'Hara Neil May 23, 2006

Pioneers in the corporate social responsibility movement may win plaudits for trying to serve the public good—but without due caution, they can just as easily find that no good deed goes unpunished.
 

Choosing Right Leadership, Organization For CSR

Martinek Paul J. May 23, 2006

In the still-evolving field of corporate social responsibility, there’s no right way or wrong way of structuring a CSR function, experts say. And despite the inherent legal risks associated with CSR programs, considerable disagreement exists as to how much involvement a company’s lawyers should have.
 

Seeing Risk, Opportunity In Climate Change

October 11, 2005

The national headlines and global business reports were anything but quiet last month. Hurricane Katrina. Oil prices at $70 a barrel. Gas prices above $3 a gallon. Refineries off-line. Hurricane Rita.
 

Gadflies Go Mainstream: Governance Gets Institutionalized

August 09, 2005

What happens when gadflies become mainstream? Over the past 20 years, corporate governance has evolved from a noisy, often dismissible, gadfly movement into a mainstream corporate activity. Market players now recognize it as an enabler of value creation, and regulators see it as a pillar of business integrity. As investors, we’re all in favor of that. But compliance officers now have to bear the brunt of unintended, and possibly unwanted, consequences of governance gone mainstream.
 

SEC Clarifies Proxy Exclusions On Independence, Other Issues

Martinek Paul J. July 19, 2005

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Corporation Finance has issued a Staff Legal Bulletin clarifying circumstances in which a company can omit from proxy materials proposals calling for director independence and ones relating to environmental and health issues.
 

Money Talks: Brokers Getting Paid To Track Social Impact

March 08, 2005

Executives heard the drone of exhortations from social activists for years: Quit apartheid South Africa. Stop selling tobacco. Go green. Mostly the campaigns amounted to harmless nattering, with little if any impact on the bottom line; despite advocates building a business case for social responsibility—you know the argument: boost earnings by doing good—the pressure to date has turned out to be shrill sound and little fury.
 

Funds Create Financial Incentive For Analysts To Screen For Governance

Quinn Lawrence Richter December 14, 2004

Frustrated with sell-side analysts’ failure to screen companies for governance risks, a consortium of European funds with over $400 billion in assets recently announced a plan to steer 5 percent of commissions to brokers who includes such analysis of intangibles into their research.
 
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