The Soul of ESG

Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) refers to three central factors in measuring the sustainability and societal impact of a company or business and, consequently, whether an investment in the company is worthwhile.

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Soul of ESG

Insights and Conversation Driving ESG’s Intellectual Energy and Essence of Being

ESG Data, the Stories It Can Tell

ESG Data, the Stories It Can Tell

By Bridge Taylor

This week I wanted to talk about the “why” of ESG. I’m nervous when ESG programs start at the behest of external stakeholders (investors, regulators, boards, etc.) demanding non-financial information but are not used to tell decision-useful stories. ESG can seem overwhelming, but this great new data should be used for analysis, not just box-ticking. As we look at these ESG metrics to better understand risks and opportunities in our organization that traditional accounting and risk management miss, we will fall flat on our face if we stop at data collection and never find our stories.

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ESG – Not just a Cost Center

ESG – Not just a Cost Center

By Roy Snell

The benefits of an effective ESG program are significant.  The key is hiring an ESG professional who can implement a focused ESG program tied to ESG metrics (goals) relevant to your organization and industry.  An effective ESG professional will help your organization limit your ESG metrics to those that can be tracked while being fiscally responsible. Below are some of the benefits your organization might encounter by implementing a strong ESG program.  If leadership questions the value of such a program, I would consider using a subset of these benefits that are most relevant to your leadership style, industry and organizational culture.

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Who will drive where ESG will be housed within your organization?

Who will drive where ESG will be housed within your organization?

By Roy Snell

The short answer is that it’s not. To me, with a background in financial accounting, ESG reporting is a logical extension of financial accounting, regulatory disclosure, and management’s discussion & analysis. Over the next couple of months, I’ll share my thoughts on ESG, non-financial reporting, and how to execute a successful ESG program.

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Why is ESG different?

Why is ESG different?

By Bridge Taylor and Roy Snell

The short answer is that it’s not. To me, with a background in financial accounting, ESG reporting is a logical extension of financial accounting, regulatory disclosure, and management’s discussion & analysis. Over the next couple of months, I’ll share my thoughts on ESG, non-financial reporting, and how to execute a successful ESG program.

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Bill Norris: A cautionary tale of ESG before Materiality

Bill Norris: A cautionary tale of ESG before Materiality

By Roy Snell

My father was a Vice President for Control Data, the undisputed supercomputer king at one point in time.  He used to tell stories about Seymour Cray, the greatest supercomputer architect of the period, coming to board meetings in a plaid shirt and a plaid disposition to match. One could argue that these people were at the epicenter of the digital revolution, the invention of the computer. No invention has changed the lives of humans like the computer in my humble opinion.

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ESG is New and Not New

ESG is New and Not New

By Roy Snell

One of the discussions I get into on a regular basis is about whether or not ESG is new.  I say it’s new and experienced and knowledgeable ESG folks say that it’s not new.  The not-new crowd points to the fact that we have had people working on corporate social responsibility, sustainability, governance, and social issues for years.  They say there are many experienced people in those professions and I agree with them on that point. However, the fact that we have been working on parts of ESG separately for years doesn’t mean that ESG is not new. 

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The ESG Profession Needs a Visionary

The ESG Profession Needs a Visionary

by Roy Snell I have hit an ESG wall.  I have been asking people some very basic questions about the ESG movement and I am not getting the right answers.  I am asking simple questions such as “What is the role of the Organizational ESG Officer” and I am getting many...

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How will ESG Officers Evolve?

How will ESG Officers Evolve?

By Roy Snell

As is often the case with a new high-level and complex role such as the Environmental, Social, and Governance Officer, the job description is often inconsistently defined.  One of the things we can do to help make things clearer is recognizing that the ESG Officer job description will be different depending on where they work.  For example, an ESG Officer in an investment firm might focus on assessing issuers ESG ratings for investment purposes.  On the other hand, ESG Officers working in a more typical organization might focus on collecting ESG metrics relevant to their industry and reporting that information at least annually.  I will be focusing on the role of the ESG officer who manages their organization’s ESG program in this post.

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Who gets credit for the success of ESG?

Who gets credit for the success of ESG?

By Roy Snell

When compliance programs exploded in the late 90s and early 2000s many people took credit for the idea.  The people taking credit for the growth expected to get credit, be the center of attention, and control how compliance programs evolved.  By definition they all couldn’t be the only group that invented it, but they acted as if they did.  When they didn’t get control and ownership of compliance some of them became frustrated.  One of these groups was the government.  A high ranking enforcement agent told me that if he and his department pulled their support, compliance programs and the compliance profession would come crumbling down. 

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