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

ESG Call to Action

ESG Call to Action

The current implementation of Environmental, Social and Governance programs mirrors the implementation of compliance programs in the late 1990s. ...

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ESG & Private Equity

ESG & Private Equity

By Roy Snell: I Forgot to Mention Private Equity’s Interest in ESG The PE folks are telling us ESG adds value to an organization. I wrote a list of...

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Hiring an ESG Consultant

Hiring an ESG Consultant

By Roy Snell I am an advisor for Osprey ESG Software.  I may be biased, but I personally know all the people who do our ESG consulting, and I have...

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ESG Haters

ESG Haters

By Roy Snell When I got involved in Environmental, Social and Governance programs I was very excited and ran...

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The Hitchhikers Guide to ESG

The Hitchhikers Guide to ESG

By Roy Snell

Douglas Adams, a rather humorous brit, wrote a book called the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.  The main character Arthur, hitchhikes through space, meeting many characters who are trying to find meaning in their lives. Aren’t we all?  Coincidently there are many characters in the Environmental, Social, and Governance movement trying to find meaning in their lives.  If you enter the ESG craze, you will meet these “ESG people.”  Some of these people are a bit terrifying, so the more you know about who they are and what they want, the easier it will be to work with them.

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ESG is more than just finger pointing, data collection, and reporting

ESG is more than just finger pointing, data collection, and reporting

By Roy Snell

I am really surprised how few people talk about implementing an ESG program to prevent, find and fix ESG related problems or improving your organization’s ESG metrics.  If you want an example of what I am talking about, go read the first paragraph on Wikipedia under the Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance section.  At the time of this writing, there was not a single sentence suggesting that you should look for ESG problems or how to look for them.  It doesn’t talk about improving your current ESG metrics.  I attended a few sessions of an ESG conference coordinated by a major player in the financial journalism field and did not hear any discussion about how to set up an ESG program. 

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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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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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Avoiding Chicken Little Syndrome with your ESG Program

Avoiding Chicken Little Syndrome with your ESG Program

By Roy Snell

There are many similarities between the evolution of the compliance profession and the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) profession.  One of the most important lessons we could take away from the compliance profession is what we learned about who we hired to work in and lead the compliance and ethics department.  We had some epic failures, and many very successful people entered the profession.  Recent events at Coke have highlighted the need to consider the differences between the skill set required to get us to this point in the evolution of ESG versus what we need going into the future. 

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The Perfect Greenwashing Enforcement Storm

The Perfect Greenwashing Enforcement Storm

By Roy Snell

Greenwashing is an offshoot of the word whitewashing, which is often used to describe the act of covering up vices, crimes, and scandals.  Greenwashing describes the act of exaggerating the environmental reporting of an organization.  Citizens of many countries are extremely upset about environmental issues and are livid about environmental exaggeration and cover-up. 

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Theme from an Imaginary Annual Report

Theme from an Imaginary Annual Report

By Mike Biernik

A well styled, diverse group of people sitting in front of a tree is not an ESG Program. In fact, if this contrived imagery does not reflect your organization, you are at risk of being exposed to your stakeholders.

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The Compliance Departments Role in ESG 

The Compliance Departments Role in ESG 

By Roy Snell

The number of ESG remated laws are staggering and growing every day. Many great people will help their organization improve their ESG program. However, we must use all the tools of a compliance program, audit, investigation, education, anonymous reporting, etc. to help ensure our organization is complying with all environmental, social and governance related laws. 

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