Navigating the Way to Sustainability

Historic Event at Financial Crossroads of the World - The Inaugural SmartView Roundtable Event

 

       

 

“Ringing the Bell” at NASDAQ Market Site:
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Sustainable Investing and Integrated Corporate Sustainability Reporting 

Historic Event at Financial Crossroads of the World - 
The Inaugural SmartView™ Roundtable Event 

 

(New York, NY, May 2010)

The event was one for the books. On a Friday afternoon in May 2010, sustainable investing and integrated corporate sustainability reporting “rang the bell” at one of the major financial crossroads of the world at the NASDAQ OMX MarketSite in New York City’s Times Square.

 

CRD Analytics, in collaboration with partnering organizations, the NASDAQ OMX, and  Governance & Accountability Institute, on Friday May 14th hosted the inaugural “SmartViewTM Roundtable for Sustainable Investing. The venue was an invitation-only event for over 125 senior corporate leaders and professionals from the sustainability and investment community.

The Global ReportingInitiative (GRI) – pioneering developer of the world’s most widely-used sustainability reporting framework for companies and organizations – was the featured guest at the prestigious event at New York’s NASDAQ OMX Exchange. Events  included feature presentations and a panel of experts on the theme, “Sustainable Investing: What’s at Stake for Investors & Public Companies?”  Sean Harrigan, Vice Chairman of the GRI, “rang the closing bell” at day’s end.

The event opened with a major pre-recorded address by Prof. Mervyn King, Chairman and CEO of the GRI.


Celebrating a landmark day were: Sean Harrigan (second from right), Vice Chairman, GRI, Henry (Hank) Boerner (second from left) , Chairman/CEO of Governance & Accountability Institute, and Michael Muyot (center), President/Founder of CRD Analytics. Representing NASDAQ were : Robert Hughes, Director, Index Services, NASDAQ OMX Global Index Group (far left) and David Wicks (far right), Vice President of the NASDAQ OMX Group.

In a videotaped presentation produced recently in New York for the event, Prof. King called on all companies to adopt globally-standardized reporting practices for their environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance.

Prof. King told the assemblage: “It is clear that business cannot be conducted as usual; we have to learn to make more with less.  It is in this context that governance and the strategic direction in which we steer our companies long-term, cannot be separated from the sustainability issues relevant to the business of the company. As a first step, integrated reporting is essential, so that stakeholders can make an informed assessment as to whether the business of the company is sustainable in this new economy.  This is a journey which corporate leaders have to start.”

In commenting upon the event and beyond, Mike Wallace, Director, Sustainability Reporting Framework at GRI in Amsterdam, NL, said:  “We are looking forward to connecting with some of the world’s largest corporations listed on the NASDAQ, highlighting how GRI provides the best way to unlock the economic value of sustainability reporting. On this day, it can be said that integrated sustainability reporting planted its flag at one of the financial crossroads of the world. For the future of the world – for the business of the world – there can be no looking back.”

Henry (Hank) Boerner of Governance & Accountability Institute, one of the event’s partnering organizations, said:  “We applaud the effort of the definingglobal reporting framework of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). Although the USA is today greatly underrepresented (in percentage terms, with only 130 reporters in the GRI), this will change quickly.  Advocates for more climate change disclosure are pointing to the GRI as a de facto standard that public companies can voluntarily embrace and begin to comply with the SEC’s climate change disclosure guidance.

“The effects of climate change, supply chain, labor conditions, diversity record product life cycle, product stewardship, water usage and water waste, GhG’s impact on operations, the totality of carbon emissions – all are now very material and tangible [with demonstrable financial results] for a growing number of investors,” Mr. Boerner noted.

Mr. Boerner said that individual and institutional investors are encouraged by recent actions from the SEC under the leadership of Chair Mary Schapiro and they are filing record numbers of proxy resolutions related to climate change and linking these (in some cases) to executive compensation and other traditional corporate governance measures.”

“We all should stay tuned to new ESG and Sustainability frameworks, analytical models, methodologies and the tracking of Key Performance Indicators that institutional investors (asset owners and their managers) are adopting or embracing,” Mr. Boerner advised. 

Michael Muyot, President & Founder, CRD Analytics, said: "In less than six months we have more than achieved our goal of creating a great event with a world class panel of experts discussed not just our common challenges, opportunities but also the common messaging for solutions to building long term sustainable investing as a viable movement.  This landmark event incorporated a vigorous give-and-take and a healthy exchange of ideas from participants across the continent and across the globe. If today we can say that we have walked away from this significant event with a common set of talking points to help build assets using ESG research and analysis and we are more connected with our fellow sustainable investing colleagues, then this event can be considered a great success for years to come.”

GRI ringing the bell was historic: sustainability has arrived on the Street

Mr. Muyot stated: “We are proud to have co-hosted along with the Governance & Accountability Institute and NASDAQ the SmartView Roundtable event at the NASDAQ MarketSite in the heart of Times Square. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)  ringing the closing bell is a landmark sign that sustainability has arrived at Wall Street. The gathering on May 14th is going down in the books as significant tipping point. There is a palpable shift in the mind of the investor to look beyond quarterly earnings report. Sustainable investing can mean many different things to people. We define it as a new more long-term focused approach that incorporates a Triple Bottom Line (people, planet & profit) view into evaluating whether to invest in a company and how active a shareholder you need to be with the companies you own.”

Acknowledged leaders of the global investment community participated in a panel discussion on a timely subject: “Obstacles for Asset Building Using ESG. What’s the Solution?” They were:

  •  Paul Druckman, Chairman of the Prince of Wales Accounting for Sustainability Project, and Executive Chairman, Trucost
  • Mindy Lubber, President of CERES & Director, Investor Network on Climate Risk
  • Thomas W. Van Dyck, Senior Vice President, The Royal Bank of Canada, SRI Wealth Management
  • Peter Knight, President, Generation Investment Management
  • Paul Bouchey, Director of Research, Parametric Portfolio Associates
  • Daniel Allen, Director, Business Development, Ativo Capital Management LLC
  • William Brennan, President, Brennan Investment Partners
  • Moderator: Kenneth Markowitz, Akin Group

Those in attendance include asset managers, institutional investors, high net worth individuals, corporate social responsibility officers, chief sustainability officers, chief financial officers, chief risk officers and investor relations officers.  Attendees networked with experts and peers on such issues as the signals being received by asset managers from such regulatory entities as the SEC; how the investment community currently views climate change as a financial concern; how investment managers assess the performance of Environmental Social Governance (ESG) and Socially Responsible Investment (SR) portfolios; and the obstacles to funding flowing into products utilizing ESG screening methodologies.

John Jacobs, Executive Vice President, NASDAQ OMX, commented, “We were pleased that such an important event took place at the NASDAQ MarketSite. This was a meaningful discussion on sustainable investing, an issue of increasing global significance.”

Also at the event the three chosen winners of the SmartView Eco Entrepreneur Challenge attended to present their green start-up ideas. Their audience: senior financial executives, sustainability officers and CEOs, members of the Global Reporting Initiative, pioneering developer of the world’s most widely used sustainability framework, and executives from a number of significant organizations and companies including Ceres, Trucost, Royal Bank of Canada, Generation Investment Management, Parametric Portfolio, Ativo Capital Management, Brennan Investment Management, and Akin Gump.

The winners were:

*Agavenol ™, the future of ethanol feedstock (www.agavenol.com) comprising Cesar Raul Gonzalez and Marco Ugarte, Arizona State University students.  

*Arun Storrs, the RUNI Collection, Yale, New Haven (www.therunicolection.blogspot.com; www.therunicollection.etsy.com) Mission: to create an eco-fashion line that models ethical and environmentally-sustainable business practices by merging fashion (“create beautiful fashion that appeals to both eco and non eco customers”); the environment (“Develop a cradle to cradle product life cycle”) and women’s empowerment (“Establish a fair trade women’s cooperative to employ and empower young Nepalese women.”

*Nom^3  (“Nom, Nom, Nom, the sound of a happy customer”)  “A food truck. A food revolution.” This is start-up from Columbia University students in New York. NOM (3) is comprised of: Gita Deo, Cindy Zhang, Gelseigh Karl-Cannon, Vivian Luo and Dehui Kong. Nom (3) can be a food bus, a co-op restaurant and can be expanded regionally and nationally across college campuses.  “From the student body, we have discovered an unmet need of the community: demand for healthy, fresh and sustainable food options,” the Columbia entrants said in their proposal.  

For interviews with the principals and participants of the SmartView Roundtable or for artwork from the event, please contact Peter M. Hamilton at Governance & Accountability Institute (516) 248-2383 x 18 or via email at phamilton@ga-institute.com.

About CRD Analytics
CRD Analytics is an independent provider of investment analytics. The company's rigorous evaluation of financial, social, environmental and governance data is used to quantitatively determine the potential sustainability of a company, industry sector or investment portfolio, allowing for informed investment decisions and delivering optimized, risk-adjusted sustainable performance. Using its proprietary, patent-pending SmartViewTM Platform, CRD Analytics empowers its clients with actionable and performance-driven information distilled from large sets of complex data.  For more information visit: www.crdanalytics.com

About the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
The Global Reporting Initiative has pioneered the development of the world’s most widely used sustainability reporting framework and is committed to its continuous improvement and application worldwide. This framework sets out the principles and indicators that organizations can use to measure and report their economic, environmental, and social performance.  For more information visit: www.globalreporting.org

About G&A Institute
The Governance & Accountability Institute is a knowledge management organization that identifies, monitors and reports on ESG and Sustainability market players and third party analytics and ratings organizations and makes this knowledge available to subscribers through the INSIGHTS-edge Web platform.  For more information visit: http://www.ga-institute.com

About SmartViewTM
SmartViewTM constantly screens and filters its database of over 5,000 global companies to evaluate an investment's sustainable performance value - a rating of a company's total financial, environmental, social and governance performance. Through extensive statistical analysis and testing, the system has determined the metrics that matter. SmartViewTM uses 200 metrics that has been proven to have a strong correlation with outperformance and improved shareholder value.  The SmartViewTM platform was one of the first systems to use the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G3 guidelines in its index methodology to publicly list the NASDAQ OMX CRD Global Sustainability 50 Index (QCRD).

About QCRD
The NASDAQ OMX CRD Global Sustainability 50 Index is an equally weighted equity index that serves as a benchmark for stocks of companies that are taking a leadership role in sustainability performance reporting and are traded on a major US stock exchange. The Index is comprised of companies that are most comprehensively disclosing their carbon footprint, energy usage, water consumption, hazardous and non-hazardous waste, employee safety, workforce diversity, management composition and community investing. These are companies that are voluntarily disclosing their current environmental, social and governance risks as well as their revenue opportunities and how it will affect future performance.  For more information about the NASDAQ OMX CRD Global Sustainability 50 Index, go to https://indexes.nasdaqomx.com/data.aspx?IndexSymbol=QCRD&menuIndex=0

About NASDAQ OMX
The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. is the world's largest exchange company. It delivers trading, exchange technology and public company services across six continents, with approximately 3,700 listed companies. NASDAQ OMX offers multiple capital raising solutions to companies around the globe, including its U.S. listings market, NASDAQ OMX Nordic, NASDAQ OMX Baltic, NASDAQ OMX First North, and the U.S. 144A sector. The company offers trading across multiple asset classes including equities, derivatives, debt, commodities, structured products and exchange-traded funds. NASDAQ OMX technology supports the operations of over 70 exchanges, clearing organizations and central securities depositories in more than 50 countries. NASDAQ OMX Nordic and NASDAQ OMX Baltic are not legal entities but describe the common offering from NASDAQ OMX exchanges in Helsinki, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Iceland, Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius. For more information about NASDAQ OMX, visit http://www.nasdaqomx.com. *Please follow NASDAQ OMX on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/NASDAQ-OMX/108167527653) and Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/nasdaqomx). 

Media contacts:

NASDAQ OMX Media Contacts:
Jolene Libretto, +1.646.441.5220
Jolene.Libretto@nasdaqomx.com 

Robert Madden, +1.646.441.5045
Robert.Madden@nasdaqomx.com 

Wayne Lee, +1.301.978.4875
Wayne.D.Lee@NASDAQOMX.Com

NASDAQ OMX Issuer and Investor Contact:
Lisa Chaney, +1.301.978.8281
Lisa.Chaney@NASDAQOMX.Com

CRD Analytics Contact:
Michael Muyot
+1.646.375.2122 x2280
mmuyot@crdanalytics.com

CRD Analytics Media Contact:
Peter M. Hamilton
+1.516.248.2383 x18, Cell 516.375.6434
phamilton@ga-institute.com 

Governance & Accountability Institute Contact:
Peter M. Hamilton, +1.516.248.2383 x18
Cell 516.375.6434, phamilton@ga-institute.com