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Posts by Stephanie Prause

3 questions to prepare for investors who care about sustainability

Sustainability has been steadily increasing as a focus for the investor and corporate governance community. It’s been a slow shift, to be sure, but it’s happening. Two recent developments:

  • The proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) acquired IW Financial, a firm that provides environment, social and governance (ESG) research and consulting services.
  • Investment advisers State Street sent a letter to Boards of Directors urging them to be more transparent on efforts to manage climate change and other ESG hot topics.

Beyond the content of the announcements themselves, the way ISS and State Street are talking about ESG is worthy of attention. ISS asserts that there is a “growing demand” for ESG information within the investment community, while…

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Super Bowl ad and gender pay equity: does Audi walk the walk on gender diversity?

There’s no question that Audi’s Super Bowl ad featuring a gender pay equity message was bold.

If you haven’t seen it, the ad features a father pondering how to explain to his (race car driving) daughter that women are worth less in the workplace than men.

Taking on such a politically charged issue in such a politically charged time was an interesting choice for the luxury car company, and it’s certainly generated plenty of attention. But whether you praise the ad’s message or consider it a fail, perhaps the big question is: does Audi walk the walk?

It’s hard to rate the company’s performance on pay equity since it doesn’t disclose its pay structure (most companies do not). But it’s commitment and progress in the area of diversity and inclusion (D&I) are a telling…

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5 things to know about CSR/Sustainability under President Trump

As we tackle the many ways a Trump presidency may impact investor relations and public companies, it’s also worth examining how the landscape of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability may be affected. As with many issues, we do not yet know the reality of Trump’s plans or his ability to implement his agenda, but here are five things we do know about CSR/sustainability in a world with President Trump:

  1. We are likely to see some changes and rollbacks on the regulatory side of things. It seems clear that EPA is in for a shake-up, given Trump’s appointment of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, an outspoken climate change skeptic, to lead the agency. Exactly how much change is still unknown, but there’s a good chance, for example, that carbon…
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Diversity and inclusion: 4 tips for a better communications game plan

Diversity and inclusion has many business benefits, but just having a strategy and an active program is not enough. Communicating about those efforts is just as critical. Find out why and also check out our tips for the most effective D&I communications.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) continues to be both a priority and a challenge for corporate America. Despite the challenges, it’s hard to dispute the benefits of striving for more female and diverse leaders:

  • 85% of companies with a formal D&I program show an improved bottom line (source)
  • Businesses with diversity produce results that are 35% better than non-diverse businesses (source)
  • Companies with the most women board directors outperformed those with the fewest on ROIC by 26 percent (source)

While more…

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Sustainability Storytelling: More than just an annual opportunity

Issuing a regular (usually annual, sometimes biennial) CSR/sustainability report is now standard practice for many companies. Others will most likely be doing so in the next three to five years.  Of course, such reports can be quite a bit of work to pull together, with input and content coming from many sources within the company. On the other hand, it’s a great opportunity to be able to share a rich picture of all the sustainability/CSR activity that took place during the year.

I find it a shame, however, when companies confine all of their great content – examples, stories, data points, photos, etc. – only within the sustainability report. Once the report is published, these companies rely on readers to find the report themselves and read the entire thing in…

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