“Musing About the Alphabet Soup of ESG – SRI – CSR… et al!” – Governance and Accountability Institute – March 16, 2017

In a blog post published on March 16, 1027 Hank Boerner and Louis Coppola of Governance and Accountability (G&A) Institute examine what’s behind the diverse array of terminology in the sustainable investment sphere.  Their highly readable article explains that analyst, corporate and investor constituencies interpret differently the terms corporate social responsibility (CSR); environmental, social and governance (ESG); socially responsible investing (SRI); and sustainability.  Indeed, they uncover that the terms are often loaded with conceptions, misconceptions, pre-conceptions and even bias.

The commonly held myth that analysts never ask for ESG or sustainability data is put to the test.  Erika Karp, formerly with UBS and founder of Cornerstone Capital, explains:  ““You’re wrong, they are asking!  If you peel back the layers of the “E” (climate, biodiversity, water, energy, waste etc); the “S” (employee retention, training, community engagement, human rights, labor contracts, benefits); and the “G” (executive compensation, proxy resolutions, board makeup, board independence, board skills, board diversity, critical issues management, and oversight of the company’s key functions) — then you can listen to the quarterly calls and you will see that you are in fact getting questions on sustainability (or ESG issues).”  The authors agree with Erika.

You may read the blog post on the G&A Institute internet site.