E - Environmental and Energy Related Issues

CORPORATE IMPACTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT   

  • Climate Change – Corporate Disclosure, Mitigation, Strategies
  • Global Warming – catchall category for numerous issues
  • Greenhouse Gasses (GHGs) – Emissions – Corporate Track Record
    • Reporting, Reduction, Mitigation, New Approaches, Plan for Future
  • Pollution – Emissions – Remediation –Industrial Facility Reporting
  • Landfills – Incinerators – Land Dumping – Water Discharge Practices
    • Federal and State Statutes; US EPA Regulations; State Enforcement
    • Community Impact – Sited Facilities – cooperation with community?
    • Transparency – Disclosure to Stakeholders
  • Commitment to / Track Record on / Remediation (Superfund clean up, etc.)
  • Energy Usage – Reduction – Alternative Sources (varies by industry)
  • Recycling – Re-Use (also Product Stewardship – an important element of “S”)
  • Waste Disposal – various issues
  • Corporation’s Carbon Footprint – Disclosure, Mitigation (could be critical as carbon taxes are imposed by the public sector; already voluntary carbon trading is growing; cap and trade is being adopted by governments in different countries )
  • Participation in Carbon Emissions Reduction Programs (emissions exchanges, industry coalitions, social sector coalitions)
  • Coal burning – clean or not – Utilities Industry
  • Doing Business with Despots
  • Disclosure, Transparency and Sustainability issues – does company report on emissions in emerging nations?  In the USA or EU?
  • Big Box Retailers – Emissions Reduction, Global Warming, Mitigation, Energy Use etc.
  • Pipelines – Oil and Gas Industries 
     

FINANCIAL SERVICES SECTOR – LENDERS – INVESTMENT BANKERS  

  • Financing – especially in Environmentally Sensitive Areas
  • Financing for contentious products and services
  • Compliance with protocols / agreements / guidelines (such as UNPRI)
  • Facilities network – reduction of energy usage / conservation
  • Treatment of Land, People and Resources - where Indigenous Peoples live (Brazil rain forest devastation example)
     

MARKETING – PRODUCT AND SERVICE STEWARDSHIP  

  • Product Stewardship – Ingredients, Manufacture, End Use
  • Life Cycle of Product (also a Stewardship issue)
  • Product Impact on the Environment – Consumer and Industrial goods
  • Product Impact on Sectors (e.g., Agriculture – farmers – land use etc.)
  • Extractive Industry Issues – Mining, Drilling industries especially sensitive
  • Going Green – Corporate Policies / Practices / Programs
    • Substantive… or greenwash/PR?  Business is greening…
  • Continuous Environmental Innovation – Processes, Products, Technologies
  • Clean Technologies – development of product & services (e.g. GE’s “EcoMagination initiative; reduces costs internally, improves process, results in external marketing opporunity)
  • Supply Chain – wages, conditions, enforcement of corporate guidelines  
     

GENERAL ISSUES AND CONCERNS – AREAS OF FOCUS  

  • Recycling – Re-Use – Landfills – Disposal
  • Energy Usage
  • Energy Conservation – Energy Reduction
  • Energy Alternatives (moving away from fossil fuels – solar etc.)
  • Nuclear Issues – Companies involved in nuclear power
  • Oil – Supply, Pricing, Exploration – Multiple issues involved
  • Forest Depletion - Reforestation – Preservation of Natural Resources
  • Water – Quantity, Quality, Pricing – Private Use, Public Use
  • Carbon Footprint – Measurement, Disclosure, Mitigation, Resolution
  • Protection / Conservation of Natural Resources
  • Participation in Coalition such as UN Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
  • Engagement / or not / with Third Party Activists, Analysts etc. (does management ignore or respond to, and engage with third party “watchers?”)
  • Positions on Genocide - Support, direct or indirect of governments of states where genocide it occurring (Sudan / Darfur currently)
  • Does Company support Environmental Justice? (various ways)  


SUSTAINABILITY (AND ESG) ISSUES – TRANSPARENCY, DISCLOSURE  

  • Does company have sustainability reporting in place?
  • Does company report [equally, fairly] on foreign matters / same as home country?
  • Disclosure on above issues (all categories)? 
  • Engagement with SRI Market Players and Civic and Social Advocates – real cooperation?  Transparency? Agreements?  Mitigation of issues.
  • Participation in Global Reporting Protocols / Programs for Emissions, Discharges, Impact on Air – Land – Water etc. (such as Global Reporting Initiative)

 

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ESG & SUSTAINABILITY ISSUES AND THE CORPORATION

Intersections of Corporate Policies, Practices, Behaviors and Shareholder and Stakeholder Issues and Concerns

Investor Activists may link corporate policies on pharmaceutical access and pricing (for vulnerable populations) to corporate governance actions – they have been filing shareholder-sponsored resolutions that link CEO compensation (governance issue) to company’s improvements in mitigating pharma access / pricing issues. Access to AIDS drugs is an example in recent shareholder campaigns.

Religious and faith-based institutional investors have been creating these intersections in recent years – thus linking “S” (societal) and “G” (governance) issues to bring pressure on the board and C Suite through publicity, comprehensive coordination of proxy voting activities, involvement of mainstream investors (such as public employee pension funds), and more.

Be sure to check the other checklists for ESG –

Corporate Governance Issues
Social Issues and Concerns

- The Institute Editors
- September 2008

 

Governance & Accountability Institute is a monitoring, intelligence-gathering and knowledge management center operating at the intersection of powerful forces reshaping relationships between stockholders and stakeholders, and the public corporation. The key players transforming the markets and interacting with corporate management and boards include fund owners and asset managers and their third party advisors-in sovereign wealth funds,socially responsible investment organizations, activist hedge funds, public pension funds, labor union funds, private equity firms, investment banks...and more.

G&A identifies key players, monitors their activities, conducts research, charts the players's influence on capital markets and companies, and provides news and intelligence through G&As "SustainabilityHQTM" advisory services. SustainabilityHQTM resources at the intersections of powerful capital markets players--and the public and private companies they invest in.