ESG Skim for Corporate Reporters – Volume 1, Issue 4

ESG Skim for Corporate Reporters – Volume 1, Issue 4

No dog days of summer here in ESG land. While many folks are taking a slower pace, the ESG industry has been steadily advancing the goalposts toward consistent, material and standardized disclosure of environmental, social and governance performance in public companies.

July game changer: Morningstar takes lead ESG position
Morningstar announced a 40% stake in Sustainalytics, one of the leading ESG ratings and analyst firms globally. As a result of this checkmate move, the word on the ESG street is MSCI and Morningstar are now the two dominant ESG ratings players, leaving all else behind. This is a significant milestone in the ESG industry, providing two robust options for investors to access extensive ESG data and analysis on public companies, from two of the most trusted names in the financial data services business.

Breaking in August: Is occupational health and safety a material Issue? 

Um…yes. The Center for Safety and Health Sustainability (CSHS), representing a mere 100,000 workplace safety and health professionals worldwide, released its study on the most sustainable companies’ OHS reporting. Corporate Knights’ Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations was the sample for looking at  how occupational injuries, illnesses and fatalities are reported. Key findings? Not so good: not consistent; not-decision-useful; not reporting even common safety and health performance indicators; and not getting better with time.

A surprise data point? OHS was cited by only 45 of the 74 organizations who actually shared their materiality analysis.

So, to get everyone on the same page, CSHC recommends setting a base of two simple indicators: how many of your firm’s locations have OHS management systems, and how many are audited by an independent third party. CSHS also advocates reporting OHS in their supply chains -perhaps because of a tendency to leave supply chains out of the picture (one company reported no employee fatalities, and 27 deaths in their supply chain).  Here are the deets.

Morgan Stanley sees the future: Are millennials democratizing sustainable investing?

Millennials are democratizing everything, so yup. A nice play by Morgan Stanley (MS), taking it to the streets with ESG products aimed at millennials who, more than any other group, ever, invest with their values and are driving the 135% growth in sustainable investing since 2016. To serve them, MS announced a release of an ESG investment platform that’s right-sized for early career millennials. ESG gone mainstream? Yup, if you’re under 40, starting your wealth building expedition, and part of the largest demographic cohort ever to hit North American public markets. Also yup, if you’re Morgan Stanley, or Starbucks, or (your brand?)…. and that’s why they’re placing sustainability ads in hyper-growth, millennial-media like Axios (which didn’t exist seven months ago)!


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Susan Sheehan expands communications opportunities where technology innovation and sustainability-driven industries intersect. In her role as Vice President of Sustainability Consulting, Susan helps organizations evaluate their environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance, develop sustainability goals and enhance their reputation through targeted messaging and communications. Using proprietary analytics, Susan counsels clients on applying business communications and sustainability strategies to improve their ESG profile relative to peers and leaders. By building impactful CSR programs targeting the financial community, customers and other influential stakeholders, Susan helps companies gain maximum value from their sustainability investments. Susan contributes to industry panels and events, including RR Donnelley’s Trends in Proxy Disclosure Seminars, Environmental Finance Advisory Committee of the University of Toronto, Earth Day Community Funds Program, The Climate Reality Institute, and Cleantech Canada. Susan has trained with Global Reporting Initiative, Mining Association of Canada’s Toward Sustainable Mining (TSM), The Sustainability Consortium and is a FSA Level 1 SASB candidate. She earned a B.A. from the University of Western Ontario and an M.B.A. from Richard Ivey School of Business. Planning and integrated design come naturally to Susan, whose personal interests include architecture, interior design and biomimicry, the ultimate design principles found in nature.


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