Less Transparency = Less $$$?

April 12, 2010

We’ve written a lot at Business Wired on the subjects of disclosure and transparency, including the causal relationship between increased communication and capital market benefits.  Looks like there’s even more evidence for transparency being good for companies’ bottom lines — and for lack of transparency hurting them:

After 11 years of publishing a list of the best corporate citizens, Corporate Responsibility Magazine plans to introduce in its April-May issue, out this week, its first-ever “black list” of the worst companies, or those that are the least transparent.

Transparency, as the magazine defines it, means making information about practices like employee benefits, climate-change policies or philanthropic efforts publicly available.

Dirk Olin, editor in chief of Corporate Responsibility Magazine, notes that, when compiling data for the article, they were able to find 30 corporations with no relevant data at all on those topics available publicly.  That group includes such corporations as clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch and weight loss specialists Weight Watchers.

And what does that mean for shareholders of those companies?

The best corporate citizens list . . . had a total return on shareholder value of 2.37 percent over three years. But the 30 worst had a negative 7.38 percent return.

“Our aggregate analyses,” Mr. Olin said, “make a strong argument for the business case for transparency.”

Corporate Responsibility’s full “Black List” will be published next Wednesday, April 24.


Corporate Social Responsibility Update

February 2, 2010

The piece below was authored by our friend Hank Boerner, Chairman of the Governance & Accountability Institute, Inc. on the newly approved SEC guidance relating to climate change risk.  Feel free to contact Business Wire with any questions regarding this update.

SEC DECISION RAISES THE BAR FOR CORPORATE (ISSUER) DISCLOSURE ON SUSTAINABILITY RISKS

One more shoe drops – this one a size 15 or more – in the rising and accelerating importance of ESG & Sustainability corporate key performance indicators and ESG-related factors for investment management and financial analysis, as well as for corporate senior executives, boards, and management specialists (e.g., investor relations officers, legal counsel, corporate secretaries, ESH managers, marketing officers).

On January 27, 2010 the SEC Commissioners approved an “Interpretive Release” (issuer guidance) on existing disclosure requirements related to business risk on the issue of climate change. (The vote was 3-2 along political party lines.)

The SEC did not make statements on, recognize, or endorse positions (pro or con) on climate change. It did not create new legal requirements or modify existing requirements. It did not refine the definitions of materiality to include “climate change” or “global warming.”

The SEC decision, says Chair Mary Schapiro, “…will help public companies in determining what does and does not need to be disclosed…will provide clarity and enhance the consistency of disclosure…the discussions, debates and decisions taking place in the USA and elsewhere on this topic have implications under our existing, long-standing disclosure rules…”

Four critical areas were addressed:

  • The Impact of Legislation and Regulation (corporate disclosure issue: how will these if proposed or adopted affect the company?)
  • The Impact of International Accords (the EU has “carbon” regulations; “Cap & Trade” legislation is being considered by the federal government; global accords could follow – disclosure issue: how would/do these affect the company?)
  • Indirect Consequences of Regulation Business Trends (disclosure issue: what legal, technological, political and scientific developments [regarding climate change] may create new risks or opportunities for the company?)
  • Physical Impacts of Climate Change (disclosure focus: the company should evaluate the actual or potential material impacts of environmental matters on their business. Note that the SEC has mandated certain environmental disclosure over the past 30 years.)

Read the rest of this entry »


New on Twitter: Corporate Social Responsibility News

November 6, 2009

You may have noticed a new addition to the “Follow Us on Twitter” box over at the right:  @BWCSRNews.  Anna-Christina Cabrales, our Global Disclosure & Financial Reporting specialist, will be tweeting the latest in Corporate Social Responsibility news from Business Wire as well as links to other CSR-related topics around the Web.  Make sure to follow her and keep up on everything CSR!


Target the World with Your Financial News

March 26, 2009

The upcoming G20 summit meeting in London, at which world leaders will gather to discuss the global economic situation, shows perfectly how the worlds of business and finance don’t stop at national borders.  Your company’s or organization’s news can have an impact around the world, so it’s crucial to target markets outside the US with your economic news.  Here’s a look at just a few of our options for reaching your targets internationally:

globe_lg1Global Financial Media:  Target media, investors and key financial newspapers, trade publications and news outlets in 117 countries and translation into more than a dozen languages.

Asia-Pacific Financial Media:  Target key broadcast and print media, as well as financial newspapers, trade media and websites, throughout the Asia-Pacific region.  Includes full-text translation into four languages.

Europe Financial Media: Send your news to 30 nations, including all of the EU members, Russia and key markets in Eastern Europe.  Reaches consumer and general media plus hundreds of financial-specific publications with translation into five languages.

London Metro:  Reach print and broadcast media throughout the London area, site of the G20 summit, via the Press Association, the national news agency of the UK.

Public Policy Wire:  Don’t forget to target government policymakers and other opinion leaders in the US with news that impacts public policy.

CSR Circuit:  Finally, publicize your corporate citizenship efforts with distribution to leading Corporate Social Responsibility publications and thought leaders, Socially Responsible Invesment funds,  academics, activists and financial analysts.

For a complete list of distribution options visit our Distribution Catalogue, or contact your local bureau for pricing and options.


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