12 Steps to Best Practice ESG Reporting

We spotted this in F&C’s Corporate Governance Guidelines document published earlier in the year, and took the liberty to share. Particularly interesting for IR teams responsible for communicating ESG matters to investors.

Basic: 

  • Identify significant ESG risks and opportunities for the business
  • Establish and explain board accountability for ESG issues
  • Set out policies for significant ESG issues and explain how they are implemented and monitored
  • Establish and disclose targets and Key Performance Indicators for significant ESG issues covering global operations
  • Describe systems for training board members and staff on ESG issues
  • Report on performance against policies

Best Practice:

  • Explain how ESG policies link to key operational and financial drivers
  • Describe procedures for consulting key stakeholders and provide feedback on the range of views
  • Discuss challenges and set-backs as well as success stories
  • Describe procedures for verifying data including external verification
  • Take account of widely-accepted reporting standards such as the Global Reporting Initiative
  • Describe how ESG objectives are embedded into the corporate culture, including how they are reflected in remuneration policies and other performance management tools

Source: F&C, Global Corporate Governance Guidelines, January 2014

3 steps to make the most of your digital IR Strategy

There were many trends and topics covered during this year’s annual conference of the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) in June 2014 in Las Vegas. From social media to corporate access, there was significant interest from IROs on how to navigate the changing world of IR and the potential role that technology can play.

As the number of institutional investors with global mandates continues to expand, IR teams are presented with new opportunities to engage with new investors around the world.  However, the traditional means of discovering, accessing and engaging with thousands of new investors will not be sufficient to address this rapidly growing opportunity.

So how can IR teams use today’s digital tools to manage their workflow and ensure they are accessible to the increasingly growing investment community? We present 3 steps for you to consider.

1) The first step is to maintain a best practice digital presence of your company to investors. This process starts with understanding available tools and creating a digital IR toolkit, which may consist of a combination of the IR website, email distribution list, social media channels and potentially a mobile app. The digital strategy should also encompass monitoring your company’s presence on data platforms such as Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg or Yahoo! and Google Finance. The following six questions need to be considered;

  • Have I considered my target audience and clearly set out the objectives behind the digital strategy and respective metrics of success?
  • Have I identified the appropriate digital channels for my IR strategy?
  • Have I considered the resource implications involved with each digital tool?
  • Is the information on my corporate profile correct and up-to-date on key financial data platforms?
  • Am I leveraging digital media to stay up to date with institutional investor views? Am I keeping track of thought leadership material and comments published by important  investors?
  • How is my IR team staying ahead of developments in technology? Do we have a process to evaluate new digital platforms?

2) The second step is to understand, in as much depth as possible, the dynamics behind the company’s digital activity. This means understanding the profile of investors viewing the various components of your equity story through respective tools. It is also important to be aware how the patterns are changing over time in order to draw meaningful conclusions which may impact the overall IR strategy.

  • Do I understand the activity behind my IR page (ex. total number of investor views per month, profile of the investor, breakdown of unique versus returning, geographical profile, average time spent on page, most frequently visited sections)?
  • How closely am I monitoring engagement via social media channels?
  • Do I know what is the most (and least) frequently viewed or downloaded material?
  • Can I easily quantify the return on investment of my digital media strategy? How often do I review this?

3) Finally, after analysis of underlying analytics over a period of time, it is important to draw meaningful conclusions and seek alignment with broader IR strategy.

  • Do the results from my digital media plan fit into my broader IR goals? How often do I assess this and what metrics do I use to reach conclusions?
  • Are my resources focused on digital media allocated efficiently?
  • How often do I review my digital media plan and make necessary adjustments?