Baruch College Provides Industry-Based Rankings of Corporate Social Responsibility Reports

Aviva plc Ranks #1 for Finance & Insurance
On Baruch College’s CSR-Sustainability Monitor

NEW YORK, NY- July 22, 2015 — As investors and other company stakeholders increasingly factor corporate social responsibility into their decision-making, Baruch College’s CSR-Sustainability Monitor provides industry-based rankings of the quality of CSR reports of 614 of the largest companies worldwide.

Aviva plc, a UK-based multinational insurer, ranks #1 for CSR reporting among 110 companies in the finance and insurance industry, according to a new report from the Weissman Center for International Businessat Baruch, which created the Monitor. At 71 points out of 100, Aviva easily outpaces runner-up Banco Bradesco S.A. of Brazil. The highest-ranking American company is State Street Corporation, in 8th place.

The 2014 CSR-Sustainability Monitor, available at www.csrsmonitor.org, was awarded an Honorable Mention by PR News in the category of Sustainability/CSR Report. The online version enables users to search companies and review their CSR report quality scores in a variety of industries and across regions. In addition, users can conduct side-by-side comparisons of companies to review CSR disclosure scores by industry. A previous industry report covered mining and oil & gas companies.

A growing number of companies are communicating with the public about their non-financial risks and impacts in annual CSR reports. Information in these reports is widely used by investors and other company stakeholders in their decision-making, though a majority are dissatisfied with the content of CSR reports. Even within the same industry, reports vary significantly in terms of the topics covered, the scope of information provided, and the use of third party assurance. Now that so many companies recognize the importance of having a CSR report, the quality of information in these reports seems to be emerging as the next big issue.

In order to improve the quality of CSR reports and enhance comparability and transparency, researchers at the Weissman Center for International Business, under the direction of University Distinguished Professor S. Prakash Sethi and Saxe Distinguished Professor of Finance Terrence F. Martell, developed the CSR-Sustainability Monitor. The Monitor scores reports based on a set of the most common CSR topics. The effectiveness of a company’s CSR report depends to a large extent on the level of credibility that the company’s stakeholders attach to it. That is why the Monitor, in its screening process, also measures the degree to which the reporting company provides integrity assurance as to the accuracy and completeness of the information it is disclosing.

The CSR-S Monitor:

  • offers a range of measures for comparing CSR reports in terms of their scope of coverage and depth of information;
  • enables companies to compare their reports across industry and region, creating a market-driven incentive for companies to improve their CSR reporting to gain competitive advantage resulting in higher quality non-financial information to the investing public;
  • provides guidance for companies initiating their own CSR reporting; and offers the institutional investing community, and the analysts that support that community, an independent assessment of the quality of CSR information.

About the Weissman Center for International Business:

Founded in 1994, the Weissman Center for International Business is designed to enable Baruch College to respond to the global economy with programs appropriate to a preeminent school of business. Guided by an advisory council of distinguished executives, the Center’s activities enrich Baruch students’ preparation for careers in the global work-place by building bridges between the worlds of academia and international business.

About Baruch College:

Baruch College is a senior college in the City University of New York (CUNY) with a total enrollment of more than 18,000 students, who represent 160 countries and speak more than 100 languages. Ranked among the top 15% of U.S. colleges and the No. 4 public regional university, Baruch College is regularly recognized as among the most ethnically diverse colleges in the country. As a public institution with a tradition of academic excellence, Baruch College offers accessibility and opportunity for students from every corner of New York City and from around the world. For more about Baruch College, go to http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Kirk Petersen, (646) 660-6124, kirk.petersen@baruch.cuny.edu

Mercedes Sanchez, (646) 660-6112, mercedes.sanchez@baruch.cuny.edu

Evelisse Luciano, (646) 660-6134, evelisse.luciano@baruch.cuny.edu