Q: How do you attract the attention of a company and the disdain of their CR head in one day?
A: Launch yet another ‘apples and oranges’ sustainability ranking top loaded with profitable pharma companies and banks.
(Remember? Those nice clean ethical banks whom many of the ‘socially responsible’ investment funds put your money in prior to 2008 as they fit the negative screens and only funded coal power, rather than delivered it.)
It’s an American (and to a lesser extent Canadian) obsession: List after list of nonsense corporate sustainability rankings comparing companies in different industries with differing liabilities and opportunities, against each other.
The motive: Publicity for the ‘publisher’, and cash for the ‘ranking’ company that does the so-called research. It’s all very cynical, and unhelpful.
As a company, you have to pay to find out why you are somewhere in the list, usually. And how you ‘performed’, according to a bunch of underpaid young analysts trying to measure the impossible from an office somewhere.
This absurd list, from the ‘social media’ (?) site Just Means, is the latest in a long line of these.
Other very silly ones include this one, from the ‘magazine’, that changes it’s name every couple of years, for some reason.
The best known is the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes. At least they focus, in part, on sector by sector comparisons.
Even that is difficult to support, given how all companies in the same sector are, geographically, product-wise and risk-wise, so totally different.
We’ve got get beyond this populist nonsense, and towards issue specific indexes, like this one, or better still, just compare a company with how it’s performed against, shock, horror, itself, over a five year period.
I’ll climb down from my soap box now. But you see why I stand on it sometimes.
One respected head of CR responded aptly on Twitter when I asked the question: “Do you pay too much attention to sustainability ‘rankings’ and ‘indexes’?”
“No”, he said. “I just ignore them all and focus on getting a real job done”.