Meeting the Gold Standard in Corporate Sustainability

Measuring a company’s success in responsible corporate sustainability
Mar 1, 2016 2:45 PM ET

Social and environmental responsibility are more than just words

Are companies in the energy sector socially and environmentally responsible? How do you prove it?

International ‘sustainability’ investment experts — with the evidence to back it up — think they have the answers.

In fact, they believe that long-term survival for organizations has become increasingly dependent on their skillset in navigating sustainability issues and complex societal challenges. And many companies are doing exactly that.

“More and more investors look at companies’ environmental policies and track records in making their investment decisions,” says David Blitzer, Sustainability Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

“The Dow Jones Sustainability Indices are comprehensive benchmarks that allow investors to gauge the collective performance of those companies,” adds Blitzer.

RobecoSAM awards highlight leadership in sustainability

Case-in-point: TransCanada’s 2016 gold class sustainability distinction in the Sustainability Yearbook 2016 publication produced by RobecoSAM, announced earlier this year.

Eighteen other companies within the energy sector are also included in the same 2016 Sustainability Yearbook.

Eight key measurements in corporate sustainability

Among numerous measurements, companies were judged on their success in the following key areas:

  1. Manage greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. Limit total amounts of energy and water used in daily operations.
  3. Create positive social impacts on communities.
  4. Pay taxes to and invest in communities.
  5. Be prepared to minimize the impact of incidents.
  6. Ensure the safety of the general public, employee and contractors.
  7. Create initiatives with positive benefits for the indigenous communities.
  8. Ensure a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Seven ways TransCanada meets corporate sustainability

Based on sample data in our submission, following are seven key ways TransCanada addressed corporate sustainability:

  1. TransCanada ranked second in carbon disclosure among 200 organizations of similar market value on the London-based Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) report.
  2. One-third of the power generated by TransCanada continued to come from emission-less sources including nuclear, hydro, wind and solar.
  3. The company conducted 112 emergency drills and exercises across its entire network of assets in 2014.
  4. TransCanada paid $582 million in taxes in 2014 to local communities.
  5. The company generated a 36 per cent increase in business provided to indigenous companies — going from $66.5 million in 2013 to $104 million in work just one year later.
  6. 10 per cent of TransCanada’s workforce is now comprised of military veterans.
  7. The company employed a vigorous waste management process.

TransCanada’s recognition by DJSI is a clear indicator we are on the right track

Last year, TransCanada also earned recognition on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) World and North America indices with scores above the DJSI industry average in almost every category covering environmental, social and economic categories.

Fact is, organizations like TransCanada in the energy sector have been operating in a socially responsible way for decades. We just haven’t been very good at telling people about it.

“We know there is a real focus and scrutiny from the public these days on the transparency of sustainability reporting. So we have been pulling together, as a company, to provide the public with the meaningful and accurate information they’re looking for,” explains Cyril Elbers, TransCanada’s manager of Corporate Social Responsibility.