Sunday, April 27, 2014

Forest City says (flawed) Corporate Social Responsibility report leads to "intangible value" boost

I wrote in August 2013 how Forest City Enterprises' first Corporate Social Responsibility Report got Atlantic Yards wrong, ignored the Ridge Hill corruption scandal, and omitted requested data on campaign contributions, displacement, and government assistance.

Well, now that flawed report is part of corporate public relations, notably being used increase the "Intangible Value Assessment" on one scale.

According to a 12/4/13 post on Green Biz, CSR gives Forest City Enterprises a ratings boost:
Companies often illustrate long-term trends such as increased stock prices or lower employee turnover to prove the value of CSR and transparency. It is rare, however, that a company has the opportunity to cite a CSR report as the key piece of evidence for an immediate improvement in how external stakeholders view it. But for one company, that's exactly what's happened.
....The report garnered more than the attention and praise of many stakeholders -- it also directly supported an increase in Forest City's rating from a key investment research firm. Information about Forest City's initiatives and commitment to responsible business practices improved the company's MSCI Intangible Value Assessment rating, rising from a BB to an A in a single review period. 
The MSCI Intangible Value Assessment is a comprehensive review of a company's risks and opportunities beyond those typically examined in traditional financial analyses. Using industry analysis and peer benchmarking, MSCI evaluates a company on many Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors. The resulting ratings range from AAA on the high end to CCC on the low. Forest City's rating signifies an increase of two levels, representing a virtually unprecedented accomplishment for the company and reinforcing the importance of its commitment to CSR throughout its mission and core values as an organization.
Of course Forest City's omissions went unmentioned. Nor were the deceptions in marketing EB-5 investments mentioned.

More coverage

In a post on REIT.com, a 2/12/14 video and text covered Forest City Issues First Corporate Social Responsibility Report, featuring Jill Ziegler, the company's sustainability manager

“We’ve always had in the back of our mind that we wanted to report externally on all of our efforts, but we really wanted to have a handle on what we were doing and have some great programs in place and have something good to tell the public, Ziegler said. “So I think we just felt it was time.”

In the video below, Chris Heinz of EnergyCAP, Inc. interviews Ziegler and colleague Joyce Mihalik.



"I also just generally love our urban, mixed-used developments and the way we are able to preserve historic flavor and the historic urban fabric but also create modern... places for people to live and work and shop," one of the Forest City speakers says.

Apparently omitted is the "historic urban fabric" of the Brooklyn buildings they demolished for Atlantic Yards.

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