BASKING RIDGE, N.J. - Eighty-seven percent of investor relations professionals say they believe companies can improve long-term shareholder value through better carbon management - reducing emissions that affect the environment - and that communications technologies can help companies achieve their overall corporate social responsibility goals.
Those are among the key findings of a new study conducted by Verizon Business and IR magazine. It investigated the drivers - governmental, regulatory, stakeholder or financial - that are pushing environmental concerns to the top of the investor relations agenda, and identified how these concerns are affecting overall investor relations practices.
The report, which drew 150 responses from IR magazine's global readership, found that investor relations professionals are increasingly interested in new communications tools that can help reduce a corporation's energy usage and overall carbon footprint.
Roberta Mackintosh, executive director of global voice, unified communications and collaboration at Verizon Business, said, "This study shows the increasing weight that investor relations professionals are giving to climate-change issues. Verizon Business sees a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to help our customers work smarter. We can help them make better use of technologies to work more efficiently for their business and for the environment.
"We know that collaboration is a key driver of overall business performance; this study suggests that using collaborative technologies as part of an overall carbon management strategy also makes good business sense," Mackintosh added.
Other findings by the study include:
- Sixty percent of the respondents say corporate social responsibility (CSR) concerns affected their decision to use technology to achieve business efficiencies - perhaps not surprising since fifty percent also say that senior management are the key drivers of carbon reduction and broader CSR initiatives.
- Seventy-one percent are already using audio/video and Web conferencing technologies to communicate with stakeholders, and indicate the use of technology to complement face-to-face meetings looks to become increasingly important as companies operate on a global stage.
- About twenty-five percent are already using technology to communicate with a closed interest group such as financial analysts.
- Twenty-one percent use conferencing to communicate with broad interest groups such as private shareholders.
- Forty-five percent say that shareholders are increasingly engaged in overall CSR policy, and forty-three percent already include carbon-reduction measures as a key part of overall CSR policies.
[A podcast outlining content from a webinar, "Collaborative Technologies to Enhance your CSR and Carbon Reduction Initiatives," hosted by IR Magazine and with speakers from Verizon Business, Webex and PURE, is available at http://www.podtech.net/home/5352/study-links-carbon-management-with-shareholder-value. The IR magazine study overview is available at www.verizonbusiness.com/resources/irmagazine.pdf. ]
Investor Professionals Increasingly Focus on Carbon Issues
An increasing number of investor organizations are now focusing on carbon foot-printing. The Carbon Disclosure Project, a nonprofit organization that represents 385 institutional investors with combined assets of more than $57 trillion, including Allianz, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Merrill Lynch and Verizon, seeks annual reports from the world's largest companies regarding the business implications of climate change. In addition, many of the world's most influential institutional investors are also now signatories to the Principles for Responsible Investment.
Phil Wolski, a fundraiser at the London-based charity PURE Clean Planet Trust UK, said, "A lot of companies are surprised to learn that 95 percent of their shareholders are Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) signatories." As the CDP embarks on a global carbon mapping process, the corporations that it deals with increasingly have to explain their strategies for dealing with climate-change risk.
Verizon Business is one of the world's largest providers of audio, video and web conferencing services, delivered as part of a portfolio of integrated, network-based IP communication applications and collaboration services. IP networks provide a foundation for unified communications and collaboration to help multinational organisations achieve higher levels of productivity, helping people and companies work smarter.
About IR Magazine
IR magazine is the only global publication focused on the interface between companies and their investors. In addition, IR magazine hosts 15 annual awards ceremonies, conferences and roundtable events throughout the world. Visit www.thecrossbordergroup.com for more information.
About Verizon Business
Verizon Business, a unit of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), operates the world's most connected public IP network and uses its industry-leading global-network capabilities to offer large-business and government customers an unmatched combination of security, reliability and speed. The company integrates advanced IP communications and information technology (IT) products and services to deliver leading enterprise solutions including managed services, security, mobility, collaboration and professional services. These solutions power innovation and enable the company's customers to do business better. For more information, visit www.verizonbusiness.com.