18 Jul 2022
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting standards and frameworks are crucial to providing uniform and equivalent reporting of relevant ESG information. Several significant changes have occurred in the past year related to ESG reporting and during this year's summer school, our students had to analyze a real-life case and perform an ESG report.
Swiss campus for agro-food innovation
On Monday, the Summer school students boarded a bus that brought them to Agrico, a former industrial site owned by Novartis and now converted into an Innovation campus for the Agro-food industry. They were welcomed by Mélanie Costinas, the site manager, with a coffee and invited to the conference room where they would spend the rest of the morning. In the afternoon, they had the opportunity to discover Maison Amarella, an artisanal macaroon confectionery created by Alia Adi.
The students had been tasked to perform an ESG report on a simulations of real-life case that had been given to them the week before. They had to then present the results, in groups, in front of their peers. As we know, an ESG report is a report published by a company or organization about environmental, social and governance (ESG) impacts. It enables the company to be more transparent about the risks and opportunities it faces. It is a communication tool that plays an important role in convincing skeptical observers that the company’s actions are sincere.
White cross restaurant
The first group worked on the White Cross Restaurant, a family-owned establishment near Zurich. They had to evaluate the environment and measure the energy & waste metrics as well as the conformity with environmental sustainability, all weighted against a target. The students then laid out the pros and cons of the business before submitting recommendations.
They proceeded in the same order with the Social and Governance metrics. Finally, they put down a summary detailing all their research. For example, they found out that the governance item had the lowest score compared to the target.
The second group tackled Schuhgeschäft Heddinger, a shoe company also founded near Zurich. Here the metrics were the same, namely, they had to evaluate the business through the ESG items, but the challenges were different. The subgroup in which they analyzed the company varied because of the nature of the industry and the recommendations were quite distinct.
For example, they found that fewer women were managers so their main recommendation was to increase the number of women in leading positions. At the end, the group gave their general recommendation as well as a feedback about the case.
The third group tackled the construction world with a business named Hulky Hombres, a construction company that specialized in the finishing of buildings and infrastructures. In this final presentation, the student was confronted with another set of challenges namely, the fact that the construction industry has very low social and corporate governance standards. At the end of the presentation, the student gave their recommendation.