Guest Blogger: Matthew Petronko
Dr. Nist’s special topics class was extra special today. We hosted two practitioners from the finance field from BNY Mellon, John T. Buckley, Managing Director of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and Lauren Lambert, Corporate Social Responsibility Program Administrator, a star employee and alumnus of our sustainability program. They brought with them a quandary, how to rectify Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) standards with their own CSR reporting?
Dr. Nist prepared the class with readings and dedicated time to work out our ideas beforehand, so the discussion was exceptionally rich. The conversation included many topics such as political activity of corporations and banks, the role of large banks to stabilize markets, society’s expectations of banks, and, of course, fiduciary duty and the shareholder, stakeholder, investor dynamic.
We were trying to understand what ought to be disclosed in an integrated report. The dangers of including too much are exposure to liability, exposing competitive intelligence, clutter, or just looking worse than the competition. The benefits of disclosure include increased appeal across all markets, but not without risk. The problem becomes even more complex because standards are not yet set.
While we may not have solved the problem, we gained deeper insight. We also gained a new appreciation of the implications of applying the practices we have learned in class. This was a great experience because of the deep interaction with the experts. It is especially valuable to have feedback from a graduate working in CSR.