CSRHub recently learned about an extensive analysis of US grocery store ESG performance that was conducted by Ratio Institute. Their “2022 ESG State of the Industry” Report covers the 107 largest grocery chains. It consistently evaluated 127 ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance) criteria across both 62 publicly-owned and 45 privately-owned entities.
Ratio Institute is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating measurable sustainability and viability in food retail through expert collaboration, industry resources, and practical tools. It works with food retailers, trade organizations, and other partners to create enterprise-level sustainability solutions that reduce costs, optimize internal practices, and improve overall performance. CSRHub data was available on 95% of the entities Ratio Institute studied. We felt it would be useful to tie our aggregate, consensus, outside-in view of how grocery companies perform to the detailed, inside-out view that Ratio Institute provides.
Limited Data Available, Still
In its report, Ratio Institute showed that there are still many grocery chains that have not publicly revealed ESG data. Only 40 of the 107 entities they studied have provided a formal ESG report.
A natural consequence of this lack of public information is that CSRHub didn’t have any data for five entities from the study and had too little data to publish a report on 30 entities. Of the remaining 72 entities, only 48 had ratings for all twelve of the areas CSRHub studies.
As a result, we had to focus our analysis on the 48 entities that were well-known to our expert sources of sustainability ratings. We were pleased to see a good connection between the overall view of these entities from our outside-in perspective and the detailed analysis done by Ratio Institute.
The 13% correlation is paired with a F score of 7. This indicates a strong connection despite the small number of overlaps available for us to consider. We also found good F scores between the CSRHub Energy & Climate Change indicator and Ratio Institute’s Scope 1 Carbon score. This suggests that carbon reports are being understood and considered by outside expert ratings groups. However, the Scope 2 and Scope 3 carbon reports did not show a correlation with CSRHub data. These indicators may not be sufficiently consistent yet to be useful for generating external ratings.
There was an excellent correlation between CSRHub’s Social area indicator of Training Health & Safety and the Ratio Institute Health & Wellness Score. The 4.8 F score suggests there is a 97% chance these indicators are positively correlated. In general, it seems that Ratio Institute is measuring the ESG performance of these entities in a manner that is generally consistent with how outside groups approach them. However, we are also seeing that Ratio Institute’s analysis is much more detailed and that it is seeing information that has not yet been fully processed or understood by ESG experts, in general.
We look forward to next year’s report from this new source. We hope to show that changes in Ratio Institute’s ratings are reflected by changes in the consensus view of how grocery chains are performing on ESG issues. We expect that our coverage of this important group of companies will grow and that this will allow us to more fully connect our data sets.
Bahar Gidwani is CTO and Co-founder of CSRHub. He has built and run large technology-based businesses for many years. Bahar holds a CFA, worked on Wall Street with Kidder, Peabody, and with McKinsey & Co. Bahar has consulted to a number of major companies and currently serves on the board of several software and Web companies. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree in physics and astronomy. He plays bridge, races sailboats, and is based in New York City.
CSRHub offers one of the world’s broadest and most consistent set of Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) ratings, covering 50,000 companies. Its Big Data algorithm combines millions of data points on ESG performance from hundreds of sources, including leading ESG analyst raters, to produce consensus scores on all aspects of corporate social responsibility and sustainability. CSRHub ratings can be used to drive corporate, investor and consumer decisions. For more information, visit www.CSRHub.com. CSRHub is a B Corporation.