The Embankment Project for Inclusive Capitalism (EPIC) today releases its report identifying value drivers important for sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as potential metrics to assess them. The report is the result of a multi-stakeholder effort and includes contributions from more than 30 global business leaders.
Created by the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism and EY, this project has brought together a collection of participants with both market strength and diversity across the entire investment chain, representing US$30 trillion of assets under management and almost 2 million employees around the world.
The health of corporations and financial markets – and public trust in both – is critical to economic growth. Our collective future strongly depends on vibrant and sustainable capital markets. Market participants have a role to ensure long-term value creation that benefits all.
Today, a company’s value is increasingly reflected not just in its short-term financial performance, but also by intangible assets such as intellectual property, talent, brand and innovation, as well as impacts on society and the environment that are not fully captured by traditional financial statements. To understand this value, participants in EPIC believe it is essential to focus on and measure:
- Talent: the way companies manage their human capital when it comes to compensation and benefits; recruitment; training and development; diversity and inclusion; well-being and creating a purpose-driven culture of engagement.
- Innovation: fulfilling unmet needs and maintaining focus on the end user during the innovation process and fostering trust in the organization.
- Society and environment: the impact on external stakeholders and communities by contributing to business-relevant social and environmental goals.
- Governance: the effectiveness of the board in providing appropriate oversight, governance mechanisms to ensure board quality and independence, and the ability of leadership, in conjunction with the board, to develop and assess long-term strategy.
The report released today, which is available at EPIC-value.com, outlines several of these intangible assets and possible metrics for helping companies communicate their ability to generate long-term value to both investors and society as a whole. The group believes that these findings serve as a contribution to ongoing discussions around long-term value creation and, at the same time, serve as an impetus for discussions that have yet to begin.
Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, CEO and Founder of the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism, says: “The activities that society expects from business are changing and this will affect value creation for long-term investors. EPIC addresses this reality and represents a breakthrough in how businesses can measure and report the true value they create for all stakeholders. We look forward to a rigorous discussion on the results of this work and ways it can be applied around the world."
Recognizing more work needs to be done to capture the full range of corporate activities and assets that create long-term value, the group will continue to test the results embodied in this report and expect that the results will not be considered in the same way by different companies, asset managers and owners. That acknowledged, it will continue this journey alongside other like-minded initiatives and invite others to join its efforts.
Mark Weinberger, EY Global Chairman and CEO, says: “There has been a lot of focus recently on short-term pressure in our capital markets and a lively discussion around quarterly reporting, but what we report is as important as how often we report it. It is time to update how we value companies and measure their impact on all stakeholders, not just shareholders. EPIC brought together companies and investors to help define how firms create long-term value and offer potential ways to measure and report on that.”
Notes to Editors
Embankment Project participants’ quotes
The following organizations made the below comments on today’s announcement:
Tom Wilson, The Allstate Corporation Chairman, President and CEO: “Business serves four roles for society. By making a profit we ensure we give back more value to society than we use to serve customers. We also need to create jobs, make sure free markets work and improve our communities. Business leaders should be judged by how we accomplish all four roles.”
Christian Hyldahl, ATP Chief Executive Officer: “With the increased global challenges of short-termism, mistrust and need for better governance and transparency, we believe it is important with a continuous focus on sustainable growth. The collaboration and dialogue evolving around The Embankment Project for Inclusive Capitalism (EPIC) report has been an interesting and rewarding project to be part of alongside other like-minded investors with a long-term focus. International collaboration is essential if we want to be ambitious and achieve a sustainable and inclusive growth.”
Thomas Finke, Barings Chairman and CEO: “Historically, maximizing corporate profits and growing shareholder value sat at the center of most companies’ strategic objectives. Today this goal sits alongside another strategic imperative: being a company of purpose. Consumers, shareholders and the general public expect companies to incorporate sustainable goals as part of their strategic planning and business objectives. Similarly, the investment community must also consider the impact that their activity has on society. These paradigms are at the heart of the sustainability movement and will require that global companies and investors focus on purpose and not just profits.”
Marcie Frost, CalPERS Chief Executive Officer: “As a long-term investor in a dynamic world, CalPERS is excited about building on The Embankment Project for Inclusive Capitalism (EPIC’s) work to strengthen our understanding of risks and opportunities in our portfolio. The work of EPIC underscores how important it is to investors to have enhanced reporting on topics, such as human capital, that can truly enable investors to understand how effectively a company is positioning itself for the long-term.”
Ed Breen, DowDuPont Chief Executive Officer: "We are in the process of separating DowDuPont into leading global companies in agriculture, materials science and specialty products. Our guiding principles through this process clearly align with the key value drivers outlined by The Embankment Project for Inclusive Capitalism (EPIC), which we applaud and champion. This focus will enable us to build strong, independent companies that each have world-class talent, the ability to drive innovation, a commitment to sustainability and serving communities, and corporate governance that will drive value for all key stakeholders."
Douglas M. Baker, Jr., Ecolab’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer: “Ecolab supports the Embankment Project for Inclusive Capitalism (EPIC) and its focus on fostering long-term value and sustainable economic growth. As the global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services that protect people and vital resources, we firmly believe that real and lasting change is accelerated when economic, environmental and social benefits align.”
Hendrik du Toit, Investec Group Joint CEO: “We live in unprecedented times, and the world needs to change if it is to support a growing economy in a more sustainable and inclusive way. As stewards of long-term capital on behalf of this generation, today’s investors and the financial industry as a whole need to come up with practical ways to encourage the required shift. Our industry has a significant role to play in financing a more sustainable future, and our commitment to investing for a better tomorrow is an integral part of our purpose.”
Mary Callahan Erdoes, J.P. Morgan Asset & Wealth Management CEO: “Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild’s drive to create a better and more inclusive system of capitalism is equally profound as it is pragmatic. As an advisor to companies and individuals alike, and an active member of so many communities around the world, JPMorgan Chase recognizes and embraces the importance of these efforts. This work is particularly meaningful in our Asset Management business where, as stewards of our clients’ assets, we work tirelessly to allocate capital to management teams who employ proper corporate governance and ultimately drive the best long-term value for our investors.”
Alex Gorsky, Johnson and Johnson Chairman and CEO: “As a global leader in healthcare committed to ensuring good health is within reach of everyone, everywhere, Johnson & Johnson is focused on creating long-term value for all of our stakeholders. We believe that both the mission of The Embankment Project for Inclusive Capitalism (EPIC) and its value drivers are closely aligned with the aspirations expressed in Our Credo. We have been proud to be part of the EPIC team over the past 18 months, and we remain committed to working with others to continue to drive positive change across the value chain.”
Mark Schneider, Nestlé Chief Executive Officer: “At Nestlé we believe in creating shared value for our shareholders and for society. The Embankment Project for Inclusive Capitalism (EPIC) project has shown that this approach to doing business is getting increasing support in industry, finance and academia.”
George Walker, Neuberger Berman Chief Executive Officer: “Neuberger Berman is pleased to be a part of the group working to facilitate measurement and management of intangible assets, which increasingly represent a meaningful part of companies’ value. As a firm, we believe that material environmental, social, and governance factors contribute positively to long-term financial and societal value. Active investing requires deep engagement with companies, which combined with broader industry initiatives, can create long-term value for our clients.”
Vijay Advani, Nuveen Chief Executive Officer: “As responsible investors, we are always seeking new ways to protect and grow our capital on behalf of our clients over the span of decades. The evolution and growing complexity of global financial markets increasingly mean managing risk and capturing growth in sustainable ways, while also staying aligned with the interests of a diverse range of communities and people around the globe. The Embankment Project for Inclusive Capitalism (EPIC) project helps articulate the types of factors that aren’t always captured in financial statements but are important to the long-term investment performance.”
Peter Harrison, Schroders Group Chief Executive: “As a fundamental, active investor Schroders recognizes that sustainability is the bedrock of strong, durable businesses and it therefore forms a key part of our understanding of the companies we invest in. Schroders is committed to strengthening its knowledge of the drivers of long-term value creation. Achieving real change for businesses and their investor stakeholders requires working across the industry’s value chain through initiatives like The Embankment Project for Inclusive Capitalism (EPIC).”
Ron O’Hanley, State Street Corporation President and Chief Operating Officer: “We are witnessing a historic shift in our economies as more businesses derive greater value from intangible rather than tangible assets. Measuring these intangibles is both important and notoriously difficult. That is why we applaud the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism for bringing together key stakeholders to begin the hard work of understanding how to incorporate intangibles such as innovation, talent, environmental, social and governance attributes into the valuation of companies. And to do so in a way that thoughtfully achieves the benefits of greater transparency without undue incremental costs, reporting and bureaucracy.”
Paul Polman, Unilever Chief Executive Officer: “The Embankment Project for Inclusive Capitalism (EPIC) has made good progress in closing the communication gaps between companies and their investors to better demonstrate the value of intangible assets which are too often discounted or not measured at all. We need to keep working together to build on this foundation, and the progress made by other initiatives, to drive impact and scale so that we can translate the commitments of all EPIC participants into true behavior change.”