This page features recent news and activities of Soyka & Company and its President, Peter Soyka. Please check this page from time to time for updates.
In early 2012, Peter Soyka published his second book, Creating a Sustainable Organization: Approaches for Enhancing Corporate Value through Sustainability, with FT Press, a division of Pearson Education, Inc. This comprehensive and thought-provoking book describes the growing convergence of corporate sustainability practices and the expectations of the financial sector, particularly investors, and their increasing demands for information on sustainability practices and performance. Read more here, and the press release announcing release of the book here.
Leading a small team of experts in the respective subject matter domains, Soyka & Company directed an innovative project sponsored by the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute (IRRCi). It explored the commonalities and differences in what environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues are important to corporate managers and to investor-oriented ESG researchers. The project report, Finding Common Ground on the Metrics that Matter, showed general agreement about what the important corporate sustainability issues are, but not on why or how company ESG data should be used; that both corporate executives and ESG researchers/ investors approach ESG issues from a risk mitigation perspective, not a value creation perspective; and 3) more and better communication between companies, researchers, and the consumers of ratings will be needed in the future. The report and its implications are discussed more fully here.
In September, 2011, Peter Soyka published his first book, Govern Green: Driving your Organization's Commitment to Sustainability, for BoardSource, Inc., a professional association serving nonprofit board members and chief executives. The book is suitable for the nonprofit board member or executive with no prior background in the subject matter and provides relevant background information, justifies why nonprofit organizations should take on the sustainability issue, identifies appropriate roles for boards in developing and deploying sustainability strategy and tactics, and describes the most important environmental and social equity issues. In the words of BoardSource, "Govern Green is the only book we know of that offers guidance to nonprofit boards and chief executives in how to develop an environmentally responsible approach to governance and management. We recommend it to ALL nonprofits." More details are provided here.
In March 2011, Soyka & Company was pleased to be awarded its second federal-government wide contract by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). Under this new contract, Soyka & Company can provide environmental consulting services to any federal department or agency, without having to go through the usual time-consuming federal competitive contracting process (see our Public Sector page for more details). This award recognizes Soyka & Company's extensive past successful performance on previous private and public sector environmental consulting efforts, and our well-deserved reputation for providing high quality, responsive, innovative, and cost-effective environmental services.
On 17 February 2011, for the third consecutive year, Peter Soyka gave an invited guest lecture to the Environment Industry Study of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, at Fort NcNair in Washington, DC. His remarks were provided to a class of mid-career military officers representing U.S. armed services branches as well as those of several allied countries. His presentation was entitled, Corporate Environmental Behavior and Financial Performance, and built upon Mr. Soyka's recent work in defining and describing the connections between corporate environmental management and performance improvements and indicators of corporate financial success such as profitability, returns on assets and invested capital, value of intangible assets, stock price volatility, and stock price performance.
In December 2010, Soyka & Company was pleased to be awarded its first federal-government wide contract by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). Under this new contract, Soyka & Company can provide management consulting services to any federal department or agency (see our Public Sector page for more details). This award recognizes Soyka & Company's extensive past successful performance on previous management consulting engagements (for both private and public sector clients), our reputation for high quality, responsiveness, innovation, and value orientation.
On 12 October, 2010, Peter Soyka gave an invited presentation entitled, "Connecting to the Language of the Investment Community: Some Thoughts," to the annual meeting of the Board of Regents of the National Association for Environmental, Health, and Safety Management (NAEM), held in Indianapolis, IN. In his remarks, Mr. Soyka provided penetrating and unique perspective on the differing needs and interests of major groups of external stakeholders relative to corporate environmental, health, and safety (EHS) performance data. He asserted that typical EHS reporting frameworks do not adequately address the financial implications of EHS investments, activities, and performance in a way or to an extent desired by these financial sector actors. He also observed that the current situation presents an opportunity for the EHS profession to demonstrate leadership and for individual NAEM members to use their unique and crucial knowledge to catalyze new dialog, awareness, and understanding.
In collaboration with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data provider IW Financial, Inc. (IWF), Peter Soyka recently unveiled a sophisticated new environmental rating system called the Governance and Environmental Management Strength (GEMS) Rating, which has been designed to rigorously evaluate the ability of companies to anticipate and actively manage the environmental issues that pose risks to and present opportunities for their operations, by assessing the presence or absence of 49 distinct indicators. The GEMS Rating examines these 49 indicators in the context of five major elements of a comprehensive and effective approach to environmental (and broader EHS/sustainability) issues. Soyka & Company and IWF also jointly released a study providing an initial application of the methodology, which reveals the strongest U.S. firms and distinguishes them from the great majority of publicly traded companies, most of which have little or no discernible capability with which to manage complex environmental and sustainability issues, such as climate change. This study provides important insights regarding which publicly traded U.S. firms truly are environmental leaders and which are not. According to Peter Soyka, "Companies that have most or all of these elements will be far more sustainable in the long term than those that do not." Top-ranked firms include Intel, Weyerhaeuser, Merck, Lexmark, Ford, Dell, Johnson & Johnson, Excel Energy, Owens Corning, and Xerox. A publicly available summary of the report is available here and a full version, including customized information of up to ten companies, is available for purchase by contacting IW Financial, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On 19 May 2010, Peter Soyka gave an invited presentation at a session on the business challenges posed by global climate change at the Advanced Workshop in Regulation and Competition, part of the 29th Annual Eastern Conference of the Center for Research in Regulated Industries, Rutgers University. Mr. Soyka's presentation was entitled, "Greenhouse Gas Management-Are U.S. Public Utility Companies Ready?" It focused on a detailed review of the disclosed governance and management structures, policies, goals, systems, practices, and results pertaining to managing energy and greenhouse gas emissions, and environmental issues more generally. Results indicate that most large, publicly traded electric and gas utility firms are more sophisticated in their approach to environmental issues, including greenhouse gas management, than other typical large, publicly traded companies. Based upon his analysis, Mr. Soyka concluded that electric and gas utilities will need to actively manage carbon emissions (and hence, fossil fuel combustion) in the future, in response to both possible carbon emission constraints in the medium term, and growing regulatory and stakeholder demands in the short term, and that contemporary environmental/sustainability management practices offer a useful, commonly applied framework with which to address these complex issues.
Peter Soyka participated as an invited discussant in a Stakeholder Dialogue convened at the World Resources Institute (WRI) on the topic of ecosystem services for corporate decision making on 21 April 2010. Along with approximately 20 other expert consultants, representatives of major corporations, professional and trade associations, and environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Mr. Soyka received and reacted to several presentations discussing the history and experience with implementation of the Corporate Ecosystem Services Review tool developed by WRI and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and on potential areas of overlap and use of the environmental management standards developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and the United Nations Global Compact's newly revised Sustainability Management Model. During this day-long workshop, Mr. Soyka suggested several ways in which ISO standards, GRI reporting guidelines, and other commonly used environmental management frameworks, approaches, and tools could be expanded or modified to accommodate ecosystem services principles. He also offered a number of suggestions that WRI could consider as it plans next steps for further development and refinement of the Corporate Ecosystem Services Review. These included both process considerations and specific enhancements that could be made to the Review methodology and documentation.
Peter Soyka delivered an invited presentation to a session of the BoardSource Leadership Forum, held in Orlando, FL in November, 2009. The presentation, entitled, "Governing Green: Defining and Enabling the Sustainable Organization," provided senior, non-environmental professionals from the not-for-profit sector with an introduction to environmental issues, and how the environmental performance of organizations can affect an organization's risk posture, competitive positioning, and public image. Mr. Soyka emphasized that these are all issues of great interest to Boards of Directors. Therefore, he asserted, there are growing expectations that Boards and senior executives will play an active role in identifying and managing the opportunities and possible threats posed by emerging environmental issues. Increasingly, these issues are addressed under a broader framework—"sustainability"—that also includes social, economic, and governance concerns.