The Human Capital Project

Why Human Capital?

Occupational health and safety (OHS) has always been critical to corporate performance and sustainability—it enables workers to safely operate in their work environments. The Center also believes OHS is a foundational element of human capital—which includes the skills, knowledge and abilities that workers bring to their work and how they use them. Strengthening this connection is key to long-term success, which is why CSHS has partnered with Harvard Law School, RobecoSAM, and BrownFlynn on a unique new study focused on human capital.

About the Study

With the fiscal support of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and the ASSE Foundation, CSHS is honored to support research that will be important to drawing connections between human capital (including OHS) and corporate financial performance. The Project will examine corporate disclosure of human capital policies and practices and outcomes, including those relating to OHS. It will analyze responses to the RobecoSAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment, an extensive survey of companies that drives the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In the summer of 2017, the Project will release its second study on human capital, expanding to encompass more traditional occupational health and safety issues. The Project’s first study on human capital can be found here.

CSHS Human Capital Workshop

Sponsored by:Special advisor:On March 31, 2017, the Center hosted a workshop for key stakeholders to advance the conversation around disclosure of human capital policies and practices. Researchers from Harvard Law School will share preliminary findings of the Project’s human capital benchmark assessment. Experts from around the world discussed the latest sustainability trends, frameworks, standards, and disclosures, as well as how financial markets consider human capital in decision-making.

March 31 Meeting Agenda

The Project sought expertise and input from a global set of stakeholders from key segments of the economy and the field, including corporate practitioners, asset owners and managers, specialized ESG research firms, standards setting organizations, NGOs and industry and professional associations. The full list of attendees is presented in the attached PDF.

Following presentations from experts in the field, workshop attendees discussed and shared reactions to the research findings as well as the following questions:

How can each stakeholder group move the human capital discussion forward?

  1. Academic Research: What would like to see from the Harvard Team as they finalize this research and as they explore future research?
  2. ESG Researchers: What can ESG research firms like RobecoSAM do to improve the collection, dissemination and access to information?
  3. Investors & Investor Groups: What can investor groups, like those represented by Cambria and Luke, do to help drive more relevance to these issues?
  4. Occupational Health & Safety Profession: How would you like to see CSHS engage the market and influence future efforts to connect OHS with human capital?

A more detailed brief on the workshop’s results can be found here. These results and additional information from RobecoSAM will inform the final report launch, which is planned for later this summer.

Workshop Presenters

  • Cambria Allen, Corporate Governance Director at UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust; Human Capital Management Coalition
  • Larry Beeferman, Director of the Pensions and Capital Stewardship Project, Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School
  • Aaron Bernstein, Senior Fellow with the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School
  • Robert Dornau, Director, Senior Manager Sustainability Services, RobecoSAM
  • Evan Harvey, Director of Corporate Responsibility, Nasdaq; Board Member, Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB)
  • Luke Hildyard, Policy Lead: Stewardship and Corporate Governance at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association
  • Dennis Hudson, Executive Director of the American Society of Safety Engineers
  • Kathy Seabrook, Chair of the Center for Safety and Health Sustainability
  • Susanne Stormer, Vice President, Corporate Sustainability, Novo Nordisk; Council Member, International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC)