Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Final Presentation Preparation

Today was just like every other day here at at UChicago, I woke up, got breakfast and then I went to class. We discussed annual reports that companies disclose yearly. We compared them to sustainability reports and we found that annual reports are mainly for anybody who is looking to invest in a company while the sustainability report is for the stakeholders. Diving into our further knowledge of sustainability reports, we were introduced to another form today. An Integrated Report, <IR>, communicates how an organization’s strategy, governance, performance and prospects lead to the creation of value over the short, medium and long term. In other words, Integrated Reporting attempts to show the connection between a company's annual report, and its sustainability report.

Before we went for lunch, my professor gave us a assignment that I thought was very enjoyable. She divided us into groups and we were each given a million dollars to invest in any green company that we want. With our new knowledge on annual reports and stocks, we were to decide on which company we wanted, and we were to report back and share the stock price and how many shares we would invest in. I chose to invest in Ormat Technologies, which is the world leader in the geothermal power plant sector, and in Enel Green Power, which is a jack of all trades renewable energy company because they provide solar, wind, hydro, biomass, and geothermal energy.

My professor, Aleen, gave us a lot of time to do this assignment but she didn't anticipate that we would finish early and we did so we got to have an extra long lunch today. When we came back from lunch, we reported back on the companies that we wanted to invest in and we moved on to the afternoon lecture. Aleen introduced CERES, SASB, and ISO. These groups either provide a framework for sustainability reporting or they advocate for sustainability leadership. The point of all of this is that there are so many different sustainability reports available that cover a wide spectrum of topics, that it is hard for some companies to choose which standard to report by. 

After our afternoon lecture, as a final group assignment, we were split up again and each group had a different task that they had to accomplish. My group had to think of a new sustainable beef standard and we were to draft an email and send it to the women from McDonalds who came to talk to us yesterday. We discovered that McDonalds already goes by a beef sustainability standard which was very sound to us. We decided that we would add some suggestions to those standards. When we were done drafting the letter, we shared it with the class and sent it to the two women.

We ended class by going over our company comparison assignment. We are to pick two companies and do research on them and compare their sustainability and triple bottom line practices. I originally wanted to choose Google and Yahoo but both companies don't have a tangible product which would have given me difficulty. I changed my topic to Amazon and eBay. When class was over, I went to my dorm room to take a nap before dinner. I woke up and I ate dinner with a few friends and then I spent the rest of my night working on the comparison. 

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