Wall Street Eyes Corporate EH&S Programs

It's little surprise that 18- to 34-year-olds are at the heart of a nationwide increase in illegal drug use, and the manufacturing industry traditionally draws heavily from this pool of job seekers.

Investors are beginning to pay attention to corporate environmental programs but need to be clearly told the long-term benefits of the initiatives, said Robert J. Brady, managing director of Salomon Smith Barney, Inc. Speaking at the annual Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI) Conference, Brady said fund managers often don't know about the financial benefits of environmental efforts. Once they do learn the value, they often embrace the effort. "We're finding that proactive environmental programs usually contribute to positive results," Brady told about 200 executives at the conference. "We will witness a continuing evolution in how investments are analyzed to better incorporate a balance between traditional financial examinations and seemingly more qualitative, nonfinancial elements of corporate management." When selling EH&S programs to financial officers, managers should: Know what drives the listener's decisions and emphasize these points. Speak in the language of the listener, not EH&S peers. Affirm that your internal cost/benefit analysis extends across both quantitative and qualitative aspects, and present it in a way that will capture optimal external value-added benefits. Discuss costs and benefits on a timeline to better satisfy the diverse focus of your different audiences. Don't clump everything together. Separate issues so each manager realizes the value to him or her. Expect to be rewarded only for value-added actions. "Information on the cumulative effect of management actions that produce change in risk or return conditions is of interest to me as an investor," he said. "I am willing to pay for that knowledge through my price tolerance. Your area of specialization is increasingly important in today's corporate management decision...and therefore has the potential to influence future company change."

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