Expanding Our Role in Sustainability
Sustainability is a recognized principle of organizational management, and sustainability of human capital, or the economic value of employees, is gaining increased attention in the world of industrial hygiene and occupational and environmental health and safety. This development holds the potential for expanding opportunities for IH/OEHS professionals as our expertise is sought to help ensure that employees are provided a safe and healthful environment, enabling increased productivity.

The Center for Safety and Health Sustainability was founded in June 2011 when AIHA joined with the American Society of Safety Engineers and the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health to form a team dedicated to establishing a leading role in the sustainability conversation for IH and safety. With the addition of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering in 2013, CSHS now provides a voice in shaping sustainability policies to over 100,000 professionals in over 70 countries. The goals of CSHS are to educate the business community on the importance of safety and health as part of good corporate governance and corporate social responsibility/sustainability; provide new insights into the measurements, management, and impact of safety and health sustainability; and be a recognized thought leader for sustainability and corporate social responsibility.
The Center for Safety and Health Sustainability now provides a voice in shaping sustainability policies to over 100,000 professionals in over 70 countries.
DEBORAH IMEL NELSON, PhD, CIH, is president of AIHA. She can be reached at (720) 587-7500 or via email.

ALAN LEIBOWITZ is president of EHS Systems Solutions LLC and the AIHA representative to the Center for Safety and Health Sustainability Board of Directors. He previously wrote about CSHS for the SynergistNOW blog.

SUSTAINABILITY REPORTING Early on, CSHS worked with Corporate Knights, an organization that produces sustainability reports and rankings, to ensure that OHS was included in its measurement of sustainability performance. CSHS has also produced several publications on the inclusion of OSH in sustainability reporting.  CSHS has recently taken a leadership role in establishing OSH front and center in the discussion on human capital by partnering with Harvard Law School, RobecoSAM, and BrownFlynn on a unique study that focused on corporate disclosure of human capital policies and practices, including those related to OHS. The project examined responses to the RobecoSAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment, which is an extensive survey of companies that drives the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In March 2017, experts including corporate practitioners, asset owners and managers, specialized environmental/social/governance (ESG) research firms, standards-setting organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and industry and professional associations from around the world discussed a preliminary report.  They reconvened in October to discuss the final report and recommendations for future research directions along with the latest sustainability trends, frameworks, standards, and disclosures, as well as how financial markets consider human capital in decision-making. The major finding of the report is that most large global corporations collect a variety of human capital metrics, although these metrics are often not reported publicly. Lost-time injuries, fatalities, OHS framework and oversight, and training were among the metrics reported. The authors concluded that institutional investors, who increasingly consider these metrics in making investment decisions, could gain access to much human capital data that is material to financial performance by requesting public disclosure of this information. As AIHA representatives to this meeting, we recommended that leading indicators for occupational health be included in future research efforts.  HUMAN CAPITAL REPORTING A major employee retirement fund recently petitioned the United States Securities and Exchange Commission to require issuers to disclose information about their human capital management policies, practices, and performance. More information is available on SEC's website.  Expanded human capital reporting is an encouraging development and suggests that IH/OEHS professionals are increasingly important members of senior management teams focused on corporate sustainability beyond environmental issues. AIHA will continue to track the progress of CSHS. Learn more about human capital reporting and the role of IH/OEHS at