This course guide has been designed as a starting point for the research necessary for your Business 322 research assignment. Remember to ask for help if you have trouble finding what you need.

About balanced scorecards and integrated/sustainability reporting

This assignment is not about finding a published balanced scorecard or other integrated report for a company/organisation. It's about understanding the requirements, function, and impact of such reports, then gathering information on specific organisations and their industries so that you can make some recommendations as to the feasibility and process of implementing integrated reporting in those organisations.

You'll be learning about integrated reports in your class. Here are some additional resources to consider if you'd like to learn more about the background and application of such reports:

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   Balanced scorecards are regarded as internal documents by most organisations and aren't generally publicly available. In fact, many organisations may not even tell you whether or not they are using scorecards. If an organisation is a government agency, a state-owned enterprise, or a nonprofit or NGO, then you are more likely to at least discover whether they use such tools and methods, and you may even find out some of their top-level results, but you still may not find a published version of the entire report.

Organisation site

The very first place you should check for information on your target organisations will be their own sites. Look especially for information about what they are doing, whether/how they are measuring it, what they are proud of,  and what barriers they are encountering as they attempt to reach their goals. Be aware that not everything will be stated explicitly and publicly — sometimes you may need to make inferences from their actions and statements. 

Try to view your organisations from different perspectives as you gather information from different parts of their sites:

  • As an investor - Check their investor relations pages, including any reports, filings, press releases, etc.
  • As an employee (current or potential) - Do they provide details about their benefits?  Have they made efforts to increase diversity? Is employee safety and health a concern?
  • As a supplier - Is information available on their policies and principles?
  • As an activist - Is there information on both what they believe and what they do regarding issues such as governance, community engagement, and the environment? 
  • As a customer - How does this company describe itself and its products/services? Again, look beyond broad branding statements to find actual details on what they are doing, and on what they are aiming to achieve.

News

Articles in newspapers, magazines, and even business blogs are another place to learn about what an organisation is doing and saying, as well as what others are saying about it. You will often find critical perspectives or minor details that are not available directly from the organisation.

Title screen of the video, "Actions vs. Words: Understanding a Company's Strategies Using News Sources." Click to access the 11-minute video.  Start with my brief "Actions vs. Words" video on using news to research companies to understand both why news is useful when you are focusing on things like strategies, and how to find the most relevant news items as efficiently as possible.

Factiva
Thousands of news publications, including many that are business or industry focused. Includes the Wall Street Journal. See this post (and the video mentioned earlier) for details on how to use Factiva's "Expert Search" feature to quickly find articles on a company's environmental, governance, labour, or other issues and actions.

Canadian Newsstream
Fulltext articles and transcripts from many Canadian newspapers. Useful if you are focusing on Canadian firms.

Business Source Complete
Articles in academic and popular publications, including many industry news sources. Try searching for your company by changing the "Select a field" option next to the search box to "CO Company Entity," then limit your search results by date (sample search).

Financial Times
FT includes categories of articles/reports such as Moral Money tag and ESG Investing. Check out this blog post for details about how to access SFU's FT subscription.

Company & industry analysis

Start with our Company Information research guide for resources that will help you analyse a company, especially:

Such reports tend to be high-level, but may still help you understand your companies. In some cases they may also supply a SWOT that you can build on with your own analysis.

Similarly for your research on the broader industry context of your target companies: Start with the many resources outlined in our Industry Surveys research guide, especially...

Also look for a relevant CFRA Industry Survey via our S&P Capital IQ database, as outlined in this blog post.

S&P Capital IQ  (CapIQ)
Search for your target company, then browse the options on the left to find financial data, major customers, strategic alliances, company filings, and much more.  See these blog posts for more details on S&P Capital IQ ("CapIQ") at SFU.

ESG data

ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) data often plays a role in integrated reporting. Some companies may share their ESG data, especially if they have clear, publicly stated goals that are relevant to ESG topics. Also check any corporate social responsibility (CSR) or impact reports or web pages that the firm might have published (sample: Nike).  In many cases, though, you will need to look elsewhere for detailed ESG data. 

Here at SFU, our main ESG data source is the Thomson Reuters Eikon database. Eikon has very limited access during the pandemic, but because it has some unique value for this course, we've set up an alternative access method that applies only to BUS 322.

Please read and follow these steps carefully:

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1. Designate one person in each group as your Eikon researcher. The alternative access method cannot accommodate all students in BUS 322, but if only one group member is responsible  for this part of the research, we should be able to fit in brief sessions at some point during the term.

2. The designated group member should email eikon-loanable@sfu.ca to request a Thomson Reuters Eikon ID.

  • Be sure to send it from your SFU email address,
  • include your full name and your SFU computing ID, 
  • and state clearly that you are currently in BUS 322.

Library staff will confirm that you are in the class, then email you an ID when one becomes available. This may take anywhere from one day to a couple weeks, depending on the demand.  You will be able to use the ID for one day only before the password gets changed and the ID is loaned out to the next student in the queue. (You will only be using Eikon to retrieve ESG data, a task that shouldn't take more than a few minutes. Other sources such as S&P Capital IQ and Factiva offer similar financial data and news content.) 

Library staff will also send you a document outlining how to access the database. For this assignment, the simpler web-based access option should be adequate.

3. Once you are logged into Eikon, search for each of your target companies, then browse the options in the top navigation bar to find those companies' ESG data and reports.  Be sure to download all of the ESG reports available for each company — statement view, report view, peer view, and chart view — just in case you need a different presentation of the data later in the term. See this screen capture for an illustration of these search and download steps.

Note that ESG data is not available for all firms. Generally, larger publicly traded firms are more likely to be covered, especially those in the US and Europe.

Getting help

Use our Ask a Librarian services to get research help via email and chat.

You can also email me: Mark Bodnar (mbodnar@sfu.ca). Please try to include as much of the following information in your question as you can.  This will make it much easier for me to help you quickly.

  • What exactly you are looking for (saying that you need "everything about Boeing" is far too broad — saying that you need to know where to find "news about labour issues at Boeing" is better!); and

  • Where you have looked so far (have you tried the major sources listed in this guide such as Factiva, IBISWorld, and S&P Capital IQ?).