Benefit-Cost Analysis of Increased Recycling
Mr. Soyka participated on a team tasked with fact-finding and analysis to determine whether and under what conditions increasing the rates of paper and paper board recycling at Postal Service Processing and Distribution Centers (P&DCs) would be economically feasible. Mr. Soyka provided the financial analysis expertise to the team, and developed the associated components of a detailed survey instrument to be used prior to and during site visits. He also participated in site visits to several P&DCs in various parts of the country, and interviewed representatives of waste management/recycling firms to develop relevant data on costs and recovered material prices. Finally, Mr. Soyka compiled data collected during the site visits, and developed a comprehensive analysis, in spreadsheet form, detailing existing material generation rates, recycling activity, costs and revenues of both existing and alternative material management practices, and "break-even" points at which changing from material disposal to recycling would be justified on benefit-cost grounds. He then drafted a report chapter presenting findings. This analysis provided evidence supporting expansion of paper and board recovery operations at P&DCs nationwide, which has since been implemented. Subsequently, Mr. Soyka prepared and delivered a similar analysis addressing plastic films.
Analysis of Forest Certification Programs
On behalf of the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) and on a quick-turnaround basis, Mr. Soyka performed research and analysis on the major voluntary programs and standards available in North America addressing sustainable forestry and forest products, particularly paper. Compliance with these standards is increasingly sought by mailers and members of the public, and yet they continue to evolve. MPA members felt a need to better understand how the various sustainable forestry programs differ and, in some sense, which were "better." In response, Mr. Soyka developed an analysis describing what these different programs are, how they have been developed, what they require, and the ways in which they are similar and different, as well as how they compare, at a general level, with other consensus-based environmental standards. It also provided an assessment of the degree of market acceptance that each has received, and presented recent trends in certifications in North America and other geographies. Finally, the analysis examined supply and demand conditions in North America, and assessed whether and to what extent calls for greater use of certified wood products are realistic and, indeed, sustainable. Mr. Soyka's analysis showed, among other things, that as they have evolved, the competing sustainable forest management programs have many more important similarities than differences. His report also explored how these programs both employ and extend well beyond existing regulatory controls to form comprehensive forest management approaches. All share an extensive set of core requirements and expectations, and all employ common approaches to several basic components of any certification program. There also are some important differences among these programs, which to a significant extent can be explained by the context in which each has developed. Over time, however, the differences between these programs have diminished, and substantial convergence over the past ten years is apparent. An expanded version of this study, which discusses public policy implications, has been published in Environmental Research Journal (vol. 5, no. 2-3. Pp . 1-44).
Life Cycle Inventory Analysis of the Mail
For the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), Mr. Soyka designed and constructed the first-ever comprehensive life cycle inventory model for analysis of the U.S. mail. The model considers the full life cycle of all eight major mail products handled by the Service from their creation from (largely) paper and paper board products; printing and preparation; delivery to USPS; sorting, handling, and transport by USPS; receipt and management by the mail recipient; and post-consumer disposal or recycling. The model addresses waste generation, pollutant emissions, and energy consumption, and allows comparative analysis across mail products, identification of the most environmentally intensive life-cycle stages, and quantification of the energy consumed, by type, for each product and stage, including the “environmental footprint” of producing the fuels consumed. This model, which Mr. Soyka designed and constructed, has undergone an extensive peer review process, and initial results have been made available to the public. Model results demonstrate conclusively that the mail stream produces waste and pollutant emissions that are non-negligible, yet are modest in comparison with many other commercial (and even household) activities. The Postal Service plans to employ this model to focus its ongoing efforts to improve the sustainability of its enterprise and the broader U.S. mail value chain.
Feasibility of On-Site Fueling
On behalf of the U.S. Postal Service, Mr. Soyka designed and built a user-friendly, spreadsheet-based simulation model that enables the client to evaluate the financial feasibility of moving vehicle fueling operations on site at its own facilities. Facing rising vehicle fuel prices (a major Postal Service expense), the Service wished to examine the feasibility and desirability of installing on-site fueling operations, at least at selected locations. Using engineering cost data provided by industry experts, Mr. Soyka developed a logic train that involved a series of sequential calculations that determined whether potential variable cost savings are sufficient to offset the substantial capital and regulatory costs associated with fueling system installation. This logic train is reflected in a spreadsheet model constructed by Mr. Soyka that takes user-defined facility characteristics (or extensive default values) and transparently provides a buildup of required capacities, equipment configurations, capital and operating costs, fuel cost savings, and overall financial feasibility. This model was used by managers at a number of major USPS installations across the country. The model showed, however, that in all but exceptional cases, the risks and costs of on-site fueling substantially outweigh the benefits (potential cost savings and greater operational control) of on-site fueling.
Greening Strategy for USPS
Mr. Soyka recently served as the key management/environmental analyst and co-author of a recommended organization-wide "greening" strategy for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) prepared on behalf of the Service's Office of Inspector General (OIG). OIG had developed concerns that the Postal Service had not taken adequate steps to address rising public interest in the environmental impact of the mail value chain or developed an organization-wide strategy to incorporate environmental aspects into business planning and operations. To respond to this need, Mr. Soyka used his expertise to develop and apply an approach that identified several key root causes of existing public attitudes and beliefs regarding mail and the environment, then developed strategy elements addressing each root cause that would improve public perception, strengthen relationships with both commercial and residential Postal customers, and over time, enhance USPS brand value and reduce risks. These risks include adverse financial impact from Do Not Mail campaigns and other expressions of public dissatisfaction with the perceived environmental performance of the mail. This strategy included eight specific components that were rank-ordered in terms of importance/criticality. These included the recommendation that USPS senior management move the Postal Service to a leadership position on issues of mail and the environment, improve mail's environmental performance, and deploy an effective communications and outreach program to show that mail is not a major source of environmental degradation. The recommended strategy offered by the project Team was enthusiastically accepted without significant changes by OIG, and subsequently delivered to USPS senior management.
Cost-Effectiveness of GHG Reduction Strategies
This analysis was developed by Peter Soyka and Lawrence Buc of SLS Consulting, who brought together an analysis of the carbon footprint of a major multinational bank, and a review of greenhouse gas mitigation options with respect to both impact and implementation cost. Messrs. Buc and Soyka arrayed the available options for greenhouse gas reductions in order of both the magnitude of reductions and unit cost, forming a cost (supply) curve in the process. They then examined different strategies for reducing the Bank's carbon footprint. Their analysis showed that it is possible for Bank of America to make substantial greenhouse gas reductions at reasonable cost, but that it is very important to pursue mitigation strategies in a careful way. This is because the analysis also showed that some of the most high-profile strategies, and those that seem to be growing in popularity, are among the least cost-effective. Messrs. Buc and Soyka surmised that Bank of America can and will be a sustainable company if it deploys its capital wisely in addressing its environmental and social challenges. This analysis was profiled in a presentation given at the 16th Conference on Postal and Delivery Economics in May 28, 2008 and also was recently published as a book chapter in Progress in the Competitive Agenda in the Postal and Delivery Sector (Crew, M., and Kleindorfer, P. (Eds.)).
Analysis and Critique of RIA
On behalf of the Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Mr. Soyka recently reviewed and prepared a critical analysis of the Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) supporting a recently proposed rule that, if finalized, would impose significant new restrictions (under RCRA-the U.S. hazardous waste management law) on the recycling of scrap metal and other recoverable materials. Mr. Soyka used his expert knowledge of the RCRA program and extensive previous experience in preparing RIAs for EPA to identify the material weaknesses in the RIA, and also prepared, using publicly available data, an analysis showing that the prospective burden (albeit unintended) of the rule as proposed would run to hundreds of millions of dollars. His analysis also showed that EPA had severely underestimated the time, effort, and cost of compliance with the proposed rule by demonstrating, using careful quantitative analysis and clear scenarios, that many of the Agency's analytical assumptions were invalid. Further, Mr. Soyka's analysis showed that the magnitude and distribution of prospective new costs were sufficient to threaten the continued financial viability of many, if not most, affected scrap processing facilities. His written assessment described how such an outcome would directly contravene the intent of the RCRA statute as well as one of the important policy goals of the Obama administration—increased resource recovery. Mr. Soyka's analysis was found to be compelling by ISRI and its legal counsel, and comprised an important component in ISRI's public comments in response to the proposed rule.
National Environmental Policy Framework Development
For a $20 billion national energy and utility company, Mr. Soyka developed an integrated environmental policy-setting framework linking environmental issues to corporate strategies and business objectives, values, capabilities and assets, specific local conditions, and external trends. He also facilitated two meetings on the east and west coasts with senior business unit and corporate environmental and regulatory affairs executives and managers, thereby guiding individuals and groups with disparate perspectives and agendas to consensus on the key determinants of the company’s position on any given environmental policy issue. This framework was then presented to and approved for use company-wide by the firm’s Board of Directors.
Financial Market Incentives for Environmental Management Systems
For the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mr. Soyka and a team he assembled successfully completed a second, multi-year, project on behalf of an intra-Agency Steering Group examining current and potential incentives offered by investors and insurers to organizations that adopt formal environmental management systems (EMS). He developed and delivered trainings, research, analysis, and findings and arranged for expert guest speakers to help the Steering Group better understand how best to market its concept to “Wall Street.” Under his direction and leadership, the project team subsequently supported a successful effort to secure an endorsement from the EPA’s independent Science Advisory Board; helped organize a successful EPA-investment industry conference; developed a dedicated program web site; formulated recommendations to assist the Steering Group in attracting participation and support from influential members of the equity and bond investor community, insurance industry, third party rating organizations, and senior corporate environmental executives; and many other activities.
Paper Recycling Feasibility
On behalf of a consortium of industry trade associations, Mr. Soyka recently performed literature and primary research to examine potential barriers to the recycling of magazines, catalogs, and direct mail. In response to questions raised within pertinent regulatory agencies (EPA and FTC), Mr. Soyka assembled data on the volume and characteristics of the materials of interest (including potential "contaminants"); evaluated and described recycling and recovery methods and quantified recovery rates; characterized markets for recovered paper both domestically and internationally; examined the handling and re-entry of recovered paper into the paper production process and resulting paper product types; and evaluated whether and to what extent non-paper components of magazines, catalogs, and direct mail might limit their suitability for recycling. Mr. Soyka provided his analysis in a comprehensive report that satisfied the EPA's concerns and served as the basis for FTC approval for the associations to include a "Please Recycle" message on their products. This message is at the heart of campaigns by each association to promote greater recycling of member products following use by the consumer. Mr. Soyka's work thus played a pivotal role in helping to remove a key legal barrier that had prevented these messages and campaigns, which had been considered for many years, from being launched.
Green Metrics that Matter
For the National Association for EHS Management (NAEM), Mr. Soyka has been providing ongoing support to a new initiative to determine the corporate environmental, health, and safety (EHS) metrics that are most meaningful and useful to both internal and external stakeholders. Mr. Soyka has carried out several key tasks in support of this initiative. He first identified the firms that solicit and use corporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data, designed a survey to collect information from these companies addressing what ESG data they collect, how they analyze it, what products (e.g., ratings, rankings, indexes) they create based on the data, and what processes and mechanisms they use to produce and ensure the quality of their products. He followed up with survey recipients as needed to solicit additional survey responses. Mr. Soyka also collaborated with NAEM senior management to create a second survey directed to NAEM members (corporate EHS executives, directors, and managers), focusing on the key EHS metrics used and tracked within member companies, as well as their experiences in interacting with external ESG research firms. Mr. Soyka also assembled and analyzed the results obtained from both surveys, and provided briefings on the findings in person (at NAEM's annual meeting) and via web conference. Finally, Mr. Soyka employed his knowledge of the ESG research industry to help organize and secure the participation of panelists for an interactive workshop (held in Ft. Lauderdale, FL in May 2011) involving both NAEM members and ESG researchers. Mr. Soyka also moderated one of the panel discussions and served as one of a select few experts chosen to contribute to a written summary of the workshop and its major conclusions.
GSA/PBS Environmental Management System
For the US General Services Administration, Mr. Soyka directed the second phase of a project to more fully develop and implement a national EMS for GSA’s Public Buildings Service (PBS), the nation’s largest commercial-style real estate ownership and management organization. In the initial stage of this project, Mr. Soyka performed an evaluation of existing environmental compliance and management policies, practices, and guidance, and fashioned a strategy whereby PBS could develop and implement a comprehensive EMS that complies with extensive federal government directives while making optimal use of existing PBS procedures and work practices. He also developed a comprehensive EMS training module and delivered this module in a pilot application at PBS’ Denver Federal Center. Mr. Soyka also reshaped an existing EMS auditing tool designed to evaluate conformance with the federal Code of Environmental Management Principles (CEMP), and formulated and delivered a training course on this more streamlined and refined tool. Additional efforts involved drafting procedures for full implementation of the national PBS EMS, and providing expert assistance to PBS regional EMS personnel as they implemented the EMS within their regions.
EMS Benefit: Cost Framework
For the U.S. Postal Service, Mr. Soyka performed an assessment of the current state of knowledge regarding the financial benefits and costs of implementing formal environmental management systems (EMS). He began by collecting, reviewing, and categorizing EMS implementation experience and results reported in the literature, and then summarized the information to form general conclusions about the resources required to fully implement an ISO 1400-style EMS within an organization (generally, about $100,000), the associated benefits received (variable, but often substantial), and an overall benefit: cost ratio (usually greater than unity). Mr. Soyka also devised a framework by which the benefits and costs of EMS implementation within and across the Postal Service could be estimated prospectively (to inform decision making), as well as in real time throughout the implementation process. This framework is presented in a journal article published in Environmental Quality Management (Winter 2006).
NASA Staffing Model
For the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Mr. Soyka directed a project yielding a comprehensive algorithm and computer model allowing NASA managers and executives to determine the optimal number of civil servant and contractor staff needed to carry out all significant environmental management activities at each NASA location. Mr. Soyka and his team defined the specific tasks required to comply with the law, minimize financial liabilities and project delays, accomplish the agency’s environmental performance goals, and further the NASA mission, and identified the key variables that influence optimal staffing levels. They then quantified the importance of each variable and compiled these relationships into a user-friendly computer model that allows for user input and scenario testing, displays results in tabular and graphical form, and compares optimal and current staffing levels. This model has been used by NASA senior management to evaluate and adjust its staffing of the environmental function at NASA Headquarters as well as to inform staffing decisions at NASA Field Centers.
Sustainability Planning Book
Mr. Soyka was recently retained by the nonprofit organization BoardSource, Inc. to write a book on "greening" nonprofit organizations. BoardSource serves nonprofit board members and chief executives, and provides an array of products and services to help members solve problems, enhance their knowledge and skills, and improve their effectiveness and impact. Mr. Soyka used his extensive knowledge of environmental management and emerging sustainability issues to draft a clear and accessible yet sophisticated guide suitable for the nonprofit board member or executive with no prior background in the subject matter. He developed chapter discussions providing relevant background information, justifying why nonprofit organizations should take on the sustainability issue, identifying appropriate roles for boards in developing and deploying sustainability strategy and tactics, and describing the major environmental and social equity issues most likely to be pertinent to the operations of most nonprofits. He also assembled an appendix of useful supporting information, documents, and web sites that provide examples and guidance that may be used by organizations interested in going down the sustainability path. The book was published in September 2011.
Public Meeting Facilitation
On behalf of the U.S. EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) and on a quick-turnaround basis, Mr. Soyka served as an expert facilitator for an EPA-sponsored "listening session" addressing EPA's prospective role in the development of standards or guidelines for sustainable products. To meet this need, he used his expert knowledge of EPA's unique role in formulating and shaping U.S. environmental policy and its historical activity in supporting key underlying activities such as life cycle analysis and "green chemistry" in combination with his skill in drawing out and clarifying a range of views expressed by session participants. Mr. Soyka's session (one of several) included both OCSPP's Director and a diverse array of about two dozen participants. Most were stakeholders representing potentially affected manufacturing, distribution, and retail companies, industry and trade associations, standards developers, and public interest groups, as well as other public sector entities having an interest or prospective role in developing or using standards for defining sustainable products. Using his talents, Mr. Soyka was able to fully complete the agenda, provide adequate time for all interested parties to express their views, clarify statements made by participants so that they were adequately clear to note-takers and (subsequently) EPA staff, and meet all EPA objectives. All session participants seemed pleased with the conduct and outcomes of the listening session, and Mr. Soyka received personal compliments and thanks from the Office Director at its conclusion.
Training on Corporate Finance and Governance
Mr. Soyka was one of a handful of consultants invited to participate in the 3rd State-EPA Environmental Innovations Conference held in Denver, CO. Under contract to the U.S. EPA’s Office of Policy, Economics, and Innovation (OPEI), he developed and delivered a three-hour training on corporate finance and governance, and also served on a plenary panel with other senior corporate environmental management experts. The training was tailored to the information needs and perspectives of federal and state environmental regulators, and focused on equipping participants to more readily think and speak in the language of business, so that they can more effectively design and operate environmental performance improvement and sustainability programs. To meet these needs, Mr. Soyka developed material presenting information on the principal players within a company’s senior management and their roles; important terms and definitions; and a description and simple examples of the basic financial statements required of publicly traded corporations. With this foundation, Mr. Soyka then reviewed typical financial measures; findings from the published literature on the relationships between environmental posture and financial performance; emerging trends and reporting requirements; and implications for environmental program design and operation. Feedback on the course from participants was highly favorable, and Mr. Soyka was subsequently retained to present the training to the staff of a major division at U.S. EPA Headquarters.
MPA Environmental Handbook
Mr. Soyka was retained to revise, expand, and update a pre-existing environmental handbook developed for use by companies in the magazine publishing industry. In response, Mr. Soyka performed a careful review and edit of the existing material, addressed a number of comments received from industry members, checked and updated a substantial number of references, and developed new Handbook sections dealing with emerging issues such as climate change, large-scale changes in U.S. forest ownership, forest and forest product standards and certification programs, and other topics. Mr. Soyka also developed a new appendix providing guidance for industry members seeking to develop or strengthen internal environmental management programs. This appendix provided a recommended sequence of specific activities and approaches reflecting current environmental management best practices tailored to the needs and circumstances of magazine publishers.
NASA Environmental Manual
For the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Mr. Soyka managed the preparation of a guidance manual that is written for the non-environmental manager and executive, and provides key information that enables these individuals to contribute meaningfully to the attainment of the Agency's environmental goals (e.g., through pollution prevention or green procurement). The manual includes sections describing NASA's environmental functions and their relationship to the Agency's overall mission, the genesis and form of existing environmental law, the specific aspects of environmental control regulations and executive orders that affect NASA operations, preparing for audits and inspections, environmental performance metrics, and planning and budgeting for environmental issues.
Facilitation of Integrated Management System
For a $2.3 billion global plastics and rubber compounding firm, Mr. Soyka developed an integrated safety, health, and environment (SH&E) management systems framework reflecting the provisions of ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001, OSHA VPP, and the CMA (now ACC) Responsible Care® program. Mr. Soyka then facilitated a successful two day workshop involving corporate staff and SH&E managers from all major company locations, which yielded agreement on a company-wide SH&E policy, major components of the integrated management system framework, and the specific behaviors that define the maturity path for each management system element.
OMB PART Analysis/ Training
Mr. Soyka directed a multi-year project to develop and provide training and facilitation services to research teams at the U.S. EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD), as they prepared for and responded to evaluation of their programs by the President’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) using the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART). This work involved identifying vulnerabilities in the individual research plans, devising appropriately designed training/facilitated discussion sessions, helping craft enhancements to the high-level strategies articulated in research plans, and researching and identifying the features of research programs across the federal government that resulted in successful PART evaluations, among other activities. With Mr. Soyka’s assistance, a number of ORD research programs greatly improved their ability to identify the outcomes (versus outputs) of their programs and to convey the nature and value of their work much more clearly and effectively.
Energy Auditing at Superfund Sites
For the U.S. EPA’s Office of Emergency and Remedial Response (OERR), Mr. Soyka designed and pilot-tested an energy auditing program to examine the potential for energy efficiency improvements and cost savings at “Fund-lead” (federally managed) Superfund sites at which long-term remedial approaches were being implemented. Using information collected from the Department of Energy, Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), and other public and private primary and published sources, he developed an extensive auditing protocol and applied it at two profoundly contaminated Superfund sites in the northeast. Mr. Soyka then summarized and delivered findings to EPA that included the following: generally low awareness of energy and cost savings opportunities; inconsistent/unclear incentives to save energy and operating costs; and numerous tangible opportunities to make use of building/facility insulation; energy efficient space conditioning, electric motors, pumps, and treatment equipment; and distributed power generation.
ISO Registration Auditing
On behalf of a major international quality and management system registrar, Mr. Soyka has performed third-party audits to assess conformance to the ISO 14001 EMS standard. In this capacity, he has audited large and small manufacturing sites in several industries, providing objective, actionable findings that, when fully addressed, can bring site operations into full conformance with the ISO standard. Mr. Soyka also is trained and qualified to audit conformance to the OSHAS 18001 health and safety standard.
Audit Program Enhancements
For the U.S. Postal Service, Mr. Soyka prepared an analysis and series of recommendations for how the Postal Service could improve and consolidate its existing environmental and health and safety auditing programs. He performed and provided a summary of research updating the current state of the art in auditing practice, developed and articulated a method for evaluating each current auditing program component and method against best practices, and outlined a strategy and general time line for conducting a thorough review, evaluation, and synthesis of a unified environmental, health, and safety auditing program. He also developed a scoring algorithm by which USPS locations could be ranked in terms of priority for receiving individual or unified audits based upon their operational attributes and compliance history. Subsequently, Mr. Soyka provided intensive, ongoing support to the Audit Program team leader in designing a pilot program to test different audit configurations at USPS facilities nationwide. Among other activities, this included developing a series of electronic forms to be completed by audit team and host facility participants. These forms enabled far more consistent and cost-effective collection, compilation, and analysis of data than would have been possible otherwise.
Common Ground on ESG Metrics
Soyka & Company directed an innovative project seeking to bridge the perspectives of the corporate EHS professional and of the ESG researcher/investor sponsored by the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute (IRRCi). It explored the commonalities and differences in what environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues are important to corporate managers and to investor-oriented ESG researchers. Representatives of these two groups are, respectively, those who prepare most corporate sustainability and corporate social responsibility reports, and those who are major consumers of these reports and developers of most of the major corporate sustainability ratings and rankings that are increasingly in the public eye. The project report, Finding Common Ground on the Metrics that Matter, published in January 2012, provided a number of new and interesting findings, among them the following: 1) There is general agreement about what the important corporate sustainability issues are, but not on why or how company ESG data should be used—the team found that more than 20 distinct ESG indicators are commonly used both internally in leading corporations and by ESG researchers and analysts, but the fundamental uses to which these data are put and the level of detail of interest differ substantially; 2) The evidence suggests that both corporate executives and ESG researchers/ investors approach ESG issues from a risk mitigation perspective, not a value creation perspective—notwithstanding the advancements of recent years, environmental and broader sustainability issues are most often viewed from a negative perspective, not as opportunities for creating new cash flows, and communications between corporate and ESG researcher representatives rarely address such opportunities; and 3) future Improvements will require improved clarity and more effective and consistent communication between companies, researchers, and the consumers of ratings. This report provides extensive new empirical evidence documenting why corporate EHS professionals and ESG researchers/investors appear to have such difficulty reaching a shared understanding of what ESG metrics are most important, what corporate ESG management and performance information is needed by external stakeholders, and how this information can and should be used to inform judgments about a company's future success and suitability as an investment. By providing a sophisticated synthesis of extensive new data generated from detailed surveys, web site and document reviews, and personal interviews with experienced practitioners in both the corporate EHS arena and in the ESG research/socially responsible investing (SRI) industry, Soyka & Company and its team members have developed an important new vehicle by which interested parties on all sides of the corporate sustainability debate can understand and agree upon certain key aspects of current practices, and discuss more thoughtfully and realistically desired improvements in the measurement, reporting, and analysis of corporate ESG behavior and its financial implications.
Mailing Industry Sustainability Reporting Practices
Recently, on behalf of a consortium of major firms involved in various ways with the mail value chain, Mr. Soyka and a business partner conducted an analysis of the environmental/ sustainability reporting practices of companies in a number of diverse industries. Using his extensive knowledge of corporate environmental management and reporting practices, Mr. Soyka developed a checklist, or scoring system, for evaluating each company as to the apparent maturity of its environmental/ sustainability program. He then devised and applied a sampling approach for each industry sector of interest, whereby a small number of individual companies within each sector were selected randomly. Mr. Soyka conducted on-line research on the selected companies, and scored each using the checklist. He then tabulated and summarized the results, and drafted and delivered a memorandum presenting the strong and weak points of firms within the sectors evaluated, based upon their environmental/sustainability reporting practices. Findings suggest that from the point of view of the public, the maturity of environmental/sustainability programs varies widely across the firms and sectors participating in the mail value chain, though it appears to be strongest in sectors having both extensive environmental issues and long-standing programs (e.g., the forest products industry).
Improving Science Communications
Mr. Soyka directed extensive, multi-faceted support to the Communications Director of the U.S. EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) and her immediate staff on two successive projects. In this capacity, Mr. Soyka performed a number of important roles while directing a sizeable team comprised of internal staff and external consultants having specialized expertise. In collaboration with the Communications Director, he conceptualized new internal and external communications products; sought, obtained, and deployed sophisticated, specialized expertise as required; prepared and edited written products explaining ORD science to lay audiences; and explored options for electronic (e.g., web-based) information delivery methods. Mr. Soyka also directed numerous efforts to prepare new communication products (e.g., posters, e-newsletters, presentation formats, report covers, podcasts); establish more effective internal communication methods; train executive-level ORD personnel; publicize ORD programs and accomplishments; and many other activities.
Stock Price Impacts of Environmental Improvements
Mr. Soyka directed a pioneering study defining and documenting a relationship between improved corporate environmental management practices and environmental performance, and market risk and stock prices, based in part on company environmental reporting. The peer-reviewed study, entitled, “Does Improving a Firm’s Environmental Management System and Environmental Performance Result in a Higher Stock Price,” Journal of Investing, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 87-97, received world-wide interest, and was profiled in the Harvard Business Review, Financial Times, and other prominent business publications. As part of this research, Mr. Soyka directed the development of a scoring/ranking system for the maturity of corporate environmental management programs, and an evaluation of corporate environmental reports for completeness, evidence of sound environmental management practices, and use of appropriate environmental, health, and safety performance metrics. Subsequently, Mr. Soyka served as a featured speaker at a number of national and international environmental management forums, at which he discussed this research and its implications for future environmental management initiatives, and their real and apparent value to the enterprise.