There is a groundswell of interest in metrics that go beyond our traditional financial view of companies. Many organizations have done extensive work on frameworks for ESG metrics, non-financial metrics, or integrated reporting, each targeted at a range of stakeholders including customers, employees, policymakers and investors. The challenge we often hear is that companies work hard to present thoughtful sustainability reports – which investors then ignore.

Why the disconnect? Most equity investing today is quantitatively driven. Rather than the traditional view of investors who read annual reports, meet with management, and make informed judgments about a company’s culture, leadership and strategy based on first-hand experience, the overwhelming amount of money today is managed by an algorithm or at least by a quantitatively driven process. Investors also like to compare companies over time and across sectors—and tend to be skeptical about companies’ varying metrics– so there is a real need for consistently calculable and widely applicable metrics. Even the most sophisticated sustainability reports are hard to incorporate into such a process.

So, what data can companies share that is both reflective of their businesses and useful for investors to make long-term investment decisions? While the industry and regulators come together around the most appropriate frameworks, we believe we can advance the conversation with metrics that meet the following criteria:

Of course, companies could disclose additional information, and these metrics are not the only things an investor might want to know. But we need to start somewhere, and the metrics that follow are a place to start.

Long-Term Financial and Organizational Metrics

In order to be relevant to most investors, long-term or sustainability metrics need to be disclosed in a consistent matter that is assurable by auditors.

Long-term investors recognize that business practices not reflected in standard financial reporting still affect their return, and incorporating sustainability principles into investing is increasing dramatically. As investor demand grows, myriad efforts are underway to measure and disclose corporate sustainability. There are 600 environmental, social, and governance (ESG) frameworks in use today, and companies release detailed ESG data in sustainability reports, each with its own non-standard format. At the same time, investment processes are becoming increasingly computer-driven. There is a clear need for long-term financial and organizational metrics targeted at quantitative investors.

Rather than developing yet another framework, FCLTGlobal has worked closely with sustainability experts and other business and policy leaders to identify a series of metrics that we believe would streamline and enhance the incorporation of the key long-term value drivers in investment processes.


We identified these metrics with several goals in mind – first, to provide investors with information that is not already available in the machine-readable versions of regulatory filings. These metrics would supplement Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) financials.

The second goal is to give investors insight into granular year-over-year changes in financial and operating practices and outcomes. Therefore, the metrics have continuous ranges rather than being yes-no questions, such as management attestations, which are considered separately.

The third goal is to recognize that investors build distinct investment processes based on their investment beliefs and client priorities. These metrics are not judgments or ratings, but rather information in the form of raw numbers. Investors can incorporate the metrics as they see fit.

Lastly, FCLTGlobal aims to put forward a simple starting point with a clear recognition of the need to evolve over time.

The metrics

To be relevant to investors using quantitative methods, long-term financial and organizational metrics must satisfy several criteria referenced above, which have been vetted by FCLTGlobal Members and other global experts. These criteria narrow the list of potential metrics substantially to a common baseline targeted at investors. We recognize that there are many other stakeholders and reasons for disclosure. Companies may naturally choose to provide additional disclosures, beyond these baseline long-term financial and organizational metrics.

While not a framework, our list of long-term financial and organizational metrics can be grouped into six distinct groups, based on Member and other expert opinions: Talent, Governance, Innovation, Capital AllocationEnvironmental Footprint, and Payments to Governments.


Personnel turnover Turnover can be an indicator of human capital development; changes in turnover can be a leading indicator of change• EPIC • SASB • Nasdaq • Academic evidenceAll terminations from the organization during the period (voluntary or involuntary)/total employee base at the beginning of the period, including part-time and full-time staff and excluding intra-company transfers, changes in roles, and leaves of absence
Job creationNet job creation can be both an indicator of company growth and human capital development• World Economic Forum • International Business Council Number of new hires net of terminations, including all part-time and full-time staff and excluding intra-company transfers, changes in roles, and leaves of absence
Leadership diversityIf diverse boards create long-term value, perhaps diverse management teams do too• EPIC • SASB • UN SDGs • Academic evidencePercentage of named executive officers in the proxy statements by gender
Gender pay gapGender pay gap is a leading indicator of leadership diversity and a measure of gender inclusion• UK rule • Nasdaq • UN SDGs • Mixed academic evidence• Mean & median gender pay gap in hourly pay • Mean & median bonus gender pay gap • Percentage of each gender receiving bonus payment • Proportion of each gender in each pay quartile
Employee health and safetyHas implications for employee attraction/retention, engagement/productivity• SASB • Nasdaq • European Directive on Disclosure of Non-Financial & Diversity Information • Academic evidence• Total recordable incident rate (TRIR), • Fatality rate for (a) FTEs and (b) contract employees
Employee trainingInvesting in employees continued education is an indicator of human capital development• GRI • EPIC • Academic evidenceTotal spend on training per employee or per hour


Board gender balance, age range, and tenureDiverse boards are shown to create more long-term value• GRI • EPIC • Nasdaq, • European Directive on Disclosure of Non-Financial and Diversity Information, • FCLTGlobal Research (gender, age range) • Academic evidence (gender), • Mixed academic evidence (tenure)Matrix gender, age, and board tenure of each board member
Board independenceBoard independence can limit conflicts of interest• GRI • SEC • Mixed academic evidenceNumber of independent vs. non-independent board members
Insider ownership Stock ownership can align management and shareholders; changes in ownership can be a leading indicator of changeAcademic evidence• Percentage/number of company shares owned/voted by management and board • Clear distinction between purchased shares and granted shares
Long-term compensationCompensation duration for executive team can drive time horizonAcademic evidencePercentage of named executive officer compensation that is payable beyond 3, 5, and 10 years


R&D spendingInnovation is one of the pillars of long-term value creation• UN SDGs • Academic evidenceR&D expense

Capital allocation

Executed buybacksBuybacks can be an important use of capital. Tracking their execution is criticalMixed academic evidenceClear record of announced vs. executed buybacks with volume weighted average price (VWAP)
Amount spent on acquisitions and generated from divestituresBoth a capital allocation and an innovation metricMixed academic evidenceAmount spent on acquisitions and amount generated from divestitures

Environmental footprint

Scope 1, 2, and 3 greenhouse gas emissionsCombination of climate and efficient operations• CDP • Nasdaq • UN SDGs • European Directive, GHG Protocol • One Planet Sovereign Wealth Fund framework • Academic evidenceGross global emissions (metric tons)
Environmental fines and violationsA measure of compliance• FCLTGlobal Members • Academic evidenceDollar value of environmental fines over revenues

Payments to governments

Total amounts paid to governments including taxes and equivalent paidMeasures contribution to society through government support• European Directive on Disclosure of Non-Financial and Diversity Information • EPIC• Total income taxes • Payroll taxes • Property taxes • Fees, duties, royalties paid to governments

The majority of the metrics are supported by academic research and expert opinion, in addition to being compatible with 22 current frameworks (as shown above) that sustainability experts, global business leaders, and policymakers have spent years developing, including: 3M, the Climate Disclosure Project, the Climate Disclosure Standards Board, the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism (EPIC), Corporate Reporting Dialogue, Datamaran, EY, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Greenhouse Gas Protocol, Her Majesty’s Government, the Impact Management Project, the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), the International Organization for Standardization, Nasdaq, One Planet Summit Sovereign Wealth Funds Working Group, Principles for Responsible Investment, Social Accountability International, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN), and the US. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

Future Metrics

There are a number of important metrics that are challenging to uniformly calculate and assure, but that FCLTGlobal would like to acknowledge and incorporate over time:


Managerial attestations would also provide value in addition to the metrics outlined above. First, a management attestation of no compulsory or child labor (though a binary metric) would address a key investor concern. Norms-based screens such as this are a common form of ESG screening – such an attestation would align with the work of UNPRI, UN Global Compact, UN SDGs, and European Directive on Disclosure of Non-Financial and Diversity Information. Second, a yes-no question on whether there has been a qualified audit in the past 5 years would indicate the presence of any significant governance issues. Third, a yes-no question on whether a company reports TCFD metrics and targets would help investors separate commitment to sustainability from greenwashing.

Over time, FCLTGlobal plans to collaborate with other initiatives to drive convergence and adoption, and to further define methodologies. We hope that this work will make a new and valuable contribution to quantitative investment processes and corporate reporting around the world. And we hope to hear additional views on the metrics and methodologies as we continue to explore this important aspect of long-term investing.