Tag Archives | CSR

Is Wall Street Capitalism Really “The Model”?

DavidEllerman

David P. Ellerman

Guest post from David P. Ellerman who works in the fields of economics and political economy, social theory and philosophy, mathematical logic, and quantum mechanics. His undergraduate degree was in philosophy at M.I.T. (’65), and he has Masters degrees in Philosophy of Science (’67) and in Economics (’68), and a doctorate in Mathematics (’71) all from Boston University. He has been in and out of teaching in economics, mathematics, accounting, computer science, and operations research departments in various universities (1970-90), founded and managed a consulting firm in East Europe (1990-2), and worked in the World Bank from 1992 to 2003 where he was an economic advisor to the Chief Economist (Joseph Stiglitz). He is currently a visiting scholar at the University of California/Riverside and a Fellow of the Center on Global Justice at University of California/San Diego.

He has published numerous articles in various fields and five books. The published and draft papers and book manuscripts, including Is Wall Street Capitalism Really “The Model,  are available on his website, David Ellerman. See also his working papers here on the SSRN site. Continue Reading →

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Investors Call on Food Companies to Stay out of Washington State GMO Battle

gmoCompanies that gave $46 million to stop California GMO labeling risk negative brand reputation if they fund effort to stop I-522 initiative for transparent labeling of food. Companies that donated funds to oppose ballot initiatives to require the labeling of products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are facing new pressure from shareholders to stay out of future elections.

Leading up to the vote on Washington State’s ballot initiative to require GMO labeling, As You Sow, the Green Century Equity Fund, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) are filing resolutions asking the top corporate donors to the opposition of the California GMO labeling ballot initiative to refrain from using Continue Reading →

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CSR Reviewed

CGIRThe September issue of Corporate Governance: An International Review is devoted to papers on corporate governance systems and corporate social responsibility. The opening editorial (accessible without subscription) begins with a civics lesson:

One cannot understand the CSR strategy and politics of organizations without understanding the nature of the institutional environments in which they choose – or are forced – to operate. Continue Reading →

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Corporate Governance: Stepping Back in Time From September 2013

MrPeabodysWayBackMachinePublisher’s Note: Yes, you’ll find many broken links in the material referenced below. After 5, 10 and 15 years, the internet moves on. Many of the organization’s linked have since gone under. We’re just glad to still be here, offering our readers a sense of the history we have shared. More about the WABAC machine.

Five Years Ago in Corporate Governance

  • According to Jackie Cook,  “Opposition to CSR resolutions by mainstream fund groups (votes cast ‘against’ CSR shareholder resolutions) has fallen by a full 13 percent over the five year period, from 85 percent in 2004 to 72 percent in 2008. This corresponds with a large and sustained increase in abstentions by mainstream funds on CSR resolutions over the five year period from 10 percent in 2004 to 16 percent in 2008.” We concluded Continue Reading →
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Garment Worker to Access WalMart Annual Meeting

I am delighted to announce that Kalpona Akter, a former garment worker from Bangladesh who is the executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, will have access to the floor of the WalMart ($WMT) annual meeting on Friday, June 7 in Bentonville, Arkansas. She has been an outspoken critic of sweatshop conditions in Bangladesh where Wal-Mart is the second largest producer. Ironically, she will be presenting my proposal to allow shareowners to call a “special meeting.” Continue Reading →

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My Notes from Ceres Conference 2013

Let’s just label these notes as “for entertainment purposes only.” Attending the conference was a real pleasure. Unfortunately, I was too busy catching up with people to take more than impressionistic notes at a few of the discussions. Prepare to be frightened about global climate change and our irresponsibly slow pace addressing the catastrophic consequences we are already beginning to see all around us. Save April 30 and May 1 for Ceres Conference 2014 in Boston. Continue Reading →

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For Mother’s Day, Tell McDonald’s (MCD) to Stop Predatory Marketing to Kids

When it comes to fast-food marketing to children, McDonald’s ($MCD) is one of the worst offenders.  For decades, the fast food giant has profited richly at a staggering cost to our children’s health.

Corporate Accountability International‘s latest initiative is rallying moms across the country to call on McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson to stop the corporation’s predatory marketing to kids. Join the action! Post this image today on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Pinterest, Instagram…wherever you hang out online. Don’t forget the hashtag #MomsNotLovinIt. Continue Reading →

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Beyond Growth: Do Corporations Have Any Responsibility to Ensure Growth Helps the Majority?

Martin Hart-Landsberg

The following guest post is from Martin Hart-Landsberg, PhD who blogs at Reports from the Economic Front. I’m republishing his post (I added the subtitle to his Beyond Growth) because I believe those concerned with corporate governance need to look at corporations in context. Are corporations helping society or adding to its burdens?

Cross-posted at Reports from the Economic Front.

While newspapers give a lot of ink to arguments about whether reducing the budget deficit will boost or reduce growth, they seem to have little interest in the related issue of whether economic growth really benefits the great majority. Continue Reading →

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Fair Harvard Fund Makes Progress: Alternative Endowment Should Be Permanent & Democratic

The Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition recently announced it had invested contributions from 450 donors in a socially responsible fund withheld from Harvard University. The Fair Harvard Fund, designed as an alternative endowment fund, will be invested in the Portfolio 21 Global Equity Fund.

According to Harvard undergraduate and investment committee member Michael Danto: Continue Reading →

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Review: Governance, Democracy and Sustainable Development

The subtitle of the book edited by James Meadowcroft, Oluf Langhelle and Audun Ruud is Governance, Moving Beyond the Impasse. Progress on important issues such as climate change, biodiversity, sustainable management of lands and oceans is blocked. The book’s essays, by some of the world’s leading thinkers, explore how we got here and how we might move beyond the current impasse. Although there is some discussion of accumulation, commodification, profit motive, greed, and corporate governance, more focus on those areas is needed to make more substantial progress. Continue Reading →

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Ground-Breaking Proxy Proposals Headed to Shareowner Vote

Climate Change Portfolio Exposure

Boston Common Asset Management has a proposal that will appear on the proxy of PNC Financial Services ($PNC) requesting that it report to shareowners on the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from its lending portfolio and its exposure to climate change risk in its lending, investing, and financing activities. Watch for your proxy. The annual meeting will be held on April 23, 2012. According to the proposal, Continue Reading →

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Faith-Based Investing: Believers Engaging the Boardroom

The following guest post comes from Usman Hayat, was published by the CFA Institute on 13 February 2013, and is republished here with permission. 

Why, how, and to what effect do faith-based investors engage with companies to seek positive social and environmental change? A recent report, “Believers in the Boardroom: Religious Organizations and Their Shareholder Engagement Practices” by International Interfaith Investment Group (3iG), addresses this question.

The report offers case studies from three faith-based investors — Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Church of England, and Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust — who lobbied financial giants such as Goldman Sachs (GS) and Bank of America (BAC), to varying degrees of success. Continue Reading →

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Webinar on Environmental & Social Proxy Proposals

The Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute will host a webinar on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 1 PM ET to review the findings of a new study that finds environmental and social (E+S) shareholder proposals are gaining increased voting support from investors at U.S. public companies. From 2005-2011, average support for these proposals more than doubled, from about 10 to more than 20 percent.  Continue Reading →

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Report Shows Carbon Divestment Does Not Increase Portfolio Risk

As students around the country are asking their university endowments to do the climate math and divest from fossil fuel companies, the financial community is responding with its own math, the “investment math,” to determine the risk impact of carbon divestment. Aperio Group LLC, a financial advisory firm that manages customized portfolios for a range of values-based investors, released its latest analysis of the risks of divesting from carbon: Do The Investment Math: Building a Carbon Free Portfolio.  Continue Reading →

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Active Ownership Increases Corporate Returns

Elroy Dimson, Oguzhan Karakas, and Xi Li analyze an extensive proprietary database of corporate social responsibility engagements with US public companies over 1999–2009. Engagements address environmental, social, and governance concerns. They are followed by a one-year abnormal return that averages 1.8%, comprising 4.4% for successful and zero for unsuccessful engagements. Continue Reading →

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100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior

Trust Across AmericaCHESTER, NEW JERSEY, January 14, 2013. Trust Across America, global leaders in information, standards and data, and Who’s Who in trustworthy business has selected 2013′s Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior. These people collectively represent a group that can genuinely transform the way organizations do business. Consider following us on Twitter.

According to Barbara Kimmel, Executive Director,

The release of this third annual list coincides with the formal launch of Trust Across America’s Campaign for Trust™, a two-year collaborative initiative to reverse the cycle of mistrust in business. Continue Reading →

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International Review Focuses on Executive Compensation

I received my copy of the November edition of Corporate Governance: An International Review a couple of weeks ago (yes, they usually run late). It is a special issue on executive compensation with the usual diversity of well-researched articles from around the globe. I notice that most, if not all, of the articles are available online for free, so if you don’t subscribe to the best journal on international corporate governance research, this is your opportunity to see a little of what you are missing… although each issue is substantially different. Continue Reading →

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Cisco: How I Voted – Proxy Score 83%

Cisco ($CSCO) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 11/15/2012. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of five funds when I voted on 11/8/2012.  I voted with management 83% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank will be voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Don’t Let Companies Change Shareholders’ Blank Votes) Continue Reading →

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A New Strategy to Fight Citizens United

Guest post from . Author, ‘The Myth of Choice’; law professor at Boston College. This article is adapted from a more substantial essay in the Fall 2012 issue of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas and appeared previously on Huffington Post, 9/15/2012.

We progressives have been in quite a tizzy about Citizens United, especially now that 2012 election cycle is swamped with Super PAC money. Citizens United, you’ll remember, is the 2010 Supreme Court case saying that corporations have the same rights to engage in political speech as you and I do. In response, a number of progressives have proposed constitutional amendmentsto do away with corporate “personhood.” Continue Reading →
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Emerging Markets ESG: Interviews & Database

The Global Unions’ Committee on Workers’ Capital (CWC) is an international labor union network for dialogue and action on the responsible investment of workers’ capital. The CWC Secretariat is hosted at the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE), a leader in responsible investment services for institutional investors.  In her capacity as International Program Director at SHARE, Priya Bala Miller executes strategic planning, coordination and program development for the CWC.  Prior to joining SHARE, Priya worked with UN agencies and international NGOs as an advocate for corporate social responsibility and sustainability. Continue Reading →

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Video Friday: Johnson & Johnson’s Acuvue Fails to See Issues of Stereotyping Clearly

Sociological Images (Boys Want Success, Girls Want Boys) noted a recent Acuvue contact lens commercial aimed at teens that reinforces both gender and racial stereotypes.

The teens look forward to their futures. For the boys, these involve future career success — notice the African American teen dreams of being a famous athlete, while the White boy’s Continue Reading →

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