Sunshine is the Best Disinfectant: Shareholder Activists Promote Corporate Transparency

Sanford Lewis

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously said, “Sunshine is the best disinfectant.” Shareholder activists have long promoted transparency in corporate reporting. Now, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) acknowledges its rules governing company disclosures aren’t good enough. So FASB is proposing new rules. Today, we speak with Corporate Watchdog Radio co-founder Sanford Lewis about his shareholder activism promoting better corporate disclosure on environmental and human health risks. Lewis, who serves as general counsel for the Investor Environmental Health Network (IEHN), identifies several strengths — as well as some disconcerting weaknesses — in the proposed rules. IEHN has issued an action alert outlining these strengths and weaknesses to guide submissions during the public comment period ending August 8.

Investor Environmental Health Network

SocialFunds article with interview transcript

Video excerpt of CWR interview with Sanford Lewis

IEHN Action Alert on FASB Rulemaking

FASB Exposure Draft on “Disclosure of Certain Loss Contingencies”

CWR Headlines:

US Chamber of Commerce Wants to Curb Shareholder Activism
European Shareholder Activists Go After Executive Pay
World Bank Critical of Its Own Environmental Impact

CWR ViewPoint:  read.

Stacy Malkan, co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, comments on toxics in cosmetics. Malkan points out that companies are allowed to label products ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ and still use harmful synthetics. Her award-winning book, Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry (New Society, 2007), tells the inside story of the campaign’s five-year effort to hold the beauty industry accountable to women’s health.

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics