What will it take to get the CEOs of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies to wake up to the realities of climate change? Our guest this week on Sea Change Radio is Raj Thamotheram. He and his colleagues at Preventable Surprises believe that even small-scale investors can produce large-scale results by advocating for sounder environmental practices within the board rooms of multinational conglomerates. Thamotheram breaks down his approach to investor engagement, known as the Forceful Stewardship Program, and maps out a strategy for companies to satisfy investors without putting the planet in peril.
Human slavery. Many of us think of it as a terrible chapter of US history that ended in the 19th century. But, according to the United Nations, slavery is a modern reality for roughly 27 to 30 million human beings living, right now. Our guest today on Sea Change Radio is Associated Press reporter, Robin McDowell, who, along with three colleagues, recently won a Pulitzer Prize, for her team’s exposé of slavery practices in the Southeast Asian seafood industry. Not only did this investigation receive the highest honor in journalism, it alerted consumers of how we are contributing to the practice by eating slave-produced seafood, and, most importantly, it precipitated the rescue of 2,000 slaves who are now living free after years and even decades of bondage. McDowell breaks down the details of how she and her colleagues uncovered the story, some of the horrors they encountered along the way, and how it sparked action to dismantle similar operations in the region. (n.b. Ms. McDowell misspoke when she called the Rohingya a persecuted minority from Indonesia. They are from Myanmar).
According to the Supreme Court, corporations are people. The absurdity of this statement notwithstanding, it is clear that, like people, corporations make mistakes, and sometimes commit crimes and atrocities. This week on Sea Change Radio we talk with two experts about the impact that two energy corporations have had on actual people. First, host Alex Wise speaks with Inside Climate News reporter Neela Banerjee about the stark contrast between what happened at Aliso Canyon and what happened near Mobile, Alabama when gas and chemical spills contaminated the communities there. The same company, Sempra Energy, was involved, and yet the response and aftermath were vastly different, with race and class factoring significantly into environmental justice outcomes. Then we hear from John Wilson, Head of Corporate Governance at Cornerstone Capital Group about the death of former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon. Facing widespread accusations that he cheated landowners out of the money they were promised in exchange for letting Chesapeake Energy drill for natural gas on their property, Chesapeake’s founder died in mysterious fashion. Wilson gives us his environmental, social, and corporate governance perspective on the corruption allegations and the demise of the man Forbes Magazine once called “the world’s most reckless billionaire.”
Apparently things are moving and shaking in Oklahoma, literally. In the past 8 years earthquakes in the “Sooner State” have increased from 2 a year to 2 a day. Is the expansion of gas and oil exploration during that same period of time a mere coincidence? This week on Sea Change Radio, we hear from Ole Kaven, a geophysicist with the US Geological Survey. Kaven’s area of expertise is human-induced seismicity, in other words, how human activity contributes to earthquakes. He talks about the work he has been doing studying the effects of carbon sequestration on seismic events, the sharp increase in Oklahoma’s seismicity, and what the government and the public should know about how oil and gas industry practices could be making the earth move under our feet.
Calories and sustainability issues aside, would you eat at Chick-fil-A despite the publicly anti-gay positions of its owners? Would a corporation’s discriminatory employment policies deter you from buying shares in it? Millions of Americans have changed their consumer habits based on whether they perceive corporations to be behaving in socially responsible ways. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with John Wilson, the Head of Corporate Governance at Cornerstone Capital Group, about the how the fight for LGBT equality has seeped into mainstream corporate America. They discuss the religious roots of the corporate social responsibility movement, talk about how religion and progressive values are squaring off in North Carolina’s civil rights battle, and contemplate the impact of the most profitable company in the world being led by a proudly gay man.