Sea Change Radio Executive Producer Bill Baue is joined in the studio by John Gillespie, co-author with David Zweig, of Money for Nothing: How the Failure of Corporate Boards is Ruining American Business and Costing Us Trillions.
Articles Tagged ‘ shareholders ’
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.
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.
Jodie Van Horn of the Rainforest Action Network analyzes biofuels, which divert agriculture from food to fuel, spurring food riots globally and driving deforestation.
We also hear commentary from Jennifer Taub of the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst on how mutual fund conflicts of interest intersect with genocide-free investing.
–Senate Extends Energy Tax Credits in Housing Bill
–New Report Lists Top 100 Polluters
–Amount of Farmland Certified by Rainforest Alliance Reaches Million Acre Milestone
–Brazilian Lovers Can Now Show Their Love–For the Planet
CWR co-hosts Francesca Rheannon and Bill Baue attended the conference, hosted by investor-environmentalist coalition Ceres and its Investor Network on Climate Risk. Rheannon speaks with British Telecom Pension Scheme Trustee Donald MacDonald about the impact of war on climate change and what institutional investors can do to address it.Baue speaks with Co-op America CEO Alisa Gravitz about its multi-tiered approach to address climate change through member company actions, investor advocacy, and consumer activism. And Ian Gray of Ceres speaks with McKinsey Global Institute Director Diana Farrell about its new report on energy efficiency. We also excerpt highlights from the presentations by Harvard Professor and Woods Hole Research Center Director John Holdren outlining the current science on climate change and AFL-CIO President John Sweeney placing climate change in the social context.
CWR Headlines: Over a quarter of Fidelity fund shareholders support genocide-free resolution.
Dean Foods’ Horizon Organic Milk brand is under fire for its industrial farming model. Mark Kastel of the Cornucopia Institute and Steven Heim of Boston Common Asset Management speak about the shareowner engagement they’ve been conducting with the company, asking why Dean would want to endanger the reputation of its Horizon brand by sourcing milk from factory farms.
George Siemon, CEO of Organic Valley, a cooperative that competes with Horizon nationally, talks about the difference between the family farm organic model and the industrial farm organic model, as well as noting some positives that corporations can bring to the sustainability movement. Francesca Rheannon of Writer’s Voice co-hosts this edition with Bill Baue.
Rich Ferlauto, who handles shareholder activism for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) pension funds, discusses shareholder democracy and corporate governance. Currently, shareholders cannot nominate candidates for corporate boards of directors, and those directors can be elected on a single vote. A federal appeals court recently ruled in favor of AFSCME against the American International Group in allowing the union access to the corporate ballot to nominate directors. Ferlauto also discusses the move to establish majority vote director elections that is gaining steam. He criticizes the Securities and Exchange Commission for failing to support shareholder rights.
Richard Liroff, Ph.D. talks about a new investor network concerned with reducing unnecessarily toxic chemicals in products. DuPont shareholders broadly support resolution calling for the company to report on options to speed the elimination of PFOA production and use (a chemical used in producing Teflon as well as grease and stain resistant coatings on carpet, textiles and food wraps).
In addition, we hear a live report from Simon Billeness at an Amnesty International protest regarding the role of Yahoo in jailing a Chinese dissident.
Annual shareholder meetings in April and May are a time to press companies to do the right thing on environment and human rights. CWR discusses shareholder fights at DuPont(toxic chemicals), Dow Chemical (Bhopal), Whole Foods (toxics in products), CVS and others.
A report back on a public conversation at the American Bar Association with a Chevron lawyer regarding their potential pollution liabilities in Ecuador. Guests include Julie Gozan of Amalgamated Bank and Andrew Shalit of Green Century Capital Management.