This week CWR rebroadcasts a show from earlier this year that got great feedback. CWR co-host Bill Baue spoke with Michael Conroy, author of Branded! How the “Certification Revolution” is Transforming Global Corporations. Conroy discusses how activist campaigning for improved corporate social and environmental practices has gotten companies to respond. The two sides moved from antagonism to tense collaboration in the creation of certification schemes that solved activist concerns while preserving–and often boosting–companies’ profitability. Conroy brings a hands-on view to the story as a program officer at the Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Brothers Fund, where he helped fund the activists NGOs as well as the resulting certification processes. He also serves as chair of TransFair, the Fair Trade certifying body in the US, as well as serving on the board of Forest Stewardship Council, which certifies lumber and paper practices.
CWR co-hosts Bill Baue and Francesca Rheannon speak with investigative journalist Greg Palast, who notes the coincidental timing of revelations of Eliot Spitzer’s hiring of a prostitute on the eve of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s $200 billion bailout of banks implicated in the subprime meltdown. The former New York Governor was set to unveil plans to pursue prosecution of the banks for predatory lending that is illegal under New York State law, where most of the banks are headquartered, according to Palast. So instead of being busted by Spitzer, the banks behind the subprime mess were rewarded with a fifth of a trillion dollars, printed by the US government.
The new Congress faces a full agenda on the Iraq war and corruption in the Bush administration. Where do issues of corporate accountability fit in? We talk in depth with two Washington, DC area activists and researchers about CEO pay, expansion of Enron-era reforms against corporate crime, and the outsourcing of American jobs.
Our guests are Phil Mattera and Charlie Cray, coauthors of the provocative proposal, “A Contract with Corporate America.”