Check out the CSRminute from our good friends at 3BL Media, who caught up with Sea Change Media Executive Director Bill Baue at the Business for Social Responsibility Conference in San Francisco last week. Read the show transcript
By Bill Baue of Sea Change Media
The United Nations’ 2005 appointment of Harvard Professor John Ruggie as Special Representative on Business and Human Rights shone a spotlight on the often adverse — and until then under-acknowledged — impact of corporations on human rights. The UN gave its imprimatur, but no budget, making Prof. Ruggie’s staggering compendium of accomplishments over the past four years all the more impressive. Invisible behind the research, stakeholder engagement, and public appearances is constant fundraising — and time stolen from his day job and family — to support his vital work.
Sea Change Radio looks at the trend of corporate social responsibility using Web 2.0 tools. In this case, a wiki — BASESwiki, specifically (BASES stands for Business and Society Exploring Solutions.) The project was spearheaded by Caroline Rees of the Harvard Kennedy School Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative. She collaborates there with Professor John Ruggie, who is also the United Nations Special Representative on Business and Human Rights. Working on BASESwiki as part of Ruggie’s team, Rees seeks to leverage the democratic, interactive power of a wiki to gather information on non-judicial dispute resolution at the intersection of business and human rights.
Over the weekend, President-Elect Barack Obama appointed John Holdren as his Science Adviser, a move applauded by many environmentalists. Holdren is director of the Woods Hole Research Center and teaches at Harvard. Corporate Watchdog Radio has featured him twice. We aired part of his opening address at the 2008 UN Investor Summit on Climate Risk. And in September 2006, he talked with us about the pros and cons of nukes as a low-carbon solution to the climate crisis. This week, we reprise these shows to give a sense of Holdren’s opinions.
CWR News Analysis: Nick Robins of HSBC Analyzes the Poznan Climate Talks and the EU Climate Legislation —
As head of the Climate Change Centre for Excellence at the major UK bank HSBC, Nick Robins attended the recent climate talks in Poznan, Poland. This was the last step for the Kyoto Protocol before talks in Copenhagen in late 2009 negotiate post-Kyoto climate agreements. And, as world leaders met in Poznan, European Union Commissioners hammered out new climate legislation. Robins, co-author with Cary Krosinsky of the new book Sustainable Investing, weighs in on these as well from the HSBC offices in the UK.
CWR ViewPoint: Real or Fake — Christmas Tree, That Is!
[amazon-product align=”right”]1416544569[/amazon-product]Today’s show focuses on the intersection between sustainability and war — sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Eugene Jarecki, author of [amazon-product text=”The American Way of War: Guided Missiles, Misguided Men, and a Republic in Peril” type=”text”]1416544569[/amazon-product], certainly thinks so. Jarecki explains to CWR Co-Host Francesca Rheannon how the mission of the military, to protect and defend the United States, gets subordinated to the enrichment of military contractors.
CWR News Analysis:
Natural Capitalism Solutions Founder Hunter Lovins analyzes the sustainability of the military, focusing on the 2007 US Army Sustainability Report released in September 2008.
CWR ViewPoint :
Harvard Professor Linda Bilmes, co-author with Joseph Stiglitz of The Three Trillion Dollar War, discusses her blog post this week about the report issued by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. She says it calls the US reconstruction effort in Iraq “a massive, unmitigated fiasco and waste of taxpayer money.”
On December 10, 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, calling on member country governments to promote the UDHR. Now, on the Declaration’s 60th anniversary, responsibility for promoting human rights protections has expanded to include the business community. The UN codified this link in 2005 when it issued a mandate for a Special Representative on Business and Human Rights, and this year it extended the appointment of Harvard Professor John Ruggie to the post for another three years.
The year 2005 also saw the launch of the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre as a web platform covering both positive and negative news on corporate conduct around human rights. Today, we speak with Annabel Short, Head of Programme at the Resource Centre, about its innovative work promoting improvements in companies’ policies and practices on human rights.
In October, the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre launched the world’s first online portal profiling human rights lawsuits against companies. We caught up with the Resource Centre’s Head of Research Greg Regaignon from its California offices to describe the Corporate Legal Accountability Portal.
CWR News Analysis — Labor Rights are Human Rights
—Wall Street Journal: “When Will That Bailout Money Trickle Down Exactly?”
—Jobs with Justice: People’s Bailout Week
—Coalition of Immokalee Workers Press Release: “Subway Signs Agreement with CIW to Improve Tomato Harvester Wages, Working Conditions in Florida”
—International Labor Rights Forum Press Release: “Working for Scrooge — 5 Worst Companies for the Right to Associate”
—Listen to the complete interview with Jon Weissman of Jobs with Justice
CWR ViewPoint — Mandatory Human Rights Regulations for Companies
We’re excited about our new commentary partnership with Human Rights Watch. We inaugurate this collaboration today with the opinion of HRW’s director of the Business and Human Rights Program Arvind Ganesan.
Two slim guides have recently been published on climate change solutions, one written to CEOs on how business can profit by helping mitigate and adapt to climate change, one addressing what government policies are most promising. CWR co-host Bill Baue speaks with University of Michigan Professor Andy Hoffman, co-author with John Woody of Climate Change: What’s Your Business Strategy?, published May 1 by Harvard Business Press as part of its “Memo to the CEO” series.
Baue also speaks Working Assets Co-Founder Peter Barnes, author of Climate Solutions: What Works, What Doesn’t, and Why–A Citizen’s Guide, out recently from Chelsea Green.
Plus, we hear commentary from Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope on the failure of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, even after being ordered to do so by the Supreme Court. Thanks to Sierra Club Radio for this commentary.
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.
Harvard University Professor and National Commission on Energy Policy Co-Chair John Holdren discusses the role of nuclear power as a potential solution for climate change, identifying four primary problems that would need to be overcome for nukes to be a viable part of an overall greenhouse gas reduction strategy.