Peaceful protesters gathered at the Mount Tom Power Plant in Holyoke, Massachusetts, on March 1, a chilly Sunday. They were demonstrating against coal, the fossil fuel that spews global warming carbon dioxide and toxins such as mercury into the air. They were piggy-backing on the Capitol Climate Action coal protests happening the next day in Washington, DC. Sea Change Radio spoke last week with that event’s organizer Bill McKibben. Read the show transcript
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.
The Social Investment Forum (SIF) submitted a letter to President Obama listing a series of policy proposals, from proxy access allowing shareholders to nominate board candidates to “say on pay” giving investors a vote on executive compensation. SIF also urges the Obama Administration to establish an Office for Innovation in Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR. This idea dates back to the early 2000s, propounded first by Susan Aaronson at the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, and supported by a Government Accountability Office report finding major lack of coordination on federal CSR initiatives. SIF CEO Lisa Woll explains the rationale behind the recommendations, and how they will promote advancement toward sustainability.
[amazon-product align=”right”]006117212X[/amazon-product]In his first week in office, President Obama seemed to hit the ground running on climate change policy and support for a greener economy. But some say that while his efforts are a good first step, they’ll have to be followed up with much stronger measures to really do the job. We caught up with Joe Romm of the blog Climate Progress for some perspective on Obama’s first week. In addition to giving an overview, Romm also talked about an important–and frightening–new study from the NOAA that underscores the urgency of Obama’s moves.
Joe Romm worked on environmental policy under the Clinton Administration and is the author of [amazon-product text=”HELL AND HIGH WATER: Global Warming, the Solution and the Politics” type=”text”]006117212X[/amazon-product]. His blog Climate Progess is a project of the Center for American Progress.
“Greening the Ghetto” is the title of Elizabeth Kolbert’s profile of Van Jones in a recent New Yorker. The piece traces Van Jones’ development from a civil rights activist to a green collar jobs guru. Kolbert quotes Jones saying “Sometimes a breakdown can lead to a breakthrough.” She tells the story of how this resonates on a personal level for him. And, he’s also referring to this moment in history when an economic breakdown could lead to an environmental and economic breakthrough.
Tim Smith, an early innovators of shareowner activism in the 1970s, analyzes this year’s proxy season. Smith was head of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. ICCR practically invented the process of filing shareholder resolutions at companies they invest in raising concern around the environmental, society, and governance — now known as ESG. For years, he attended companies’ general meetings during proxy season when investors vote on shareholder resolutions.