Category Archives: Public Policy

Fighting the Fury: Climate Change, Natural Disasters, and the Business Response

The TakeAway: Companies and investors need to deal with natural disaster mitigation, resilience, and rebuilding efforts. Five years ago this Sunday, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, where the wounds remain raw.  Two years ago, Cyclone Nargis in Burma … Continue reading

Posted in Climate Change, Corporate Sustainability, Human Rights, Natural Disasters, Public Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Proxy Access & Shareholder Citizenship: The Quest for Inclusion

The TakeAway: New SEC rule allows shareholders to nominate board candidates, a major victory for corporate democracy. Yesterday was historic: the SEC granted shareholders the power to nominate candidates for board director elections.  The 3-2 vote along party lines ended … Continue reading

Posted in Corporate Governance, Proxy Voting, Public Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

“We the People”, Not “We the Moguls”

The TakeAway: Controversial corporate political spending spurs shareholder activism aimed at aligning company values with American values. With election season around the corner, today we question if our democracy, founded on the ideal of representing “We the People”, has been … Continue reading

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Apple Opens the Way to X-Filing

The TakeAway: New iPhone XBRL application opens new windows into financial reporting; next up: sustainability reporting. Apple’s iTunes Store has joined the digital revolution in financial reporting.  Yesterday, it rolled out a new offering – it wasn’t a song, movie, … Continue reading

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The Go-Getter Approach to Climate Change

The TakeAway: With extreme weather mounting and Congress dithering, WRI report outlines what we can do now to reduce GHGs. In the world of climate change, the gap between scientific consensus and political resolve is widening – but luckily, this … Continue reading

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Human Rights Due Diligence

The TakeAway: Integrating Human Rights Due Diligence into Risk Management May Help Prevent Future Oil Spills and Market Meltdowns We consider the collapse of the global banking system in 2008 as a financial debacle, and the collapse of the Deepwater … Continue reading

Posted in Corporate Governance, Corporate Reporting, Corporate Sustainability, Human Rights, Public Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ask Not What You Can Do for GM, Ask What GM Can Do for the Country

The TakeAway: Will the “new improved” GM fulfill its social duties as it prepares for an IPO? “What’s good for GM is good for America”, the old saying goes.  But that’s a misquote.  Former GM CEO Charles Erwin Wilson really … Continue reading

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A Rebirth of Wisdom

The TakeAway: Revived British Initiative May Strengthen Board Role in Social and Environmental Oversight We were pleasantly surprised to learn that the UK’s new Coalition Government has quietly exhumed the Operating and Financial Review (OFR), a policy for expanding corporate … Continue reading

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Reactions to Launch of International Integrated Reporting Committee

The TakeAway: Integrated reporting is a great idea, but there are many implementation challenges. Sustainability guru John Elkington calls integrated reporting  (which blends financial reporting with environmental, social and governance  reporting) a Holy Grail, the “Second Tiger” of the Transparent … Continue reading

Posted in Corporate Reporting, Corporate Sustainability, Public Policy | 2 Comments

Integrated Reporting: Off to A Strong Start

The TakeAway: International Integrated Reporting Committee Launches to Blend Financial Reporting with Sustainability Reporting Good news for proponents of sustainability reporting:  On Tuesday, the Global Reporting Initiative and the Accounting for Sustainability project (A4S) sponsored by the Prince of Wales … Continue reading

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Water: A Human Right

The TakeAway: Intel Affirmed Water as a Human Right Before the UN; Will Other Companies Follow Suit? Water is the driving force of all nature, said Leonardo da Vinci.  Apparently, the United Nations agrees.  On Wednesday, in a nonbinding measure … Continue reading

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SEC Rulemaking: Transparency Is Not Enough

Part Two of Two Parts The TakeAway: Dodd-Frank Provision Reduces SEC Accountability, While Digital Tools Can Transform Transparency into Action Yesterday, as we were writing optimistically about the new SEC transparency and outreach initiatives, a showdown was brewing. The issue: … Continue reading

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We the People, or Corporate Lobbyists: Whose Interests Will the SEC Serve?

Part One of Two Parts The TakeAway: SEC Opens  Door Further to Public Engagement as Ex-Regulator Lobbyists Rush In Two developments late yesterday demonstrate the high stakes involved when it comes to money and power, and vividly illustrate the imbalance … Continue reading

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Good Ownership and Good Governance: The Case for Investor Stewardship

The TakeAway: New UK Stewardship Code Helps Investors Act as Owners – Will US Follow Suit? With all the attention on financial regulatory reform, it’s easy to forget a simple truism:  You can’t have good corporate governance without good ownership.  … Continue reading

Posted in Proxy Voting, Public Policy, Stakeholder Engagement | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

U.S. Boards Lag on Sustainability

The TakeAway: Conference Board Study Says Most US Boards Still Pursuing Random Approach to Sustainability With rapidly changing financial regulations, the emergence of coherent global standards for disclosure, and a record breaking year of sustainability shareholder resolutions, you’d think that corporate … Continue reading

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Rules of the Road: Fixing Corporate Governance, and What It Means To You

The past half-year or so has seen a host of corporate governance reforms in the US, which dramatically change the context of corporate power and accountability.  In December 2009, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) set the ball rolling by … Continue reading

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Good Governance: A Perfect Storm

Part Three of Three Parts President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law yesterday, capping an extraordinary period of financial and governance reform, stimulated by the collapse of Lehman Brothers 22 months ago.  You could call it “the end of … Continue reading

Posted in Proxy Voting, Public Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Tackling “Corporate-Carditis”: SEC Proposes Quadruple Bypass Surgery on Proxy System

Part Two of a Two-Part Post Yesterday, in a rare expression of unanimity, the five SEC Commissioners all voted to approve a Concept Release that proposes sweeping revisions of the US proxy voting system.  This is akin to quadruple bypass … Continue reading

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Why Dodd-Frank Is Important–For Everyone

This week, Congress returned from  its holiday  break to confront a deep irony:  while millions are desperate for work, the place that brought down our economy is now on a roll.  On the first count, roughly 2.1 million US workers … Continue reading

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