Tag Archives | ethics

Impact Investing

The Fall issue of Cliff Feigenbaum’s Green Money Journal has an interesting article on “impact investing,” the term used to describe direct investments that that explicitly seek to achieve both financial return and social impact. A November 2010 report by JPMorgan and the Rockefeller Foundation, titled Impact Investments: An Emerging Asset Class, estimates the size […]

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India Against Corruption

Employees replaced their jackets with white tees imprinted with “India Against Corruption” slogan. On 24 August 2011, Bangroleans formed a 17-kilometer human chain on outer ring road to protest against corruption. Finally, the middle class Indians have discarded their cloak of apathy. Passion, enthusiasm and commitment to change the system is replacing cynicism, skepticism and […]

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The Potentially Binding Nature of Say on Pay

Say-on-pay, somewhat hollow on its own, could be used as a gatekeeper of sorts for corporate waste claims, argues Steven C. Caywood in Wasting the Corporate Waste Doctrine: How the Doctrine Can Provide a Viable Solution in Controlling Excessive Executive Compensation, 12/2010. A revitalized corporate waste doctrine would allow shareowners to have some meaningful power […]

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Review: Business Ethics and Corporate Sustainability

Business Ethics and Corporate Sustainability contains fourteen essays examining mainstream business models with the aim of designing more sustainable systems with regard to corporate responsibility issues, such as the environment and human rights, while reducing overall risk profiles and increasing legitimacy. Christopher J. Cowton, for example, examines the moral status of corporations, their collective responsibility […]

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Risk Managers Needed on Audit Committees

Overall, the number of U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement actions increased by 85% in 2010. Over the course of the year the U.S. Department of Justice brought 48 criminal cases and the SEC filed 26 new actions. The trend has continued in 2011. In February, 2011, Tyson agreed to a $5.2M settlement. A […]

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Some CalPERS Gift Reporting Investigations Closed

The FPPC opened an investigation earlier this year over allegations that 49 CalPERS board members and employees failed to accurately report gifts from lobbyists, contractors and other entities during the past five years. Six letters released last month are among the first results from the investigation. More findings are likely to be released over the […]

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Video Friday: Unraveled & Housing Bubble

“Unraveled” reveals the lesser-known case against Mark Dreier, an attorney and “philanthropist” charged with wire fraud, money laundering and other charges. In what amounts to a fascinating study of greed and motivation told from within an intimate series of exchanges, director Marc Simon allows Dreier to share his account of the events that transpired. Slick […]

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Latest CEO Pay Outrage: Two Sets of Books – Sign Petition

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, announced they introduced legislation to end tax breaks for stock options. As pointed out by Paul Hodgson – Chief Communications Officer of The Corporate Library: Since they are considered performance-related pay, stock option expense is subject to corporate tax relief under Section 162(m) of the IRC. […]

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Risks of Fracking

The companies most likely to be trusted by investors and most readily welcomed by local communities will be those that: • Have an across-the-board, transparent record of voluntary actions to reduce the quantity and toxicity of chemicals; • Develop innovative methods for reducing use of fresh water — for example, recycling fracturing waste waters or […]

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Video Friday: 6 Degrees Warmer: Mass Extinction?

Will we actually be frightened enough to do something more than install solar panels on our roof, buy a Prius and recycle our garbage? It doesn’t take an economist to understand the basic economic principle that you can’t grow an asset if you have destroyed the asset base. This fundamental principle seems to make perfect […]

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Economics of Good & Evil

Economics of Good and Evil: The Secret Foundations of a Science

Economics of Good and Evil: The Quest for Economic Meaning from Gilgamesh to Wall Street, by Thomas Sedlacek, explores the path dependency of modern Western economics through mythology, religion and fables. I wish the book had been published and influential forty-five years ago when I was a freshman economics major. When I was an undergraduate student […]

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Non-Financial Reporting

The Global Education Research Network symposium hosted by the Center for Corporate Citizenship opened with a panel titled “Looking at the Big Picture of Non-Financial Reporting.” Moderator Brad Googins, associate professor at the Carroll School, was joined by Steve Lydenberg, partner, Strategic Vision, Domini Social Investing, and Michael Sadowski, vice president, SustainAbility Inc. Googins asked […]

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Call for Papers: Ethical Finance & Governance

A December 16, 2011 on Ethical Finance & Governance is planned for Paris, chaired by H. Jemel (Amiens School of Management & LEM UMR 8179, Fr), JM. Sahut (HEG Geneva, Ch & CEREGE EA 1722-Univ. Poitiers, Fr) & F. Teulon (IPAG LAB, Fr). Guest speaker at the conference will be Z. Sardar, a Visiting Professor at City […]

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Sustainability Chat in Progress

The recent launch of the Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings seeks to bring some order, quality, and accountability to the diverse and booming growth industry of sustainability ratings and rankings—also a topic of the online “SustyChat3” among experts, occurring this week on the OpenEyeWorld platform. via The Sustainability Ratings Industrial Complex: Breaking the Hold | […]

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What is Corporate Governance For? Yale Governance Forum

The second session of the second day of the Yale Governance Forum 2011 was held under Chatham House Rule. Panelists were announced in advance, so that is no secret, but under the rule those reporting must not attribute what was said to specific individuals on the panel or in the audience. Stephen Davis was the moderator. […]

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Conference Board to Examine Corporate Political Spending

The Conference Board formed a committee of representatives from Fortune 500 companies and “corporate citizenship executives” to research issues related to disclosure and accountability of corporate political spending and develop a  report by fall that will provide corporations with a toolkit of resources to strengthen their governance practices in this area. The current member companies […]

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Breaking the Hold on Rating Agencies

Into the second day of the Yale Governance Forum 2011 and I began to relax among friends, not being quite as conscientious about taking notes but here are a few tidbits from an interesting discussion between Kurt Schacht and Jules Kroll.   Schacht introduced Kroll by noting that everyone has taken aim at the credit rating agencies. Questions were raised […]

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Governance in the Cloud

The fourth session of the Yale Governance Forum 2011 was was a breakout. All four sessions looked great. I choose the one on social networking held under Chatham House Rule. Under the rule those reporting must not attribute what was said to specific individuals on the panel or in the audience. This discussion was especially interactive, […]

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Corporate Governance Challenges

This was the third session of the Yale Governance Forum 2011, one that I’ve already noted was the best yet of the several I’ve attended. Like the first session, the third was held under Chatham House Rule. There’s no secret as to who the panelists were, but under the rule those reporting must not attribute what […]

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Power Struggles Over Pay

Gary Larkin’s recent post, 2011 CEO Succession Report: Dismissals Up, Outside Hires on the Rise, informs Conference Board readers that Institutional Shareholder Services has launched an executive compensation database service for its client subscribers. Say on Pay rules were the driving force behind the new service. The database includes historical CEO and NEO (named executive […]

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Video Friday: Economy & Civility

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich explain problems with the economy in less than 2 minutes, 15 seconds—and he did it with illustrations to boot. It’s great! Check it out. via The Truth About The Economy In 2 Minutes | MoveOn.Org. And now, class warfare on the railroad. Apparently, this woman believes the norms of civility […]

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Can Investors Behave Long Term?

Can Investors Behave Long Term?

The second session, Can Investors Behave Long Term?, of the Yale Governance Forum 2011 was held “on the record.” In some respects, that makes it even more difficult to report. I’m not a quick note taker, so would welcome comments from any who attended the forum, especially panelists, concerning what transpired. As I recall, Keith Ambachtsheer, author of […]

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Gifting at CalPERS

CalPERS was in the news negatively again. The Fair Political Practices Commission is investigating more than four dozen CalPERS board members and employees over allegations they failed to accurately report gifts. Coincidently, I had a recent discussion with one of the board members under investigation before these allegations surfaced about current legislation. It turns out,  even though […]

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Ouch! Don't Sue Me

Bob Verdun, the former publisher of the Elmira Independent has been ordered to pay $650,000 as a result of a defamation suit. In 2004, Verdun alleged Robert Astley’s involvement with the Clarica Life Insurance Company and its role in the development of a controversial recreation complex made him unfit for the board of BMO Financial […]

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SEC Adopts Whistleblower Rules

Last week the SEC adopted final rules to reward whistleblowers who provide information leading to successful enforcement of securities law violations. In an attempt to address objections from many business groups, the final version included an incentive to report through mechanisms internal to their own company but also expanded from 90 (more…)

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Where is the LUV for Shareowners at Southwest Airlines?

Looking for coverage of the Southwest Airlines (LUV) annual meeting, I couldn’t find much. Dispatchers picketed outside. (Southwest Airlines Dispatchers Not Feeling LUV, NBC) The rising cost of fuel and integration of AirTran Airways were listed as concerns. (Despite tough economic conditions, Southwest tells shareholders future bookings look (more…)

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Kinetic Concepts: Victory for Shareowners!

I was about to sit down this morning and write another scathing post on Kinetic Concepts when I learned of their press release announcing they will gradually declassify their board. They gave no reason as to why they took this action just ahead of their annual meeting. Perhaps they looked again at their guiding principles, We […]

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