Tag Archives | sustainable

Moskowitz Winner: CSR & Executive Compensation

Moskowitz Prize Winner Announced

Moskowitz prize winner for 2017 was announced today by the Center for Responsible Business at the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, in collaboration with The SRI Conference (). The prize is named after research pioneer Milt Moskowitz, one of the first researchers to look for the connection between good corporate citizenship and profitability. Sustainable and responsible investing remains the focus.
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Global Stewardship at Work: CalSTRS

Global Stewardship at Work report Issued by CalSTRS

Global Stewardship at Work report Issued by CalSTRS

The Global Stewardship at Work report, its 2015—16 sustainability report. was released by the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS). This is the third year the system published the report, which is based on the Global Reporting Initiative G4 Guidelines.

In 2015, CalSTRS became the first U.S. public pension plan to issue a sustainability report that met the GRI guidelines. And this year, CalSTRS continues to report sustainability-focused disclosures that adhere to the GRI performance metrics. The Global Stewardship at Work report also features detailed reporting of material topics that were prioritized based on feedback from stakeholder surveys, including responses from CalSTRS members, employees, special interest groups, and industry/business partners. Continue Reading →

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The Responsible Investor Handbook: Review

Responsible Investor HandbookThe Responsible Investor Handbook; Mobilizing Workers’ Capital for a Sustainable World by Thomas Croft and Annie Malhotra provides a ‘how-to’ manual for workers and trustees who seek to ensure our money is working us, not against us. Buy the book from Greenlead Publishing or Amazon.

As I write this review, the US SIF Foundation released their 2016 Biennial Report on Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing (SRI) Trends. SRI assets now account for $8.72 trillion, or one in five dollars invested under professional management in the United States, according to the report.  Continue Reading →

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US SIF Foundation Issues SRI Report

US SIF Foundation 2016 btrends reportUS SIF Foundation Releases 2016 Biennial Report on UA Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends. Sustainable, responsible and impact investing (SRI) assets now account for $8.72 trillion, or one in five dollars invested under professional management in the United States according to the US SIF Foundation’s biennial Report on Responsible and Impact Investing Trends 2016, which was released today. Continue Reading →

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Tim Smith Honored by ICCR

Tim Smith (a few years back)

Tim Smith (a few years back)

On September 29, 2016 Tim Smith, Walden Asset Management’s director of ESG Shareowner Engagement, will be honored at the annual event of the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) for his decades-long, indefatigable leadership shaping the landscape of shareholder advocacy for more just and environmentally sound business policies and practices.

Tim is the first secular recipient of the ICCR Legacy Award, a recognition of his nearly quarter-century history at the helm of ICCR as well as 16 years at Walden where he continues to demonstrate daily how shareholder leverage can be an effective vehicle for positive change.

ICCR describes Tim as having had a profound impact on the field of sustainable and responsible investing, noting:

Tim plays a valuable role in virtually every ICCR program area but has been an especially effective leader of investor engagements on climate change and on governance topics including lobbying and political spending, executive compensation and separate Chair/CEO, as well as board diversity.

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All In For Impact: Proxy Access and Advocacy to Thriveability

Proxy Access & AdvocacyAt the recent #AllInForImpact SRI Conference – on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing I presented a “Topic Table.” These are informal gatherings of up to 10 people during lunch. Topics are submitted prior to the conference by any registrant who wishes to lead a discussion on an issue related to sustainable, responsible, impact investing. Mine was on Proxy Access and Advocacy.

I started out with a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon depicting how many people see business today… run by narcissists, producing little of real value and looking to be subsidized. Continue Reading →

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Conference Scholarships For SRI/ESG Investing

Sustainable, Responsible, Impact InvestingAll In For Impact: The 26th Annual SRI Conference will take place November 3–5, 2015 at The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, CO. I am pleased to announce conference scholarships for SRI/ESG investing are now being made available to students and young professionals.

The SRI Conference is an annual gathering of the responsible investment industry designed to stimulate, inspire, and serve the needs of investment professionals, as well as institutional and high net worth investors who seek to direct investment capital in positive, healthy, transformative ways—toward a truly sustainable future. Continue Reading →

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US SIF: Fundamentals of Sustainable and Responsible Investment 

US SIFThe US SIF Foundation’s Center for Sustainable Investment Education will provide a training on the Fundamentals of Sustainable and Responsible Investment. The classroom training will be held at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, CO on Tuesday, November 3 from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM followed by lunch from 1:00 – 1:30 PM. This training will be held immediately before the SRI Conference. Continue Reading →

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Position: Greenpeace Sustainable Finance Campaigner – Beijing

GreenpeaceAn opportunity – Calvin Quek is looking to hire a Sustainable Finance Campaigner for the Beijing office of Greenpeace.  Let’s help him find the best candidate for this opportunity by passing the word on to people in our networks.

The role: This person will be responsible for engaging the investment and financial communities towards helping China achieve a more environmental sustainable future. They will be working closely with Calvin, leveraging the extensive contacts Greenpeace already has in the community. Continue Reading →

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SRI Conference 2015: Investing for Impact

Investing For ImpactPhilanthropic, Foundation Worlds Expected to Join Investors and Investment Professionals Engaged in Sustainable, Responsible, Impact (SRI) Investing; Early-Bird Registration Now Open.

Sustainable, Responsible, Impact InvestingNow in its 26th year, the SRI Conference will be November 3-5, 2015 at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado and will probably be the largest ever. Leaders in the philanthropy and foundation worlds are invited to participate in the largest, longest-running annual meeting of responsible investors and investment professionals.  Early-bird registration is now open. Contact Krystala Kalil at 888-774-2663 to answer your questions. Continue Reading →

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Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing: Part 6

Sustainable, Responsible, Impact InvestingThis is the last in a multi-part series on the main program of the 25th annual SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing held November 9–11, 2014 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. See also Video Friday: What is Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing?Violating Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Increases Industry RisksSurveys: Nonprofit Board Members & SRI 2014 Conference Attendees25th Annual Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5. The Agenda page of the Conference site now has links to video, audio and presentation slides. Be sure to mark your calendar for November 3-5, 2015. Don’t miss it. Continue Reading →

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Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing: Part 5

Sustainable, Responsible, Impact InvestingThis is the fifth in a multi-part series on the main program of the 25th annual SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing held November 9–11, 2014 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. See also Video Friday: What is Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing?Violating Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Increases Industry RisksSurveys: Nonprofit Board Members & SRI 2014 Conference Attendees25th Annual Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. The Agenda page of the Conference site now has links to video, audio and presentation slides.  Continue Reading →

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Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing: Part 4

Sustainable, Responsible, Impact InvestingThis is the third in a multi-part series on the main program of the 25th annual SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing held November 9–11, 2014 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. See also Video Friday: What is Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing?Violating Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Increases Industry RisksSurveys: Nonprofit Board Members & SRI 2014 Conference Attendees25th Annual Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. The Agenda page of the Conference site now has links to video, audio and presentation slides.

Building a Cleaner Future: Reducing Climate Change Before It’s Too Late

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Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing: Part 3

Sustainable, Responsible, Impact InvestingThis is the third in a multi-part series on the main program of the 25th annual SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing held November 9–11, 2014 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. See also Video Friday: What is Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing?Violating Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Increases Industry RisksSurveys: Nonprofit Board Members & SRI 2014 Conference Attendees25th Annual Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing, Part 1 and Part 2. The Agenda page of the Conference site now has links to video, audio and presentation slides.  Continue Reading →

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Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing: Part 2

Sustainable, Responsible, Impact InvestingThis is the second in a multi-part series on the 25th annual SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing held November 9–11, 2014 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.

See also Video Friday: What is Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing?Violating Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Increases Industry Risks, Surveys: Nonprofit Board Members & SRI 2014 Conference AttendeesSustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing: Part 1. The Agenda page of the Conference site now has links to video, audio and presentation slides.  Continue Reading →

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25th Annual Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing

Sustainable, Responsible, Impact InvestingThe 25th annual SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing was held November 9–11, 2014 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. I’ve been working with many of the organizers, sponsors and participants for years but this was my first time to the SRI annual conference. I attend a lot of conferences every year but this one was the most fun — and probably the most informative. I’ll be back. In fact, I’ve already blocked out November 3-5 on my calendar for next year. This is the first of a several part series on the conference. Continue Reading →

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Video Friday: What is Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing?

Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing

Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing was the subject of the 25th annual SRI Conference, held November 9–11, 2014 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. I’ll post some notes from the conference, beginning next week. Meanwhile, take a look at the Twitter feed at #SRIC14.

Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing (or “SRI”) is becoming more and more popular as investors seek to make money and at the same time have a positive impact. SRI investment strategies seek to direct the flow of investment capital in healthy and transformative ways — toward the creation of a truly sustainable future. Continue Reading →

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Florida SBA Increases Shareowner Value Through Active Ownership

FloridaSBA

Mike McCauley

Michael McCauley

The State Board of Administration of Florida (Florida SBA) is the fourth largest public pension fund in the US and was early to announce their votes in advance of annual meetings. Those announcements can be found on the Florida SBA site, as well as on Proxy Democracy. The following is from a press release that Florida SBA issued out last week on their accomplishments during the recent proxy season. They certainly did a lot to  shift us to more democratic forms of corporate governance. Congratulations to Ash WilliamsMichael McCauley and all those working at Florida SBA. Continue Reading →

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European Corporate Governance: Readings & Perspectives

This new reader, edited by Thomas Clarke and Jean-Francois Chanlat offers up one of the first critiques of the subprime financial crisis within a framework that compares Anglo-American governance features with those of Europe.

At the heart of the collapse was the growth of the derivatives market that was supposed to hedge against losses. Settlements grew from $106 trillion in 2002 to $531 trillion by 2008. In the introduction, Clarke and Chanlat provide an excellent overview of how the crisis unfolded, both in the US and in Europe. They then turn to the contributions of the governance framework: re-regulation, ratings agencies, risk management, incentivization and to more specifics within the framework of financial institutions.

Convergence is in progress but there is tension between the parallel universes. The Anglo-American is characterized by liquid markets, high transparency and where the market for corporate control provides the major discipline… until markets fail. Europe and Asia are characterized by controlling shareowners, weak markets, less transparency and more monitoring by banks.

Many are now questioning convergence and what appears to be a basic philosophy behind the American model… growing inequality. “In the last few years alone, $400 billion of pretax income flowed from the bottom 95% of earners to the top 5%, a loss of $3,660 per household on average in the bottom 95%.”

With the highest level of inequality and poverty among its peers and the lowest job satisfaction rate in two decades, why follow the US? What about the rights of workers and citizens to a more sustainable system? Can the EU transform its economies so that they can sustainably continue to provide a high standard of living? Those are just a few of the topics addressed in the reader through an examination of various dimensions and examples.

Most of the essays are excellent. I especially enjoyed Robert Boyer’s, “From Shareholder Value to CEO Power: The Paradox of the 1990s.” Boyer looks at why CEO remuneration continues to skyrocket in an era of shareholder value. Labor long ago lost power in the US and managers have used the pressure of institutional investors to their own benefit.

Boyer reviews the rise of concern over CEO pay, various options that have been used and their limitations. A series of long-run transformations has occurred in the bargaining positions of workers, consumers, financial markets, the international economy and nation states. The 1960 were characterized by an alliance between workers and managers.

By the 1980s internationalization eroded worker power and by the 1990s we entered a period of hidden alliances between managers and financiers. Managers used the demands institutional investors to redesign their own compensation. Part of that alliance involved a shift away from defined benefit plans to 401(k) type plans and a huge inflow of savings into the stock market with workers at risk.

As support for a political hypothesis of increased managerial power, Boyer analyzes the micro-structure evidence concerning insider trading, diffusion of stock options, lower CEO pay sensitivity of large firms, surge in M&A activity, windfall profits, asymmetrical power on compensation committees, distortion of profit statements, innovation in hiding compensation and the financialization of CEO compensation in a corporate culture that has shifted from engineering to financial management.

He then looks at the larger political arena where economic power is converted into political power. Here he discusses the context of rising inequality and growth of the super-rich with evidence that concentration of wealth is enhanced by stock market bubbles and a tax system that tilts in favor of the rich.

How do we extricate ourselves from this situation? Boyer’s analysis provides some hints. A shift towards a stakeholder conception “would reduce the probability of managerial greed and erroneous strategic decisions.”  More public control of accounting practices is needed “to prevent an alliance between CEOs and auditors, at the expense of rank-and-file shareholders.” Last, we need to recognize that monetary policy has been “at the heart of erroneous business strategies and unjustified wealth from CEOs.”

The volume should give readers pause concerning the desirability of convergence on an Anglo-American model and provides well-informed analysis of European models that may lead to a more sustainable path.

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