A New Model For Corporate Governance…With Teeth!

Yesterday, Andrew Ross Sorkin of the NYT published a story on BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s letter to major corporations in which he states, “Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose…to prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”

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Will New Pay Ratio Disclosure Lead to “Public Infamy?”

The discussion of how much leaders should be paid in comparison to their workers is an old one, as pointed out by former compensation consultant Graef Crystal, “Plato told Aristotle no one should make more than five times the pay of the lowest member of society. J.P. Morgan said 20 times. Jesus advocated a negative differential — that’s why they killed him.”

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Investors ask Mohawk, Interface, and Shaw to deliver on strong recycling goals

More than 30 institutional investors with combined assets of $50 billion are asking three leading U.S. carpet manufacturers to make good on previous promises to recycle a substantial amount of discarded carpet. A letter from As You Sow on behalf of 33 investor firms and groups asks Mohawk Industries, Interface Inc., and Shaw Industries Group to redesign carpet...

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Vanguard’s quarter-trillion in fossil fuel investments

Vanguard is one of the world’s largest asset managers, handling the retirement savings of millions of Americans. Its mission is to help people save for the future. At the same time, it’s playing a major role directing billions in funding to carbon polluters — companies maintaining and expanding the fossil fuel infrastructure that threatens to make the future uninhabitable.

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Breaking Inertia’s Magical Power: Can companies like FirstEnergy change their ways?

Beyond physics, Merriam-Webster describes inertia as, “indisposition to motion, exertion, or change.” We all know that if you’ve been doing anything a certain way for a long time, it can be hard to let go. But at some point, outside forces can become strong enough to alter a course, and the earlier that new course is accepted, the easier a transition can be.

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A Shared Vision For the Future of Global Stock Markets

The United Nations is holding its annual climate change conference in Bonn this week, but the tone this year is different. Driven by a growing litany of harms associated with a warming planet, global governments are getting down to the brass tacks of implementing the Paris Climate Accord. Even the two long-time holdouts, Syria and Nicaragua, have finally pledged to join the Accord. In fact, the U.S. stands alone in threatening to withdraw and ignoring reality while doubling down on fossil fuels.

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Updates from Houston: Mitigating Methane Emissions from Natural Gas

Having spent my college years at Rice University, Houston will always hold a special place in my heart. I also remember experiencing my first hurricane there freshman year — the winds and rain were scary, but we hunkered down indoors and were fortunate to not suffer serious impacts. Watching Harvey approach from afar in August 2017, I again hoped for the best, but then the horror sunk in as friends posted photos and videos of unprecedented destruction. The National Weather Service had to develop new colors for its coding to account for the rain and floods caused by Harvey. The storm caused an estimated $190 billion worth of damage, disrupting industries and destroying homes. Only 20% of those hardest hit had flood insurance.

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Why are 401(k) Plans Not Aligned With Sustainability Goals?

As millennial-aged employees now represent the majority of the U.S. workforce, it is increasingly important that corporate management finds ways to engage them in the company. Creating 401(k) plans which connect to their core values — like solving human, social and environmental problems through their work and investments — can be a huge advantage to the company as a whopping 85% of millennials surveyed in the 2016 US Trust study said they consider their investment decisions as “a way to express their social, political, and environmental values.” This attracts the best talent, spurs employee engagement, extends retention, and sparks innovation.

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Clean Power Plan Statement

The Trump administration’s announcement to end the Clean Power Plan increases risk to investors now and into the future. Fossil-fired utilities are the source of one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. is already paying a high public health and economic price from climate change, including heat waves, droughts, wildfires, super-storms, and growing numbers of global refugees impacted by rising seas and famine. The harms of climate change will only grow, hampering economic growth and harming communities.

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Starbucks Needs to Up its Game on Reusables, Recycling

We have followed Starbucks’ actions on cup recycling and more sustainable packaging for many years. In some ways, it is a leader in recycling and sustainability efforts on packaging. It is the only major retail coffee company to set specific recycling and materials reduction goals. But due to its continuing failure to meet these goals, and new challenges emerging that link plastic packaging to ocean pollution, As You Sow has filed a shareholder proposal with the company for 2018, asking it to strengthen its efforts on sustainable packaging.

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India Investors Put Faith in Clean Energy

The need to go green has been called “an inconvenient truth” — a distraction from the regular ways of doing business, and not necessarily a money-maker. Markets around the world, however, are proving that going green is a solid way of making green, too. The Carbon Clean 200 is a bi-annual report released by my colleagues at As You Sow and Corporate Knights that catalogues the top-performing companies that make at least 10% of their annual sales from products and services related to clean energy, and India had a very strong showing with 7 companies listed in the Clean200 Q3 2017 edition.

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The Future We Fight For

Intolerance and hatred have no place in our country, or for that matter on our planet. We condemn the fear based violent actions by a minority of self-proclaimed racists. Their violence and anger must be met with unity by those who believe in equality, justice, and human rights for all.

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As You Sow
The Climate Crisis Hiding in your Cookies

Have you eaten an Oreo cookie recently? Or a frozen pizza, or a bowl of ice cream? Do you use soap, or laundry detergent, or cosmetic products? Then you’re likely buying products that contain palm oil, the world’s most widely used vegetable oil. It’s found in more than half of all packaged products purchased by Americans — but this global explosion in palm oil production is fueling deforestation, climate change, and other harmful environmental and social impacts.

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