Posts tagged with: Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

cop21-label_reduitHoo boy…the circus is coming to town. Paris is hosting the Conference of Parties (COP21) in December, that is, and the Big Top of big-government solutions to climate-change claims will, of course, include shareholder activists, many of them dressing up their progressive “sustainability” agendas with lots of churchy talk.

These activists are closely linked in a broad religious and secular campaign that in fact reduces shareholder value in support of “social justice” and other such ideological abstractions. For example, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility includes Boston Common Asset Management, LLC among its roster of Associate Members. According to its website,

Boston Common Asset Management is an experienced investment manager and leader in global sustainability initiatives. The firm’s unique investment process enhances conventional investment analysis with its proprietary Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) framework. The firm’s overall goal is to preserve and build capital by constructing diversified portfolios of high quality, sustainable stocks, with a keen focus on valuation, and to thereby outperform not only over a market cycle, but to achieve this with greater consistency and less volatility than market benchmarks.

Readers, please, feel free to scoff. It was impossible for your writer to refrain from chortling himself, and his bathrobe is still moist from the coffee snorted, in the manner of the late Danny Thomas, down the front. For those not in on the joke (here’s a clue for you all: I boldfaced the punch line above), I give you this, from an essay by BCAM’s Lauren Compere published Wednesday at the Huffington Post: (more…)

The network of leftist shareholder activism is complex and wide-ranging. In the name of progressive causes, they pressure companies to forfeit profitability, reduce investment returns, raise costs to customers and threaten both actual and potential jobs.

It’s heartbreaking that religious shareholder groups not only willingly but passionately lend their support to secular causes promoted by US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment and Ceres. As I have noted previously, both organizations count religious shareholder groups among their respective membership rosters despite the harmful effects of US SIF and Ceres initiatives listed above.

Both US SIF and Ceres are members of Green America, a nonprofit boasting its “mission is to harness economic power—the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace—to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society.” Sigh. (more…)

Global warming alarmists at the U.S. Department of Energy are seeking to harsh Halloween’s mellow this year. The DOE’s website this week features stories on costuming children as solar panels and methane emissions from rotting jack-o’-lanterns contributing to climate change.

I’m not kidding. It seems there’s no limit to the scarifying lengths some will go in their predictions for climate catastrophe. For example, Ceres – an organization that “mobilizes a powerful network of investors, companies and public interest groups to accelerate and expand the adoption of sustainable business practices and solutions to build a healthy global economy” – is attempting to unite its extensive member roster behind its efforts to force companies in which they invest to report on greenhouse gas emissions. Writing in Institutional Investor, Ceres President Mindy Lubber warns failure in this effort will resort in a plague of weather events as bad as or worse than Hurricane Sandy without once mentioning the number and intensity of hurricanes have both declined since the late 1970s. Nor does she make any compelling connection between Sandy’s rampage and her dire predictions for our planet. (more…)

Ahhhh, the Left! So often passionate, so obstinately assured of the rightness of their secular crusades mounted under the variety of flags and anthems espousing “social justice” and “environmental sustainability.” And, unfortunately, so often just plain wrong.

Such is the case with As You Sow, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and other shareholder activist groups that each year apply their supposed religious authority to the proxy resolutions they submit to major companies. Certainly, AYS and ICCR investors believe from the sanctuary of their respective progressive bubbles that they’re working for the benefit of humankind when it comes to such topics as climate-change mitigation and genetically modified organisms. Yet, nothing could be further from reality viewed through the lenses of science, religion, economics and common sense.

For the purpose of this post, let’s take a look at the work AYS and ICCR apply against GMOs. Both shareholder activist groups are affiliated with Inside GMO coalition – AYS as an acknowledged member and ICCR listing Inside GMO as a featured resource. The Inside GMO website portentously lists the organization’s purpose:

Large agribusiness and chemical companies oppose our right to know when foods have GMOs. These are the same companies that put GMOs out on the market without adequate testing – turning us all into lab rats in a giant science experiment.

GMO Inside is a campaign dedicated to helping all Americans know which foods have GMOs inside, and the non-GMO verified and organic certified alternatives to genetically engineered foods. We believe that everyone has a right to know what’s in their food and to choose foods that are proven safe for themselves, their families, and the environment.

GMO Inside gives people information and tools, and provides a place for a growing community of people from all walks of life, to share information and actions around genetically engineered foods.

Sigh. It gets worse. (more…)

The Manhattan Institute Centers’s “Proxy Monitor Season Wrap-Up” is hot off the press, and the findings presented by author James R. Copland, are remarkable.

Since 2011, MIC has monitored shareholder activism, which it describes as efforts “in which investors attempt to influence corporate management through the shareholder-proposal process.” This year’s wrap-up includes MIC-researched data from corporations’ annual meetings held by the end of June 2015. By that time, “216 of the 250 largest U.S. companies by revenues” had completed their meetings, which enable long-term shareholders owning $2,000 of equity securities to introduce proxy resolutions.

Among these proxy activists are As You Sow, the Nathan Cummings Foundation and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility – groups with religious backgrounds and decidedly leftist ideological agendas – and a host of likeminded crusaders of progressive causes:

Among social investors, only As You Sow introduced more than five proposals in 2015 (seven). Many other socially oriented investors sponsored multiple proposals, however: social-investing platforms Arjuna Capital (three), Domini Social Investments (three), Green Century Capital Management (three), Investor Voice (five), Northstar Asset Management (two), Trillium Asset Management (four), and Walden Asset Management (four); religious investors Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes (two), Sisters of Mercy (five), Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order (two), Sisters of St. Dominic (two), Sisters of St. Francis (three), and the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (two); the public-policy group National Center for Public Policy Research (two); and the Nathan Cummings (two) and Park (three) charitable foundations.

According to Copland’s report, religious shareholder activists were responsible for 29 percent of all resolutions submitted to the 216 Fortune 250 companies. What type of proposals did the nuns, clergy and other religious submit? (more…)

Thus far your writer’s reportage on matters related to so-called “religious” shareholder activism has focused mainly on the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and As You Sow. It is called Interfaith and that should tell you that this project isn’t restricted to Protestants and Catholics. Certain other members from another Great Faith unfortunately fall into the same category.

The Nathan Cummings Foundation, another ICCR member, describes its faith-based mission thus:

The Nathan Cummings Foundation is rooted in the Jewish tradition and committed to democratic values and social justice, including fairness, diversity, and community. We seek to build a socially and economically just society that values nature and protects the ecological balance for future generations; promotes humane health care; and fosters arts and culture that enriches communities.

Laura Shaffer Campos, director of NCF shareholder activities, described the focus of NCF activism to ICCR’s Corporate Examiner:

Of course, we file directly on climate change. But we also seek to address climate and inequality by engaging companies on issues like corporate political spending and the network neutrality of the wireless networks that represent the primary means of Internet access for economically disadvantaged communities.

NCF’s proxy resolutions include political contribution disclosure requirements, which were submitted this year to Duke Energy and Spectra Energy. Where to begin when one would be hard-pressed to find anything in “Jewish tradition, democratic values and social justice” to actually support such claims? (more…)

darksuit_590Your writer has identified a surefire, two-word mantra guaranteed to elicit shrieks of terror and the rending of garments from the left: “Citizens United,” shorthand for the Supreme Court decision that overturned the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002. The runner-up spot is reserved for the phrase “dark money,” which are trigger words for private donations from individuals and corporations.

Despite all the phony-baloney rationalizations the left hurls at private donations and limits, there’s nothing really to be concerned about. Our Republic will not crumble because of Citizens United or even dark money.

First, however, let’s give the left a turn at the podium. The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (formerly the Social Investment Forum) is only one group of activist investors getting their knickers in a twist over Citizens United and Dark Money – and they’re joined by “religious” investment activist groups Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility and As You Sow, which, as we know by now, subscribe more to the church of liberal ideology than they do anything remotely cosmological. This from the SIR publication: “Confronting Corporate Money in Politics:” (more…)