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Human Rights / Living wage


After the Conventions (07/30)
While it seems implausible that investors concerned with environmental and social justice will vote for Donald Trump, some of the positions take by Hillary Clinton during her years of public service merit scrutiny.

Pepsi Challenged on Palm Oil Worker Exploitation (06/21)
A report from three NGOs reveals that violations of workers' rights on the palm oil plantations of PepsiCo's joint venture partner in Indonesia includes child labor.

Second Benchmark of Corporate Human Rights Performance Launches (04/30)
KnowTheChain, founded in 2013 to address California's Supply Chain Transparency Act, will initially benchmark the human rights performance of 20 companies in the information and communications technology industry sector.

Verite to Assess Trafficking Risks in Sub-Saharan Africa (06/01)
With economies improving and ample natural resources, the region is at heightened risk for human trafficking violations.

1% to Own More than Half the Wealth by Next Year (01/23)
A briefing by Oxfam reveals that lobbying on budget and tax issues in the US has contributed to enabling the richest 1% of people in the world to compile 48% of global wealth, a percentage that is likely to exceed 50% by 2016.

Corporate Human Rights Benchmark Gains Government Support (12/24)
The benchmark, which will rank 500 major corporations in four industry sectors on their human rights performance, wins financial support from the UK government. Second of a two-part series.

Widespread Forced Labor in Malaysian Electronics Industry (09/19)
A study by Verite finds that nearly one-third of foreign migrant workers in the Malaysian electronics industry work under conditions of forced labor.

Thai Company Sues Activist for Revealing Human Rights Abuses (09/03)
Instead of addressing human rights violations in its workplace, Natural Fruit sues British activist Andy Hall for defamation, a charge that could land him in jail for eight years.

Privatization Harms Public Services (07/05)
A working paper published by the UK-based New Economics Foundation calls for a model of co-production of social services, in which front-line service providers and service recipients collaborate.

Third National Climate Assessment Published (05/06)
In its new report, the US Global Change Research Program asserts that the effects of climate change have already become a present day concern, and announces the launch of a website to help Americans receive reliable scientific information.

Climate Change Takes the Stage at Davos (01/30)
A high-profile panel convenes at the annual World Economic Forum meeting to discuss the negotiation of an international climate change treaty and how to end extreme poverty.

Loopholes in Commitments to Human Rights by US Businesses, UN finds (05/06)
While the US Government has committed to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the UN Working Group on business and human rights finds that US companies fall short of standards.

Investors Call for Meaningful Immigration Reform (04/23)
A coalition of investors associated with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility call for immigration reform that includes a pathway to legal status and protects the rights of immigrants in US workplaces.

RepRisk Names Ten Most Controversial Companies in 2012 (02/04)
This year, the annual list from the Swiss-based environmental and social data provider focuses on poor labor conditions and human rights violations as well as bribery, fraud and money laundering.

Food and Agriculture Industry Lags in Assuring Worker Equity (10/29)
A report by Sustainalytics and Tellus Institute describes workers' rights as less of a priority for companies in the sector than consumer health, environmental impact, and animal welfare.

Labor Conditions Improving at Chinese Supplier to Apple (08/27)
The Fair Labor Association reports that Foxconn Technology Group, Apple's largest supplier, is ahead of schedule in meeting commitments such as higher wages and less mandatory overtime.

A Guide to Economics for the 99% (07/06)
The Center for Popular Economics publishes Economics for the 99%, a handbook which describes the roots of economic inequality and offers a solidarity economy as an alternative.

Investors Speak Out on Wal-Mart Bribery Allegations (04/25)
Members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, who have been engaging with the retail giant on social issues for decades, express their dismay over allegations of bribery and subsequent efforts to impede an investigation.

Wal-Mart Gets ESG Rating of F After Bribery Allegations (04/24)
GovernanceMetrics International assigns a failing grade to the retail giant's environmental, social, and corporate governance performance following revelations that information about a bribery scandal in Mexico was covered up.

Companies Advised to Address Risks in Supply Chains (04/12)
A Procurement Report from Eurosif establishes the business case for addressing environmental and social risks in corporate supply chains, and recommends that investors assess the exposure of companies in their portfolios.

Apple Moves from Laggard to Sector Leader on Transparency (03/30)
The computer giant agrees to implement remedial action recommended by the Fair Labor Association's investigation of working conditions at Foxconn factories in China.

Microsoft Says Worker Dispute at Foxconn Plant Resolved (01/12)
Suicide threats by protesting workers at Chinese manufacturing plant recalls 2010 deaths of workers at another Foxconn plant in China.

More Fodder for Uprising Against Economic Inequality (10/26)
The Congressional Budget Office reports that household income of the top one percent grew by 275% between 1979 and 2007.

How Occupy Wall Street and Sustainable Investment are Aligned (10/21)
SocialFunds.com talks with Sonia Kowal of Zevin Asset Management about social unrest and its impact on the prospects for long-term sustainable investment.

WikiLeaks Cable Describes US State Department Efforts to Undermine Minimum Wage in Haiti (06/22)
After Haitian Parliament passed a law increasing minimum wage for textile workers to five dollars a day, US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission David Lindwall wrote that it "appealed to the unemployed and underpaid masses."

Investors Support UN Business and Human Rights Mandate (06/11)
Coalition of socially responsible investors sends a letter to the United Nations Human Rights Council supporting businesses' responsibility for human rights.

Michael Conroy on Activist Campaigns and the Certification Revolution (06/02)
SocialFunds writer Bill Baue speaks with Michael Conroy about his new book, Branded! How the “Certification Revolution” is Transforming Global Companies

Transparent Supply Chain Sends A Clear Message (04/10)
Hewlett-Packard recently released a list of its largest suppliers in hopes of increasing accountability from factory floors to consumers' front doors.

Contracting Human Rights? Ruggie Teams with IFC on Study (09/26)
Empirical research conducted by John Ruggie and the International Finance Corporation examines if foreign investment contract clauses enable human rights violations.

Shareowner Activism Precedes Development of SRI Slavery Screen (03/27)
Most slavery exists far up the supply chain, and auditing practices do not yet exist to monitor for slavery at second- or third-tier suppliers, so it is too early to enact an enforceable slavery screen.

Ruggie Report Says Voluntary Human Rights Initiatives Set Stage for Binding Global Standards (03/19)
While the report finds significant flaws with voluntary collaborations between corporations and civil society, they currently fill the gap created by nation-states failing to protect human rights.

From Competition to Cooperation: Companies Collaborate on Social and Environmental Issues (01/19)
Collaborative initiatives bring together companies, investors, and activists to address issues such as online freedom of expression, climate change, and labor rights in the global supply chain.

Norwegian Government Pension Fund Dumps Wal-Mart and Freeport on Ethical Exclusions (06/16)
The $230 billion global fund--one of the largest pension funds in the world--cited Wal-Mart for systematic human rights violations and Freeport for serious environmental damage.

Wainwright Bank and Equal Exchange Partner to Offer the First Branded Certificate of Deposit (06/01)
This new branded CD model is particularly suited to socially responsible banks, companies, and investors, as the increased social returns can counterbalance the slightly higher financial risks.

Facing Campaign on Farm Working Conditions, McDonald's to Heed Independent Study Results (03/22)
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers urges McDonald's to improve farm working conditions, which the company is addressing through a study by the Center for Reflection, Education, and Action.

Bank Policies Fail to Meet International Social and Environmental Standards, Report Says (02/25)
The 39 banks assessed fall far short on global sustainability standards, and fail to disclose enough information on implementation to even be assessed by NGO coalition BankTrack.

Defining Corporate Complicity in Human Rights Abuses (02/22)
Business and Human Rights Seminar report maps the landscape of corporate complicity in human rights abuses, and addresses the dichotomy of mandatory laws versus voluntary codes.

Book Review: Economic Apartheid in America: A Primer on Economic Inequality & Insecurity (02/16)
The revised and updated edition of this text (originally published in 2000) examines how excessive executive compensation contributes to the widening gulf between rich and poor.

Alien Tort Claims Act Lawsuit Alleges Slavery and Child Labor on Liberian Firestone Plantation (12/30)
The International Labor Rights Fund calls this its strongest ATCA case yet because the evidence of forced labor is so clear and Firestone owns and operates the plantation.

Verite Report Identifies Exploitation of Foreign Contract Laborers in Asia and the Middle East (12/20)
The report uncovers placement fees that exceed legal limits, forced overtime, loans with interest rates of up to 60 percent, and so-called runaway insurance deposits that are not refunded.

SRI Research from UBS Strikes Balance Between Ethics and Economics (10/28)
The new socially responsible investing team at UBS quantifies the costs of corporate social and environmental impacts as a means of effecting ethical and economic rectification.

Wal-Mart Embraces Sustainability: Does the SRI Community Buy It? (10/26)
Socially responsible investors cautiously applaud Wal-Mart for committing to social and environmental sustainability, but remain highly skeptical about actual implementation.

Gap and Nike Engage Stakeholders For Assurance Statements on Sustainability Reports (07/14)
Sustainability reports, whose credibility is enhanced by such stakeholder engagement and assurance statements, are gaining in significance, as KLD indexes add Nike due in part to its report.

Taco Bell Agrees to Pay Florida Tomato Pickers A Penny More Per Pound to End Boycott (03/09)
Shareowner activists will also withdraw their resolution if parent company Yum! Brands agrees to join agricultural supply chain working group to address industry-wide reform.

Gap-Verite Collaboration Exemplifies Award-Winning Practice on Social Responsibility (12/02)
Verite wins a Social Capitalist Award for labor standards monitoring such as its work with the Gap, whose Social Responsibility Report earns a Social Reporting Award.

FTSE4Good Raises the Bar With New Supply Chain Labor Standards Criteria (11/30)
Launched last week, the new criteria allow companies already in FTSE4Good indexes limited time to implement policies, systems, and eventually reporting on supply chain labor standards.

About Face: Cintas Settles Lawsuit and Supports Vendor Standards Resolution (09/15)
In his apology, Tim Smith of Walden Asset Management highlights the need for accurate information, which Cintas promises to supply in the report requested by the resolution.

Sarona Supports Microfinance To Help Alleviate Poverty in Developing Regions (06/03)
The Sarona Global Investment Fund finances starch processing in Paraguay, a foundation supporting small enterprises in Romania, and a savings and loan cooperative in Haiti.

Oekom Rates Food and Beverages Industry Average in Sustainability Performance (04/15)
The example of Starbucks illustrates how Oekom Research rates food and beverage companies as average performers in social and environmental sustainability.

Book Review--The Best Business Stories of the Year: 2004 Edition (04/09)
Ethics, disclosure, labor relations, executive compensation, and insider trading are among the topics related to socially responsible investment in this collection of business articles.

Occidental To Adopt Formal Human Rights Policy, Shareowners Withdraw Resolution (03/18)
Successful shareholder action results in steps towards Occidental formalizing its human rights policy.

Cintas Defamation Suit Challenges Shareowner Free Speech Rights (02/10)
Cintas files a defamation lawsuit against Tim Smith of Walden Asset Management for alleging that the company uses sweatshop labor in Haiti.

British American Tobacco Reluctantly Exits Myanmar (11/07)
Bowing to pressure from activists and the UK government, BAT sold its interest in its Myanmar operation, though it will continue to license its cigarette brands there.

The Implications of the Nike and Kasky Settlement on CSR Reporting (09/18)
Although Nike reached an agreement with Marc Kasky to end his lawsuit, the settlement's effect on corporate social responsibility reporting remains to be seen.

UN to Hold Corporations More Responsible for Human Rights and the Environment (08/26)
A UN sub-commission adopted a resolution calling for transnational corporations to be held more accountable for human rights protection and environmental stewardship.

Ford's Latest CSR Report Increases Transparency by Using GRI Guidelines (08/12)
Ford's decision to base its 2002 Corporate Citizenship Report on Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines will help analysts get a fuller picture of the company's performance (part one of a two-part article).

Members of Congress Consider Social and Environmental Disclosure in SEC Filings (07/11)
A group of Senators and Representatives summoned a symposium on the need for social and environmental disclosure by companies in their SEC filings.

Nike and Others Increase Transparency into Their Global Labor Practices (06/04)
The Fair Labor Association releases a report today on the internal and independent external monitoring of apparel and footwear manufacturers' global labor practices.

World's Largest Coffee Traders Agree to Sustainability, but How Committed Are They? (05/30)
Rainforest Alliance's recent agreement on sustainability with the world's two largest coffee traders holds promise but the devil may be in the details.

Religious Institutions Issue Benchmarks for Corporate Social Responsibility Performance (05/28)
A global coalition of religious activists have published the third edition of a comprehensive set of guidelines for corporate social and environmental performance.

The Answer to the Coffee Crisis? Farmers Want Fair Price, Kraft Says Increase Demand (04/25)
Calls for fair prices and Fair Trade Certified coffee by social investors, coffee farmers, and Oxfam go unheeded by Kraft.

Is Nike Guaranteed Free Speech? The Supreme Court Will Decide (04/23)
Advocates of socially responsible investment and corporate social responsibility on both sides of the Atlantic weigh in on the implications of Nike's Supreme Court case.

Chinese Toy Manufacturer Labor Standards Found Lacking (02/20)
New report highlights structural obstacles to toy manufacturer implementation of labor codes of conduct.

National Wildlife Federation and Amnesty International USA Embrace SRI (02/11)
Two well-known advocacy organizations have made a commitment to lowering the wall between their program activities and their investments.

ICCR Proxy Resolutions Book Gauges Shareowner Action Climate (01/22)
In its new publication, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility rounds up the social and environmental shareowner resolutions to be voted on in the 2003 proxy season.

Nike Greenwash Decision a Double-Edged Sword (10/31)
While some cheer the California Supreme Court ruling against Nike as a victory for truth in advertising, others consider it a potential defeat for CSR reporting and increased corporate transparency.

WRI Promotes Sustainable Business in China (10/22)
The World Resources Institute has launched a project that will support green business initiatives in China.

Oxfam Launches Coffee Rescue Plan (09/30)
Oxfam International's new effort to promote the fair trade of coffee garners immediate support from Domini Social Investments.

Computer Sector's Social and Environmental Performance Needs Upgrade (07/31)
A recent report from Oekom Research identifies shortcomings in the corporate responsibility performance of IT and computer companies, particularly concerning social issues.

Rio + 10 Series: Two UNEP Reports Chart Past, Present, and Future Course of Sustainable Development (07/13)
Assessments of the progress since the Rio Summit guide the blueprints for the Johannesburg Summit.

Labor Law Database Eases Companies' Compliance Efforts (05/30)
A new database service aids corporate compliance teams in gathering information on national and local labor laws.

Tomato Pickers Boycott Taco Bell for Higher Wages (12/12)
Borrowing a tactic from anti-sweatshop campaigns, tomato pickers seek a sustainable living wage by appealing to Taco Bell, the primary purchaser of the tomatoes they pick.

Ben & Jerry's Co-founder Invests in "Sweat-free" Garments (09/10)
Following the sale of the Ben & Jerry's label to Unilever, Ben Cohen has shifted his focus from ice cream to the clothing industry as a vehicle for social change.

Labor Standards Resolutions Garner Support in 2001 Proxy Season (07/11)
Ten international labor and human rights proposals that came to vote this year received 10 percent or more support from shareowners.

Poor Practices Catching Up with Labor Ready (06/25)
Worker complaints and lawsuits contribute to financial woes of national manual labor temp agency.

Wal-Mart Booted Out of the Domini 400 (04/17)
KLD cites lack of leadership on labor controversies among reasons for removal.

Shopping for Responsibility (04/02)
Internet site is helping consumers base shopping decisions on values.

Labor Issue Database May Lighten Social Research Workload (02/22)
International Labour Organization compiles database of Internet sources of information on corporate social responsibility-related employment and labor issues.

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