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Human Rights / Living wage


NEWS STORY: SUSTAINABLE INVESTMENT | SHAREOWNER ACTION
After the Conventions
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.

NEWS STORY: SHAREOWNER ACTION | HUMAN RIGHTS | FOOD AND BEVERAGE INDUSTRY
Pepsi Challenged on Palm Oil Worker Exploitation
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.

NEWS STORY: SHAREOWNER ACTION | SOCIAL ISSUES | HUMAN RIGHTS
Second Benchmark of Corporate Human Rights Performance Launches
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.

NEWS STORY: SHAREOWNER ACTION | HUMAN RIGHTS | EMERGING MARKETS
Verite to Assess Trafficking Risks in Sub-Saharan Africa
With economies improving and ample natural resources, the region is at heightened risk for human trafficking violations.

NEWS STORY: SHAREOWNER ACTION | HUMAN RIGHTS
1% to Own More than Half the Wealth by Next Year
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.

NEWS STORY: SHAREOWNER ACTION | SOCIAL ISSUES | HUMAN RIGHTS
Corporate Human Rights Benchmark Gains Government Support
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.

NEWS STORY: SOCIAL ISSUES | HUMAN RIGHTS | INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Widespread Forced Labor in Malaysian Electronics Industry
A study by Verite finds that nearly one-third of foreign migrant workers in the Malaysian electronics industry work under conditions of forced labor.

NEWS STORY: SHAREOWNER ACTION | HUMAN RIGHTS | EMERGING MARKETS
Thai Company Sues Activist for Revealing Human Rights Abuses
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.

NEWS STORY: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT | COMMUNITY INVESTMENT
Privatization Harms Public Services
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.

NEWS STORY: SUSTAINABLE INVESTMENT | ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
Third National Climate Assessment Published
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.

NEWS STORY: ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES | SOCIAL ISSUES
Climate Change Takes the Stage at Davos
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.

NEWS STORY: SOCIAL ISSUES | CORPORATE REPORTING | HUMAN RIGHTS
Loopholes in Commitments to Human Rights by US Businesses, UN finds
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.

NEWS BRIEF: SHAREOWNER ACTION | SOCIAL ISSUES | HUMAN RIGHTS
Investors Call for Meaningful Immigration Reform
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.

NEWS STORY: SOCIAL ISSUES | HUMAN RIGHTS
RepRisk Names Ten Most Controversial Companies in 2012
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.

NEWS BRIEF: SOCIAL ISSUES | HUMAN RIGHTS | FOOD INDUSTRY
Food and Agriculture Industry Lags in Assuring Worker Equity
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.

NEWS BRIEF: SOCIAL ISSUES | INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY | CORPORATE SUPPLY CHAINS
Labor Conditions Improving at Chinese Supplier to Apple
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.

NEWS STORY: SHAREOWNER ACTION | HUMAN RIGHTS | FINANCIAL INDUSTRY
A Guide to Economics for the 99%
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.

NEWS BRIEF: SHAREOWNER ACTION | SOCIAL ISSUES | CORPORATE GOVERNANCE | BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION
Investors Speak Out on Wal-Mart Bribery Allegations
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.

NEWS BRIEF: SOCIAL ISSUES | CORPORATE GOVERNANCE | BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION
Wal-Mart Gets ESG Rating of F After Bribery Allegations
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.

NEWS BRIEF: SHAREOWNER ACTION | SOCIAL ISSUES | SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT
Companies Advised to Address Risks in Supply Chains
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.

NEWS STORY: SOCIAL ISSUES | HUMAN RIGHTS | INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Apple Moves from Laggard to Sector Leader on Transparency
The computer giant agrees to implement remedial action recommended by the Fair Labor Association's investigation of working conditions at Foxconn factories in China.

NEWS BRIEF: SOCIAL ISSUES | HUMAN RIGHTS | SUPPLY CHAINS | ELECTRONICS INDUSTRY
Microsoft Says Worker Dispute at Foxconn Plant Resolved
Suicide threats by protesting workers at Chinese manufacturing plant recalls 2010 deaths of workers at another Foxconn plant in China.

NEWS BRIEF: SHAREOWNER ACTION | SOCIAL ISSUES | FINANCIAL INDUSTRIES
More Fodder for Uprising Against Economic Inequality
The Congressional Budget Office reports that household income of the top one percent grew by 275% between 1979 and 2007.

INTERVIEW: SHAREOWNER ACTION | SOCIAL ISSUES | FINANCIAL INDUSTRIES
How Occupy Wall Street and Sustainable Investment are Aligned
SocialFunds.com talks with Sonia Kowal of Zevin Asset Management about social unrest and its impact on the prospects for long-term sustainable investment.

NEWS BRIEF: CORPORATE GOVERNANCE | HUMAN RIGHTS | APPAREL INDUSTRY
WikiLeaks Cable Describes US State Department Efforts to Undermine Minimum Wage in Haiti
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."

NEWS STORY: SHAREHOLDER ACTIVISM: HUMAN RIGHTS
Investors Support UN Business and Human Rights Mandate
Coalition of socially responsible investors sends a letter to the United Nations Human Rights Council supporting businesses' responsibility for human rights.

INTERVIEW: STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT
Michael Conroy on Activist Campaigns and the Certification Revolution
SocialFunds writer Bill Baue speaks with Michael Conroy about his new book, Branded! How the “Certification Revolution” is Transforming Global Companies

NEWS STORY: SUPPLY CHAIN, CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY
Transparent Supply Chain Sends A Clear Message
Hewlett-Packard recently released a list of its largest suppliers in hopes of increasing accountability from factory floors to consumers' front doors.

NEWS STORY:
Contracting Human Rights? Ruggie Teams with IFC on Study
Empirical research conducted by John Ruggie and the International Finance Corporation examines if foreign investment contract clauses enable human rights violations.

NEWS STORY:
Shareowner Activism Precedes Development of SRI Slavery Screen
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.

NEWS STORY:
Ruggie Report Says Voluntary Human Rights Initiatives Set Stage for Binding Global Standards
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.

NEWS STORY:
From Competition to Cooperation: Companies Collaborate on Social and Environmental Issues
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.

NEWS STORY:
Norwegian Government Pension Fund Dumps Wal-Mart and Freeport on Ethical Exclusions
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.

NEWS STORY:
Wainwright Bank and Equal Exchange Partner to Offer the First Branded Certificate of Deposit
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.

NEWS STORY:
Facing Campaign on Farm Working Conditions, McDonald's to Heed Independent Study Results
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.

NEWS STORY:
Bank Policies Fail to Meet International Social and Environmental Standards, Report Says
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.

NEWS STORY:
Defining Corporate Complicity in Human Rights Abuses
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:
Book Review: Economic Apartheid in America: A Primer on Economic Inequality & Insecurity
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.

NEWS STORY:
Alien Tort Claims Act Lawsuit Alleges Slavery and Child Labor on Liberian Firestone Plantation
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.

NEWS STORY:
Verite Report Identifies Exploitation of Foreign Contract Laborers in Asia and the Middle East
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.

NEWS STORY:
SRI Research from UBS Strikes Balance Between Ethics and Economics
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.

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

NEWS STORY:
Gap and Nike Engage Stakeholders For Assurance Statements on Sustainability Reports
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.

NEWS STORY:
Taco Bell Agrees to Pay Florida Tomato Pickers A Penny More Per Pound to End Boycott
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.

NEWS STORY:
Gap-Verite Collaboration Exemplifies Award-Winning Practice on Social Responsibility
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.

NEWS STORY:
FTSE4Good Raises the Bar With New Supply Chain Labor Standards Criteria
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.

NEWS STORY:
About Face: Cintas Settles Lawsuit and Supports Vendor Standards Resolution
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.

NEWS STORY:
Sarona Supports Microfinance To Help Alleviate Poverty in Developing Regions
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.

NEWS STORY:
Oekom Rates Food and Beverages Industry Average in Sustainability Performance
The example of Starbucks illustrates how Oekom Research rates food and beverage companies as average performers in social and environmental sustainability.

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

NEWS STORY:
Occidental To Adopt Formal Human Rights Policy, Shareowners Withdraw Resolution
Successful shareholder action results in steps towards Occidental formalizing its human rights policy.

NEWS STORY:
Cintas Defamation Suit Challenges Shareowner Free Speech Rights
Cintas files a defamation lawsuit against Tim Smith of Walden Asset Management for alleging that the company uses sweatshop labor in Haiti.

NEWS STORY:
British American Tobacco Reluctantly Exits Myanmar
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.

NEWS STORY:
The Implications of the Nike and Kasky Settlement on CSR Reporting
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.

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

NEWS STORY:
Ford's Latest CSR Report Increases Transparency by Using GRI Guidelines
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).

NEWS STORY:
Members of Congress Consider Social and Environmental Disclosure in SEC Filings
A group of Senators and Representatives summoned a symposium on the need for social and environmental disclosure by companies in their SEC filings.

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

NEWS STORY:
World's Largest Coffee Traders Agree to Sustainability, but How Committed Are They?
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.

NEWS STORY:
Religious Institutions Issue Benchmarks for Corporate Social Responsibility Performance
A global coalition of religious activists have published the third edition of a comprehensive set of guidelines for corporate social and environmental performance.

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

NEWS STORY:
Is Nike Guaranteed Free Speech? The Supreme Court Will Decide
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.

NEWS STORY:
Chinese Toy Manufacturer Labor Standards Found Lacking
New report highlights structural obstacles to toy manufacturer implementation of labor codes of conduct.

NEWS STORY:
National Wildlife Federation and Amnesty International USA Embrace SRI
Two well-known advocacy organizations have made a commitment to lowering the wall between their program activities and their investments.

NEWS STORY:
ICCR Proxy Resolutions Book Gauges Shareowner Action Climate
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.

NEWS STORY:
Nike Greenwash Decision a Double-Edged Sword
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.

NEWS STORY:
WRI Promotes Sustainable Business in China
The World Resources Institute has launched a project that will support green business initiatives in China.

NEWS STORY:
Oxfam Launches Coffee Rescue Plan
Oxfam International's new effort to promote the fair trade of coffee garners immediate support from Domini Social Investments.

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

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

NEWS STORY:
Labor Law Database Eases Companies' Compliance Efforts
A new database service aids corporate compliance teams in gathering information on national and local labor laws.

NEWS STORY:
Tomato Pickers Boycott Taco Bell for Higher Wages
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.

NEWS STORY:
Ben & Jerry's Co-founder Invests in "Sweat-free" Garments
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.

NEWS STORY:
Labor Standards Resolutions Garner Support in 2001 Proxy Season
Ten international labor and human rights proposals that came to vote this year received 10 percent or more support from shareowners.

NEWS STORY:
Poor Practices Catching Up with Labor Ready
Worker complaints and lawsuits contribute to financial woes of national manual labor temp agency.

NEWS STORY:
Wal-Mart Booted Out of the Domini 400
KLD cites lack of leadership on labor controversies among reasons for removal.

NEWS STORY:
Shopping for Responsibility
Internet site is helping consumers base shopping decisions on values.

NEWS STORY:
Labor Issue Database May Lighten Social Research Workload
International Labour Organization compiles database of Internet sources of information on corporate social responsibility-related employment and labor issues.

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