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Governance Insight Alert: OMC and 19 other companies

On January 21, 2014, Omnicom Group Inc. (OMC) filed suit in the U.S. District Court to exclude a confidential-voting shareholder proposal from its 2014 proxy ballot. The target of the suit: John Chevedden, an active filer of governance-related shareholder resolutions for well over a decade. This is the third lawsuit filed by an issuer against […]

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Corporate Sustainability Korea – A review of the SolAbility 2013 survey

By Kap Seol, Research Analyst The latest annual corporate sustainability survey of South Korea published by SolAbility is an interesting read.  It rightly points to the interplay between South Korea’s nominally comprehensive, but ultimately loophole-ridden regulatory framework and the pervasive power of the country’s family-controlled conglomerates, or chaebols. According to the SolAbility survey, most respondents single out […]

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What ESG Doesn’t Mean for Diversification

by Kimberly Gladman, CFA, Ph.D., Director of Research and Risk Analytics Despite the growing awareness of responsible investment, there is still a mistaken impression in some quarters that paying attention to environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors will prevent investors from achieving adequate diversification.  Theoretically, this could be the case if investors chose to avoid entire […]

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Leaving Rio…. And Going Towards Corporate Sustainability

By Erika Karp, Head of Global Sector Research, UBS Investment Bank In leaving Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from the largest private sector event ever held in conjunction with an inter-governmental conference, I am struck by both the complexity and simplicity of this week’s UN Conference on Sustainable Development also known as “Rio +20″. As the […]

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GMI Ratings Environmental Issue: ConocoPhillips Co.

Region: North America Sector: EnergyIndustry: Oil / Gas Refining / Marketing Market Cap: $93,739.5mm (Large Cap) ESG Rating: D AGR: Average (56) ConocoPhillips Co. and its partner China National Offshore Oil Corporation Ltd. just agreed to pay $267 million for spilling oil into China's Bohai Bay. While that fine seems large at first glance, it's […]

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PG&E’s Safety Problems

PG&E Corp. continues putting Californians into danger. In a recent example, the San Francisco utility’s live power lines fell over some Caltrain tracks on the state’s Peninsula on Monday evening, the Contra Costa Times reported. That follows news in the San Francisco Chronicle on April 22 that should have been shocking, but wasn’t: PG&E only […]

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“Shaping the Future” with the Council of Institutional Investors

The Washington D.C. spring meeting of the Council of Institutional Investors missed the cherry blossoms this year — they were unseasonably early this year and bloomed mid-March.  But it did not miss much else, with a full, illuminating, sometimes galvanizing series of presentations and meetings.  I was honored to be invited to speak to a […]

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Starbucks’ Corporate Citizenship

By Paul Hodgson – CCO and Senior Research Associate You know, I can’t help it, there’s something hugely self-congratulatory about Starbucks recent trumpeting of its corporate citizenship, but I should really stop carping about that and say that even HAVING the kinds of aims that are listed in its Global Responsibility Report is not just […]

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McDonald’s Retreats Further From its Love Affair with Styrofoam

By Paul Hodgson – CCO and Senior Research Associate For the truly tactile defensive this is great news. In a report in the Chicago Tribune yesterday, it was revealed that McDonald’s is testing paper cups for its hot drinks. "(Consumers) care about where their food comes from, how people are treated, impacts on the earth," […]

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Chevron, Hit by $18B Judgment, Faces Three Shareholder Proposals

Aguinda v. ChevronTexaco is one of the most complicated and drawn-out global lawsuits in history, seeking damages for the environmental and health impacts of oil extraction in Ecuador dating back to the 1960s. It's the subject of a superb documentary called Crude from director Joe Berlinger and has been featured on 60 Minutes. Chevron (CVX), […]

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HBS on Sustainability Culture

Kimberly Gladman, Director of Research and Risk Analytics In a working paper from Harvard Business School, Professors Bob Eccles, Ioannis Ioannou and George Serafeim provide fascinating new research on corporate sustainability.  The authors began by identifying companies that disclosed a set of environmental and social policies in 2003-2005.  They then conducted over 200 interviews with […]

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Grantham Gives Good Governance at the CII

By Kimberly Gladman – Director of Research In a lively speech today at the Council of Institutional Investors, Jeremy Grantham of GMO presented what amounted to a strong case for the materiality of environmental, social and governance issues to investment outcomes.  Reviewing global trends in population growth and  commodity consumption, he painted a clear picture […]

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Top Firms Cause $2.15 Trillion a Year in Environmental Damage

This just out: a report from environmental research firm Trucost that quantifies, for the first time, environmental externalities—the costs that companies impose other parts of society. The groundbreaking study was commissioned by the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) and United Nations Environmental Program Finance Initiative. It synthesizes a very wide array of studies […]

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