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The Latest Corporate Social Responsibility News - In Wake of Economic Meltdown, Congress Considers Green Recovery

Submitted by: CSRwire Weekly News Alert

Categories: Socially Responsible Investing, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Sep 16, 2008 – 11:59 PM EST

 

Genocide-free investing also on Congressional agenda last week

Sep. 16 /CSRwire/ - While Monday's meltdown of Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch poses dire consequences for the economy as a whole, it raises a particular question mark for the burgeoning green economy. Lehman, which released two climate investing reports last year, closed its carbon trading desk on Monday, threatening the viability of the ten Kyoto Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) deals it had brokered. While Merrill's carbon trading desk remained open, the fate of the carbon index Merrill launched earlier this year remains unclear.

The time couldn't be more ripe for high-level consideration of the role of the green economy in paving a road to recovery. Tomorrow, the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming is hosting a hearing entitled "The Green Road to Economic Recovery." The centerpiece of the hearing is the Green Recovery report released last week by the Political Economy Research Institute and the Center for American Progress. The high profile of green jobs in Barack Obama's new energy platform significantly raises the report's profile, and as does the release next week of another green jobs study by the Worldwatch Institute at the United Nations.

Report co-author Bob Pollin of PERI and project manager Bracken Hendricks (author of Apollo's Fire and co-founder of the Apollo Alliance) will testify on the report's findings that "the transformation to a low-carbon economy would result in sustainable economic growth." But what are the implications of this week's economic turmoil on the report's findings? Stay tuned to the Special Committee's website for answers to that question and to Corporate Watchdog Radio next week for an interview with Pollin.

Congress also took up another hot-button sustainability issue last week. The Congressional Human Rights Caucus hosted a briefing on genocide-free investing that demonstrated the "magnet effect," attracting those courageous enough to address the issue, and repelling a host of others. "I'd like to clarify for the record that government representatives from the U.S. Departments of Treasury and Labor were invited, along with members from the Security Exchange Commission," said Rep. James McGovern (D-MA), who convened the meeting. "In addition, invitations to participate were sent to the Investment Company Institute [the mutual fund industry group], Fidelity Investment and Franklin Templeton. All declined or were unable to appear."

It defies belief that such large organizations could not muster a single representative with a schedule free enough to address the connection between genocide and investment. Perhaps it is because the mutual fund industry downplays the connection, pointing to the legal obligation to focus exclusively on maximizing financial returns. The briefing, spearheaded by Investors Against Genocide, shone a clarifying light on this claim as well. "Let me be clear: There is no law that compels mutual funds to profit from genocide," said Adam Kanzer, managing director of Domini Social Investments, who was just named amongst the top 100 most influential players in corporate governance by Directorship magazine.

McGovern said he will ask Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), chair of the House Financial Services Committee, to hold hearings in the spring on investment and genocide Ð focusing on Sudan in particular.

This article was written by CSRwire contributor Bill Baue.


CSRwire's Multimedia Picks of the Week

CSRwire President Joe Sibilia is at his best this week with his electrifying new blog: "Taxpayers bailing out investment bankers? It's crazy!"

Equal Exchange is helping to promote this riveting new documentary "The Price of Sugar," which follows Father Christopher Hartley, a charismatic Spanish priest, as he travels throughout the Dominican Republic organizing thousands of dispossessed Haitian sugarcane workers.

Treehugger hosted another fabulous podcast this week featuring an interview with Blake Mycoskie, the creator of TOMS Shoes. For every pair of shoes that TOMS sells, they also give a pair away to a child somewhere in the world in need of them!

We've got a great clip of Gary Hirshberg, president and CE-Yo of Stonyfield Farm, discussing his new book Stirring it Up: How to Make Money and Save the World.

Carbon Trust has released their annual report for 2007/08, and it looks as though the UK Company continues to be an incredible success story.

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