News Archives » Faith Responsible Investing
Walmart Announces Increases in Wages/Opportunities for Walmart Associates February 20th, 2015
The Missionary Oblates JPIC USA and the OIP Trust have been a part of the ongoing conversation that shareholders have sustained with Walmart over many years. In a meeting with Walmart CEO Doug McMillion in 2014, the need to deal with income inequality and the inadequacy of minimum wage levels was on the agenda and openly debated. He listened attentively and participated. Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI, who participated in these dialogs, said: “We are pleased by the announcement that the company has made, because it will make a real difference in the lives of so many individuals and families and hopefully press other companies and the Congress of the United States to address these issues that are real challenges for our society and the future wellbeing of so many families.”
Members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) and shareholders of Walmart were heartened by Walmart’s announcement on February 19th, of measures it is taking to improve both wages and opportunities for advancement for its 1.3 million U.S. employees.
ICCR members who have long engaged the company on employee wage and benefit issues are hopeful that, as the world’s largest employer, Walmart’s announcement will send a strong signal of the importance of raising wages for U.S. workers. The shareholder coalition has engaged companies in a range of sectors, including agriculture, apparel, consumer goods, restaurant, and technology on similar issues throughout their global supply chains. According to the package of changes the company announced today, Walmart has committed to increasing its base pay rate to $9/hr. in all markets and to raising its current associates’ wages to $10 an hour or higher by early next year. For reference, the current federal minimum wage is $7.25/hr. In addition the company is reforming how schedules are developed for its Associates and investing in capacity-building programs that will provide internal advancement opportunities.
A See, Judge, Act Reflection on the Impacts of Mining from Rome February 2nd, 2015
We all use things that are made with minerals drawn from the earth – from cell phones and computers to automobiles and airplanes. But the mining often happens in places far from our own communities, so we don’t experience the impacts of mining operations personally. Concerned about the information they collected in a 2013 survey on the impacts of mining, the Rome-based Integrity of Creation Working Group of the USG-UISG’s Commission on Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) has created a powerful resource to share this. The booklet created y the group is intended to serve as a general introduction to understanding the impact of mining industries on the community and the environment.
Using the Pastoral Cycle or the See-Judge-Act Process model, the booklet is divided into three main sections: Part One (“See”) provides an overview of some features of mining industries, as seen through the lens of equity; Part Two (“Judge”) presents theological, scriptural and ethical reflections; and Part Three (“Act”) offers practical suggestions for changing personal and communal behavior, which include ways of working for appropriate national and international legal frameworks, and implementation to ensure a sustainable future for the Earth Community. The booklet also suggests resources, experiences and prayers, including questions for you and your community.
J.P. Morgan Chase Issues How we do Business Report in Response to Faith-based Shareholders December 19th, 2014
Members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility welcomed today’s release of JP Morgan Chase’s (JPMC) How we do Business Report. The report was, in large part, issued in response to shareholder pressure as a result of the billions of dollars in fines and penalties the company has faced over the past several years.
The report was largely brought about by shareholders pressing for structural changes as a result of the multiple ethical lapses which resulted in billions of dollars in fines and penalties.
Rev. Séamus Finn, of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and Board Chair of ICCR, said, “We welcome the report and look forward to the opportunity to review it in greater detail. The report appropriately acknowledges the lapses in ethical conduct that resulted in significant damage to the company’s reputation and details steps taken to reduce the possibility of such lapses in the future. That their actions have broader, societal repercussions beyond the scope of the company seems also to have been recognized. We are hopeful that management sees the value in this type of self-examination as a bridge to begin to restore trust and confidence between Main Street and Wall Street.”
Faith-Based Investors Get Better Governance at JP Morgan Chase December 17th, 2014
The prestigious journal, American Banker, has reported on the success earned by faith-based groups, including the Missionary Oblates, in forcing J.P. Morgan Chase to improve its governance and increase transparency. An article published today reports that before the end of the year, “JPMorgan Chase will release a 100-page report in which it will provide a full accounting of recent legal settlements and matters under investigation and detail, among other things, clawback policies for executives whose business units engage in “unethical” activity. The New York bank will also describe in the report new structures for board accountability and oversight.”
The article adds that “The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility [ICCR] says the report will go a long way toward restoring the bank’s credibility with shareholders following a string of legal skirmishes, including a $13 billion settlement with U.S regulators over the packaging and sale of shoddy mortgages, a $1 billion fine for manipulating the foreign exchange market, and a $920 million fine it paid to authorities for its failure to spot risky trades. As a condition of the report’s release, the faith-based group has agreed to back off from its campaign to split the chairman and CEO jobs.”
The Rev. Seamus Finn, OMI, ICCR Board Chair, was quoted as saying,”We asked [J.P. Morgan Chase] to address all of the issues under which their reputation had been tarnished since the financial crisis, and I think they’ve done a good job.” He added that “It doesn’t mean there won’t be another ‘London whale’ or foreign-exchange trading scandal. But they are putting in place some strong restrictions to make sure these things don’t happen again.”
Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI on Ford Foundation Mining Panel December 17th, 2014
Learn more though the following links:
Watch their video: A New Vision of the Mining Company of the Future, which explains the current problems with mining and efforts to engage stakeholders to create a new approach.
Church representatives vow to defend Latin American areas with mines December 11th, 2014
Thanks to Catholic New Service for this article, which was written by Lise Alves
SAO PAULO (CNS) — Christian leaders from 14 Latin American countries gathered in Brasilia in early December to discuss ways to reduce the impact of mining activities in their communities, especially the contamination of rivers and lakes.
“There is no large-scale industrial mining without water,” said Bishop Guilherme Werlang of Ipameri, president of the Brazilian bishops’ social justice and charity commission. But the bishops say materials used in mineral extraction contaminate groundwater, rivers and lakes in mining regions.
“It has been proven that these toxic materials will remain in the soil and in the water during many centuries,” said Bishop Werlang.
A three-day conference dubbed “Church and Mining: An Option in Defense of Communities and Territories,” was the first of its kind in the region. The conference had the support of the Brazilian bishops’ conference and the participation of the Latin American Council of Churches as about 90 participants tried to define strategies and alliances to reduce the impact of mining activities.
“We discussed the threats, challenges and insecurities that local and indigenous communities throughout Latin America are experiencing where mining companies are operating,” said Oblate Father Seamus Finn of the Oblates’ Washington-based Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Ministry.
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