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Clothing Retailers Pressed on Safety Issues May 12th, 2013

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Photo credit: Emma L. Herman

The Rev. Seamus Finn, OMI (OMI JPIC Office Director) was quoted in a recent New York Times article on the building collapse and fires in the Bangladesh garment industry, saying: “What happened in Bangladesh is a game-changer because of the gravity of the situation and the tremendous loss of life,” Father Finn said. “People are really coming to life about this and saying, ‘We need to do something.’ ”

Rev. Finn is circulating a letter among other faith-based and socially responsible investors – groups that control more than $100 billion in assets — expressing displeasure with U.S. retailers. He says the retailers have not done nearly enough to improve workplace safety for the more than three million garment workers in Bangladesh.

Read the NY Times article…

Bangladesh labor costs in the garment manufacturing industry are the lowest in the world. Decent factory operations there are under tremendous pressure from their purchasers to lower costs, with the buyers threatening to ‘take their business down the road’ unless their terms are met.

 


Lives Destroyed, Dreams Crushed and Cheap Clothes April 29th, 2013

Father-SeamusThe collapse of a large eight-story garment factory in Savar on the outskirts of Dhaka a few days ago has resulted in numerous images, stories and reports. The loss of more that 300 lives, most of them young parents, alongside the countless number that have suffered serious injuries, has resulted in immeasurable pain, suffering and anger.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that the spotlight has been directed on the garment industry in Bangladesh.

Read Fr. Finn’s latest blog on Huffington Post…

 


Bank Scandal…Yet Again July 25th, 2012

Recent revelations of bank manipulation of the all-important LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate) form the basis for this most recent commentary, Here They Go Again, by Fr. Seamus Finn OMI on Huffington Post.

LIBOR is the average interest rate estimated by leading banks in London that they would be charged if borrowing from other banks. It is recognized as the primary benchmark for along with the Euribor (Euro Interbank Offered Rate), for short-term interest rates around the world

Commonly, financial institutions, mortgage lenders and credit card agencies set their own rates relative to it, hence its importance. At least $350 trillion in derivatives and other financial products are reportedly tied to the Libor

Read Fr. Finn’s blog on Huffington Post…


Oblates Active in ICCR AGM in Boston June 10th, 2012

Simmons College, Boston, MA

The Oblates participated in the Annual General Meeting of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) that met at Simmons College in Boston from June 4-8. The corporate engagements over the last proxy season were evaluated – with successes celebrated, and plans laid for the 2012-2013 season. Areas in which the Oblates are active include: access to finance, extractives, global access to health, water, human trafficking, toxic chemicals, corporate governance and supply chain (labor) issues. John Ruggie, Professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School and the UN Special Rapporteur behind the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights and Business was honored at a reception Wednesday evening.

The work on the financial services sector continues to be a high priority for ICCR members and has generated significant media attention. Resolutions and statements by religious investors continue to draw attention to the extensive moral and ethical responsibilities that corporate actors in this space assume. The enduring impact of the destruction of nearly 17 trillion dollars of wealth since the near financial meltdown of September 2008 is a clear justification of the need for such vigilance. This work by ICCR members has strongly supported the efforts of numerous homeowners in places like the San Fernando Valley CA and Prince William County in VA to stay in their homes and restore their communities.

Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI and Sr. Judy Byron, OP at ICCR

Click here to read more »


On St. Patrick’s Day, Protect the Irish March 19th, 2012

Rev. Seamus P. Finn, OMI and Eric LeCompte, Director of Jubilee USA – wrote a joint piece on the legitimacy, or lack thereof, of international debt burdens. Their full article can be found on the Huffington Post:

“On the Feast of St. Patrick, there may be no better way to honor the patron of Ireland, who according to legend drove out snakes from the country, than by protecting the Irish people from bailing out a nonexistent reckless speculation bank.

Anglo-Irish Bank (Anglo) financed some of Ireland’s worst property speculators for unsustainable golf courses, hotels and super markets and saddled the Irish people with a massive, unjust debt.

At Jubilee USA Network we know a lot about unjust debts. …”

Read the full blog post.

 

Read more…

 


Faith-Based Shareholders Call for News Corp Board Shakeup March 1st, 2012

The Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility and Christian Brothers Investment Services are calling once again for a shakeup of the Board of Directors of News Corp and the resignation of James Murdoch, son of newspaper magnate Rupert Murdoch. The faith-based groups were part of an investor revolt , calling for reform of the News Corporation board at last year’s annual general meeting. Thirty five per cent of shareholders voted against James Murdoch’s re-election then, and the ICCR members are calling again for major changes on the Board.

Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI was quoted in several press stories about the need for James Murdoch’s resignation and a Board shakeup after it was announced that Murdoch was giving up his position as executive chairman of News International – the British publishing division hit by the phone-hacking scandal – and returning to New York. ” It seems to me that … either [the] Leveson enquiry or the internal enquiry from the company [may have] … turned over some new thing that has made James decide he is going to step down.” “This raises further concerns about the way this company is governed. … It is clear to us that there are too many conflicts of interest in the way this company is run.”

The shareholder campaign at NewsCorp is in keeping with investor campaigns for better governance, one element of which is separation of the Board Chair and CEO. Best practices, according to Julie Tanner of Christian Brothers, which is drafting a shareholder resolution against News Corp, is that 2/3 of Board Directors should be independent (not related by family or personal ties). Rupert Murdoch currently owns 40% of the company and is Board Chair and CEO.

Learn more…

Article in the Guardian Newspaper…

Interview on ABC News show “The World Today”…

 

 

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