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Newsweek Green Rankings Companies Improve Environmental Transparency October 30th, 2012

The fourth annual Newsweek Green Rankings has found that 20% more of the world’s largest companies reported on their environmental performance in 2012, compared to 2011. The Newsweek Green Rankings aims to “cut through the green chatter and compare the actual environmental footprints, management (policies, programs, initiatives, controversies), and reporting practices” of the 500 largest publicly traded companies in the world. This is good progress; although the report also says more is needed to address the serious resource and sustainability issues facing us.

Global companies are becoming more transparent on their environmental performance, recognizing the risks inherent in a failure to attend to issues such as water and energy. Over 85% of companies in Newsweek’s Green Rankings now disclose some level of detail on their environmental information, representing a 20% improvement on the previous year.

Activist investors, like the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, engage corporations on sustainability issues and regularly encourage companies to report with mechanisms such as the GRI (Global Reporting Initiative), and the Carbon Disclosure Project on carbon and now water.

Newsweek partners with Trucost and Sustainalytics to engage companies in measuring and disclosing environmental performance as an essential first step towards improving it. The Oblates also use Sustainalytics to analyze their portfolio, and provide research guidance for engaging companies.

For more information see Newsweek Green Rankings on The Daily Beast

Tell Congress: End Too-Big-To-Fail. Make Banking SAFE May 17th, 2012

The top five banks now control 52 percent of the financial industry’s assets; they had 17 percent in 1970. The six largest banks control assets equal to 62 percent of the nation’s gross national product. They may be not only too big to fail, but also too big to save.

The biggest of them, Dimon’s JPMorgan Chase, has $2.1 trillion in assets and more than 239,000 employees. The bank’s recent bad bet that now amounts to $3 trillion, is a clear indication of the need for serious reform.

Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Keith Ellison have introduced a measure to cut too-big-to-fail banks down to size. The SAFE (Safe, Accountable, Fair and Efficient) Banking Act would put in place an important element missing from the financial reform legislation of two years ago: a cap on how big banks can get. The bank lobby defeated all efforts to include a limit on their size.

Now the six largest banks – led by JPMorgan Chase – are collectively larger and more concentrated than they were before they blew up the economy, with the assets they control growing from $6.1 trillion before the collapse to more than $8.5 trillion today, according to Federal Reserve data.

Wall Street lobbyists have successfully delayed and diluted regulations that were supposed to flow from the Wall Street reform bill. And the big banks have ways to push their way around any barriers.

We need a fail-safe. If a bank can’t be too big, then it can’t be too big to fail.

Among the provisions of the Safe Banking Act are that no bank could hold more than 10 percent of all of the insured bank deposits in the country, nor could a bank holding company have non-deposit liabilities greater than 2 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.

By the standards in the SAFE Banking Act, four existing banks are currently above the size cap—JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo—and would have to shrink. This would be a major step in making banking sober—and boring, as it should be—once again.

Click here to tell Congress: Break up the big banks! Pass Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Keith Ellison’s SAFE Banking Act. 

Thanks to the Campaign for America’s Future for the information on this bill. 

Oblate Questions JP Morgan/Chase CEO Jaime Dimon May 16th, 2012

Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI representing the Oblates of Mary Immaculate at the JP Morgan/Chase AGM yesterday in Naples, Florida, made pointed comments about the latest heavy losses at the company. He questioned Dimon’s opposition to the Volcker Rule and the bank’s lobbying in opposition to other aspects of the financial regulations being developed at the SEC in response to the Dodd-Frank legislation.

He was quoted today by Maureen Dowd in her NY Times column:

The Rev. Seamus Finn, representing shareholders from the Catholic organization Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, did gently press the boss: “We’re wondering, Mr. Dimon, given what we’ve learned, do you still believe a company can self-regulate when trading on their own accounts?” He added: “Furthermore, should our company really be spending shareholder funds on, some $7 million last year alone, on lobbying efforts to thwart the Dodd-Frank legislation and the work of regulators to write the rules stemming from that legislation?”
The priest concluded that the shareholders, “weary of mistakes” and pledges to reform, wonder if Dimon is listening.

Fr. Finn was also quoted in The Guardian, on, The Telegraph, Crain’s New York Business, and the

Interfaith Center For Corporate Responsibility: Celebrating A Legacy And Renewing A Promise! October 12th, 2011

Seamus Finn’s latest blog on Huffington Post looks at the 40 year legacy of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR):

“In 1971 a small group of believers decided to establish the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility to facilitate and coordinate their efforts to engage and challenge US corporations who had a presence in South Africa. The apartheid system of government was already well entrenched and they were searching for tools and opportunities that could join the chorus of advocates that were working to dismantle the apartheid system. Their objective was very simple; ask and advocate that US companies withdraw from South Africa and therefore deprive the government of any of the products or tax revenues that enabled their system of government to continue.”

Read the blog…

Oblates Celebrate ICCR’s 40th Anniversary! September 29th, 2011

The group representing the Oblates at the ICCR 40th Anniversary event held in New York on September 22, 2011 from left to right are: Anne Van Dyke; Andrew Small, OMI; George Ngolwe; Seamus Finn, OMI; Christina Herman; Mary O'Herron; Daniel LeBlanc, OMI.


The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility celebrates its 40th Anniversary this year. The Oblate JPIC staff, which is deeply engaged in the work of faith-based shareholder advocacy, joined in the celebration which followed a week of strategizing on issues as diverse as human trafficking, immigration, mining, responsible finance, water and access to medicines.

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