ESG Insider


News or articles focussing on social issues e.g. human rights or labor rights abuses, relationships with suppliers or competitors, health and safety issues.

Duke Energy and the Dan River: the dangers of corporate money in politics

Catawba Riverkeeper, Sam Perkins, compares coal ash which forms a six-inch thick layer on the Dan River bed (left) to the river’s natural sediment (right)

Catawba Riverkeeper, Sam Perkins, compares coal ash which forms a six-inch thick layer on the Dan River bed (left) to the river’s natural sediment (right). Source –

Last week, a new guide from the US SIF Foundation, Confronting Corporate Money in Politics was published, arguing that greater transparency is needed over the inordinate lobbying power corporations have in the US. Taking the perspective of the sustainable and responsible investment community, the report claims that investor confidence is hit when companies affect the political process to favour their own interests over that of the US population at large. Pension funds, with a wide and politically-engaged member base, are particularly sensitive.

Adidas supply chain exploitation, Xstrata protesters killed, IMI subsidiary FCPA violation: ESG news roundup

© Mohamad Darisman

Playfair, the NGO campaigning for workers’ rights for all suppliers to the London 2012 Olympics, has singled out adidas for refusing to pay $1.8 million to workers at an Indonesian factory.

In an article published on the Playfair website yesterday, the NGO dissects three arguments against worker compensation given by the sportswear manufacturer, and dismisses all three.

BP, Fair Trade USA, Delhi International Airport Limited

BP has settled a decade-long series of complaints regarding pollution at an Indiana, US refinery, agreeing to pay $8 million in fines and install $400 million worth of pollution controls at the site.

Since at least 2001, the Whiting oil refinery in north-west Indiana has been known to emit benzene, toulene, hydrogen sulphide, soot, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and other chemicals into the air and into wastewater.

UK shareholders remuneration backlash, BHP Billiton, Nokia’s SEZ, Sexual harassment of farmworkers in US

The 2012 UK AGM season is in full swing, and many companies are seeing shareholders revolt over remuneration packages for corporate executives.

67% of Pendragon PLC‘s shareholders voted against Britain’s largest car dealer’s remuneration report, while pay packages proposed by the boards of Trinity Mirror and UBM were likewise struck down.

Other companies feeling the heat from shareholders in their respective 2012 AGMs include Mecom, Sportech, Clarkson, Petrofac and Omega Insurance Holdings.


Running Scared – European broadcasters and corporate sponsors silent in the face of Azerbaijan state abuses

On May 14, 2011, Europe’s eyes absent-mindedly flickered over to the annual singing contest known as Eurovision, where each nation’s breed of bland and bawdy pop numbers were churned out, one excruciating song at a time. By the end of the night, anyone still paying attention to the show learnt where in the world Azerbaijan is as Running Scared was crowned best song.

Neumann Kaffe Gruppe, Burger King, Petrofac, Turkey theatre privatisation fears

Over 2,000 victims of a forced eviction by the Ugandan army will not see a corporate accessory brought to justice as the case against German coffee company Neumann Kaffee Gruppe is closed.

Photo: Simon Rawles / Oxfam GB

The evictees from the country’s western-central Mubende district have never received any compensation from the loss of land and properties in 2001, according to evictees group “Wake Up and Fight For Your Rights”, who are supported by human rights group FoodFirst Information and Action Network (FIAN).

South America’s Resource Curse – ConocoPhillips and Ivanhoe Energy sidestep indigenous rights

Two flashpoints have flared this week over the issue of indigenous peoples’ rights in South America, both championed by the excellent NGO Amazon Watch.

In Ecuador, already plagued by the disastrous pollution of its Amazon Basin by Chevron, Canadian oil firm Ivanhoe Energy is preparing to drill into a 426 square-mile stretch of land, much of which is legally-titled to the Rukullakta people.

Weekend roundup: Abbott Laboratories, DCNS & Thales, Portugal’s privatisation, Shell and ‘Livelihoods’

Abbott Laboratories has agreed to pay fines totalling $1.5 billion for improperly marketing its anti-seizure drug, Depakote.

The judgement includes a $700 million criminal fine and $800 of civil settlements with the federal government and states.

The U.S. attorney for the western district of Virginia claimed that Abbott’s senior executives carried out a strategy of systematically marketing Depakote for uses unapproved by the FDA from 1998 to at least 2006.

SNC-Lavalin, Shell, DynCorp, U.S. Chamber Watch, ‘Indigenous Flashpoints’

One day, someone will write a case study of Canadian construction giant SNC-Lavalin‘s time in Libya and hand it to businesses thinking of expanding into corrupt, undemocratic parts of the world. The cover will boast a gaggle of newly-orphaned children wagging their fingers disapprovingly at the reader. And you know those bleary-eyed brats will be onto something.

SNC-Lavalin: The Canadian engineering firm boasted a close working relationship with Col. Gaddafi's son

Indian defence procurement kickbacks revealed

Anti-corruption activists India Against Corruption turned over a trove of revealing documents yesterday, accusing a relationship between a New York lawyer and an Indian businessman resulting in kickbacks in multi-million dollar Indian defence contracts.

The source of the documents was the lawyer, C. Edmonds Allen, himself. The documents reveal a network of relationships between defence executives, Indian officials and middle-men, including alleged payments made between the parties.