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Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance (September 18)

2022/ 09/ 20 by jd in Global News

ESG “is not a unitary principle or even a collection of a fixed set of particular principles. Rather, ESG encapsulates the range of risks that all corporations must carefully balance, taking into account their specific circumstances, in seeking to achieve long-term, sustainable value.” The ESG label may be new, but “corporate boards and management have long considered ESG factors and risks in setting and executing strategy…. Doing so is associated with superior financial results, and consistent with long-accepted norms as to the place of business in society.”

 

Fortune (August 19)

2019/ 08/ 20 by jd in Global News

“Given the immense power large companies exercise in society, the new social consciousness of business surely should be seen as a step in the right direction. At a time when the nation’s political leadership is tied in knots…business leadership is filling the leadership vacuum.” The Business Roundtable, which always prioritized shareholders, “has redefined its mission” to include all stakeholders. In fact, shareholders aren’t even mentioned until word 250 of the 300-word Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation.

 

Economist (October 1)

2016/ 10/ 02 by jd in Global News

“Globalisation’s critics say it benefits only the elite. In fact, a less open world would hurt the poor most of all…. There is a world of difference between improving globalisation and reversing it. The idea that globalisation is a scam that benefits only corporations and the rich could scarcely be more wrong.”

 

Institutional Investor (June 16)

2016/ 06/ 17 by jd in Global News

“Short-termism, often driven by activists, can have grave implications for corporations, for our economy and sometimes for society overall. Innovation, discovery and hiring are curtailed when R&D projects are put on hold or cancelled because of short-term pressures…. Short-termism also leads to mispricing, misallocation of assets and a lack of reliable information about long-term prospects.”

 

The Economist (September 19)

2015/ 09/ 21 by jd in Global News

“Corporate profits more than tripled in 1980-2013, rising from 7.6% of global GDP to 10%, of which Western companies captured more than two-thirds. The after-tax profits of American firms are at their highest level as a share of national income since 1929.” Yet a recent study suggests “the golden age of the Western corporation may be coming to an end.” The McKinsey Global Institute projects “that corporate profits may fall from 10% of global GDP to about 8% in a decade’s time.”

 

New York Times (July 1)

2015/ 07/ 02 by jd in Global News

“Sometimes the bottom line matches the common good.” In the U.S., corporations are increasingly taking the lead as “agents of what’s practical, wise and even right.” The companies are interested in ensuring “that laws and local customs don’t prevent them from attracting and retaining the best work force” as they seek to strengthen their brands. These self-interested efforts “have produced compelling recent examples of companies showing greater sensitivity to diversity, social justice and the changing tides of public sentiment than lawmakers often manage to.”

 

Financial Times (May 26)

2015/ 05/ 27 by jd in Global News

Global cities now “drive the world’s economy. The 600 biggest cities account for more than 60 per cent of global gross domestic product. The top 20 are home to one-third of all large corporations, and almost half of their combined revenues. Tokyo leads the pack — in population size, economic punch and number of corporate headquarters — ahead of New York, London and Paris.”

 

Washington Post (April 6)

2015/ 04/ 07 by jd in Global News

“Climate-change deniers are in retreat.” Funding is being cut off for groups that once tried to justify the increasingly untenable position that human activities are not causing climate change. “For politicians and climate-denial groups, the elixir of life is money. Now that corporations are becoming reluctant to bankroll crazy theories, the surrender of climate-change deniers will follow.”

 

Washington Post (March 5)

2015/ 03/ 05 by jd in Global News

There has been a “great shift in what U.S. corporations have done with their money.” Companies once invested 40% of “every dollar that a corporation either borrowed or realized in net earnings.” This “went into investment in its facilities, research or new hires. Since the ’80s, however, just 10 cents of those dollars have gone to investment…. The money that once went to expansion and new ventures has gone instead into shareholders’ pockets.”

 

The Economist (January 21, 2012)

2012/ 01/ 23 by jd in Global News

The concept of limited liability, which protects shareholders, “is one of the greatest wealth-creating inventions of all time.” In many places, however, companies can be set up to hide or disguise the ultimate owners. “This is of great use to wrongdoers, and a huge headache for those who pursue them.” Both the World Bank and the OECD argue that the identities of owners should be disclosed. The Economist agrees. “Anyone registering a limited company should have to declare the names of the real people who ultimately own it, wherever they are, and report any changes. Lying about this should be a crime.”

The concept of limited liability, which protects shareholders, “is one of the greatest wealth-creating inventions of all time.” In many places, however, companies can be set up to hide or disguise the ultimate owners. “This is of great use to wrongdoers, and a huge headache for those who pursue them.” Both the World Bank and the OECD argue that the identities of owners should be disclosed. The Economist agrees. “Anyone registering a limited company should have to declare the names of the real people who ultimately own it, wherever they are, and report any changes. Lying about this should be a crime.”

 

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