San Francisco’s Tax on Tech Companies to Fight the City’s Homelessness

Author: Brittany Adams| UC Berkeley School of Law | J.D. Candidate 2020 | Posted: February 12th, 2019 | Download PDF

After the midterm election, Marc Benioff, the co-CEO of Salesforce, celebrated the passage of San Francisco’s Proposition C on Twitter: “Prop C’s victory means the homeless will have a home & the help they truly need! Let the city come together in Love for those who need it most! . . .”[1] Proposition C, which passed with approximately 60% of the vote, will provide the city with up to $300 million in additional funds to fight the city’s homelessness crisis by raising the gross receipts tax by an average of 0.5 percent for San Francisco companies that earn more than $50 million in revenue a year.[2] As a result, Salesforce, which is headquartered in San Francisco, will pay approximately $10-11 million more in taxes annually.[3]

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The Gig Economy and the Modern Corporation: How Airbnb’s host equity SEC proposal is putting shareholder primacy advocates to bed

Author: Julia Molo | UC Berkeley School of Law | J.D. Candidate 2020 | Posted: February 6th, 2019 | Download PDF

Corporate governance has experienced a phenomenal transformation over the past several decades. The story of this shift, and Milton Friedman’s 1970 New York Times article heard around the world (or at least, the boardrooms of corporate America), are well-documented. Friedman’s article laid the intellectual foundation for the “shareholder primacy” revolution of the 1980s. In the decades since, Friedman’s view that the sole social responsibility of the firm is to maximize shareholder profits— leaving social and stakeholder concerns to individual bargaining and the government—has become sacrosanct in law, business, and academia. An impressive newspaper article, to say the least. (more…)

Nike and the Business Case for Getting Political

Author: Dana Lueck-Mammen | UC Berkeley School of Law | J.D. Candidate 2019 | Posted: February 5, 2019 | Download PDF

On September 5, 2018, Nike released an advertisement that, although not overtly political, immediately led to hordes of #BoycottNike tweets and videos of Nike gear bonfires. But the advertisement was no mistake—in this age of social media, where one tweet can suddenly snowball into a movement with millions of followers, Nike was wisely taking a side on an issue before its customers forced it to. And, despite the anger of some, Nike’s efforts paid off: when the stock market closed on September 13, Nike’s shares had reached an all-time high of $83.47. (more…)

Plastic Pollution: Companies Must Help, and It’s Better for Business, Too

Author: Rica Santos | UC Berkeley School of Law | J.D. Candidate 2019 | Posted: January 25, 2019 | Download PDF

In October 2018, a study by the nonprofit Greenpeace in conjunction with the movement Break Free From Plastic made international headlines, calling out companies that are the biggest contributors to the worldwide plastic pollution problem.[1] The study involved 239 beach cleanups in 42 countries and catalogued over 187,851 pieces of washed up plastic.[2] The study also effectively placed pressure on corporations to respond to their findings the study also called out companies by including a brand audit.[3]

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Corporate Sustainability in the Shift Toward Private Ownership

Author: Brenden Glapion | UC Berkeley School of Law | J.D. Candidate 2020 | Posted: January 22nd, 2019  | Download PDF

In March of 2017, the number of publicly traded domestic companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges had hit its twenty year low of approximately three thousand, six hundred companies. Twenty years earlier the number was almost double in June of 1997 with seven thousand, six hundred publicly traded U.S. companies. Naturally, the decline in public companies and initial public offerings over this twenty year period was accompanied by a large growth in privately held companies. This decline not only resulted in an increase in private companies, but also an increase in “bigger” publicly held companies as a result of mergers and acquisitions and technological innovation. For example, at its peak, Alphabet, Google’s parent company, engaged in nearly one acquisition a week. (more…)