Women on Board

Author: Ken Taylor | UC Berkeley School of Law | J.D. Candidate 2020 | Posted: January 18th, 2019 | Download PDF

California governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill No. 826 into law on September 30, 2018. The law requires publicly-traded companies incorporated in California to put at least one woman on their board under threat of penalty.[1] In addition to the issue of constitutionality, there are numerous problems with this law.

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Salesforce + Customs and Border Patrol

Author(s): Caroline Soussloff | UC Berkeley School of Law | J.D. Candidate 2019 | Posted: January 10th, 2019 | Download PDF

In June, employees at Salesforce called for the company to withdraw its contract with US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) in opposition to the agency’s implementation of the Trump administration’s policy of family separation. In an open letter to Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, they decried their employer’s complicity in “the inhumane treatment of vulnerable people.” NGOs are backing their efforts. However, Benioff has so far declined to cancel the contract—despite his personal political convictions, which lean progressive, and his demonstrated willingness to use Salesforce as a vehicle for political activism in the past (in the context of LGBT rights). (more…)

Standardized ESG Disclosure: European Union as Role Model?

Author: Lukas Herndl | UC Berkeley School of Law | LL.M. Candidate 2019 | Posted: January 8th, 2019 | Download PDF

An increasing number of companies disclose their ESG[1] strategy and related risks to investors and to the public. These disclosures, commonly referred to as sustainability reports, follow a rising demand by investors who see ESG as an important factor influencing the long-term performance of businesses. But since disclosure is not mandatory, a significant number of companies does not report. And absent common guidelines, voluntary sustainability reports are hard to compare and thus have less value for investors. (more…)

Investors Focused on Climate Change Should Integrate Land Rights into their Renewable Energy Investment Strategies

Author: Trudie Makens | UC Berkeley School of Law | J.D. Candidate 2020 | Posted: December 15th, 2018 | Download PDF

As of the end of 2017, $12 trillion or more of the $46.6 trillion under professional management in the United States was invested pursuant to sustainable, responsible and impact investing (“SRI”) strategies.[1] This is up 38% from $8.7 trillion in 2016.[2] The drivers of SRI growth are asset managers who value environmental, social and corporate governance (“ESG”) criteria to generate long-term financial returns and social good.[3] The most important ESG issue that asset managers were focusing on their SRI strategies was climate change.[4] Among institutional investors, climate change was also one of their top three issues.[5] (more…)

Corporations’ Commitment to Climate: Embracing Mother Earth as a Stakeholder

Author: Elizabeth Glusman | UC Berkeley School of Law | J.D. Candidate 2019 | Posted: December 12th, 2018 | Download PDF

A wave of corporate commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions demonstrates the growing vitality of stakeholder theory in corporate governance, and a slow death of Milton Friedman’s shareholder primacy theory. While the formerly-sacrosanct shareholder primacy theory held that the “one and only one social responsibility of business [is] . . . to increase its profits,” companies are increasingly turning their backs on the past. They are affirmatively acknowledging the value in considering a wide array of stakeholders in corporate decision making beyond shareholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, and local communities. With hundreds of companies committing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to stem climate change, Mother Earth has just become the largest stakeholder in the game. (more…)