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]


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…)

The Power of the Purse: The Role of VC Funding in Closing the Tech Gender Gap

Author: Julia Molo | UC Berkeley School of Law | J.D. Candidate 2020 | Posted: October 15th, 2018 | Download PDF

Venture capital (VC) funds play a critical role in determining the tech leaders of tomorrow. As such, closing the “gender investment gap” is one of the most talked about issues in the tech industry. As are the benefits – and unrealized opportunities – that will come from closing the gap. Indeed, report after report has shown that businesses founded by women outperform their male-founded counterparts, growing faster and ultimately delivering higher revenue.

Nonetheless, a staggering gender investment gap persists.

Only 2% of VC funding went to women in 2017. Since 2013, the average male entrepreneur has raised more than four times the funding than his female counterpart. And the numbers are even worse for women of color – a mere .0006% of VC funding has gone to black female founders since 2009. (more…)

Kofi Annan’s Path to Corporate Sustainability

Author: Lukas Herndl | UC Berkeley School of Law | LL.M. Candidate 2019 | Posted October 8th, 2018 | Download PDF.

Today, the idea of corporate sustainability is mainly associated with tech firms like Apple, Google and Salesforce, or with institutional investors like Blackrock or the Yale University endowment, which recently announced it would not invest in retailers that sell assault weapons. Far less focus has been on former Secretary-General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kofi Annan, who passed away on August 18. (more…)

The Fall of Shareholder Primacy and the Search for a Solution

Author: Micaela Cervantes | UC Berkeley School of Law | J.D. Candidate 2020 | Posted October 3rd, 2018 | Download PDF.

The perception of a corporation’s role in society shifted after Milton Friedman established his shareholder primacy theory in 1970.[1] Friedman wrote that the corporation’s primary purpose is to maximize shareholder profits.[2] Although, Friedman’s theory prevailed for many years, it has recently received criticism from both lawyers and politicians.[3] Opponents of Friedman’s theory voice concern that shareholder primacy is not sustainable and has negative effects on the stakeholders and on the community.[4] In lieu of shareholder primacy, critics emphasize the need for stakeholder theory. Stakeholder theory states that “managing for stakeholders is about creating as much value as possible for stakeholders, without resorting to tradeoffs.”[5] Critics agree that shareholder primacy theory has lasting negative effects on society and that stakeholder theory is more sustainable. However, they disagree about the appropriate way to implement change through stakeholder theory. Some suggest a legislative solution and others suggest a private solution.   (more…)