C4CR Update

Volume 1, Issue 1, August 1, 2005

Introducing Our First Newsletter

We would like to extend warm greetings to all who endorse C4CR's mission to expand the legal purpose of corporations to include responsibility to employees, community and the environment. We have met you individually in private conversation, publicly at our tables at events and conferences, dialoguing around the film, "The Corporation," and through our website, and we hope to continue our dialogue through the pages of this newsletter.
As you are well aware, legislation is needed because it makes no sense to chase endlessly after individual instances of corporate wrongdoing, when that wrongdoing is a natural result of our system’s design. Corporations abuse the public interest because the law tells them their only legal duty is to maximize profits for shareholders. Until we change the law of corporate governance, the problem of corporate abuse cannot be fully solved.
We seek to promote the public interest by making the major areas of public interest legally required considerations of directors in the corporate charter. According to a persuasive and growing body of evidence, directors considering all stakeholders in a corporation will not harm the ability of corporations to thrive, but instead will create jobs, increase long-term profitability as well as contribute to a healthier society.

As part of reporting on our progress, here is a summary C4CR’s activity to date:
In 2003 we signed on sixteen Minnesota legislators as authors of our bill and were successful in getting a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee of the Minnesota legislature during its last session.
The bill was discussed and then tabled for further consideration. It is now in the process of revision by our Advisory Board composed of legislators and prominent MN attorneys. We anticipate presenting this revised bill to the legislature in 2006.

You can be a part of this effort to stem corporate power at its source. You can:
1) Educate yourself further on how the power of large corporations can negatively affect our quality of life.
2) Raise public awareness: Share your personal stories with friends and with us—stories demonstrating how you or those you know have been personally affected by corporate behavior. (to share stories, write or call Anne Newhart (ahnewhart@aol.com or 612-859-7098.) Inform others that there is an alternative to current rapacious corporate behavior.
3) Seek support for C4CR’s mission by talking to other individuals and to organizations. Send them to our website, ask them to read up on the legislative process of our bill, get them involved in changing their own corporate connections.
4) Acquaint yourself with your legislators in the state house and senate. (www.leg.state.mn.us/leg/districtfinder.asp or senate-651-290-0504, 651-296-2887, house-651-296-2146, 1-800-657-3550) so that you will be able to ask them to support the revised bill when the time comes.
5) Offer your ideas, skills and monetary gifts as well as your stories. To those of you without a computer and are receiving a print version of this newsletter, we hope you will access our information and educational material online, through the good graces of a friend or your local library.

C4CR Website Serves as a Rallying Point

We continue to learn the impacts of our multipurpose website. Besides generating interest in Minnesota, we continually receive supportive responses from around the country. We have had inquiries from Ireland and India. Our website serves to keep everyone abreast of our next meetings and conferences. Our posted mission statement and articles have been assigned for analysis for several University Classes. A graduate student at Robert J. Milano School of Management and Urban Policy recently used our website to make C4CR the subject of semester long project.
Additionally we are posting the names of our individual, business and organizational endorsers to create what amounts to an online petition. People can endorse online. There are links to the full text of our bill as well as three other similar bills, one of which was introduced in the British Parliament.
This month two new articles by Robert Hinkley are available on our website. "Twenty-eight Words That Could Change the World" was published in the September issue of The Sun magazine. "Changing the Design of the Corporation" is Bob's response to the movie "The Corporation".
The list of Resources presented at the Living Green Expo by John Karvel has been posted. It includes links to the other bills introduced in MN for corporate reform in the last legislative session, a link to a provocative article by Wendell Berry on the necessity of local economies and a link to "A Call for Systematic Change" by Ray Anderson, CEO of Interface. Please send your comments and any suggestions for any improvements to our website to John Karvel, johnkarvel@c4cr.org.

New Principles for Corporate Law
By Kent Greenfield, Professor of Law, Boston College Law School
February 16,2005

The fundamental assumptions of corporate law have changed little in decades. Accepted as truth are the notions that corporations are voluntary, private, contractual entities; that they have broad powers to make money in whatever ways and in whatever locations they see fit; that the primary obligation of management is toward shareholders, and shareholders alone. Corporations have broad powers but only a limited role: they are entities that have as their primary objective the making of money. Not much else is expected or required of them. [READ MORE]

Holy Grail Found
Absolute, definitive proof that responsible companies perform better financially
By Marjorie Kelly

OK, yes, it's true that researchers don't speak this way: They'll never say "absolute, definitive proof" of anything has been found - not even that the sky is blue. Theirs is the language of positive correlations, statistical significance, and other somnolent phrases. I'm no statistician. I am instead someone who's observed the socially responsible investing (SRI) field for 17 years, and in that time I've seen countless theorists attempt to scale the Everest of SRI, reaching for the summit of certainty: Do socially responsible companies perform better financially? The answer has long been the statistical Holy Grail: eagerly sought, ever out of reach.

I'm here to announce the search is over. The evidence is in. And even the statisticians are saying it's conclusive. Social and environmental responsibility does go hand in hand with superior financial performance - that's the finding of two "meta-studies" in recent months. [READ MORE]

Exciting Volunteer Opportunities

We have created a Public Education and Outreach Committee. The purpose of this committee is to gain the support and endorsements of Minnesota Citizens for Corporate Responsibility. We believe that the more people know about corporate power and abuses, the sooner the inevitable and needed changes will take place. We are seeking seven or eight volunteers to work on a number of important projects, including developing newsletters, a speaker's bureau, a PowerPoint presentation, data input and more. This is public relations, advertising, marketing and good old relationship and coalition building.

Time commitment is variable, but on average, we are looking for two hours a week. Meeting frequency will be once a week for several weeks and then taper off as we begin to work on the projects in small groups. No previous experience is mandatory, but extremely helpful. If you believe that corporations are currently out of control and that they must be required to serve social purposes, contact Bernie Molitor at: bfmolitor@isd194.k12.mn.us.

We are changing the world.

C4CR Mission Statement

To transform the legal purpose of corporations to include responsibility to employees, communities and the environment.

Fundraising Efforts Update

Last year we received a grant from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet Partners in Justice Board. That money has been used for education and outreach.

C4CR envisions a world in which corporations work for a just, peaceful and sustainable global society. At the same time many foundations are hesitant to fund organizations that work for legal change- hence private support from individuals is key to the success of our mission.

We kindly invite you to help us get the word out, volunteer and by helping out with a contribution. We’d suggest a basic $2 or $3 per month in a one-time payment of $24 to $36. Even the smallest donation increases our ability to get support from foundations and other organizations.

We need your support to insure the success of these outreach and legislative efforts.

Donations can be mailed to:
Citizens for Corporate Responsibility, 2369 Doswell, St. Paul, MN 55108

Thank you in advance for your assistance!

Contact us at 651.645.2765 or info@c4cr.org