Blog / Resources

Hershey’s Chocolate Becomes a Little Greener

By Michael Schweibinz

The Hershey Company has committed to source 100% certified cocoa by 2020. First Affirmative applauds this world famous chocolate producer for exceeding their first year goal. The company’s 21st Century Cocoa Sustainability Strategy called for 10% certification by 2013; but actual results were significantly better, with 18% of Hershey cocoa certified sustainable last year.… Read More

Lobbying Disclosure a Hot Topic in 2014

By Holly Testa, Director, Shareowner Engagement

Institutional investors are once again requesting that companies disclose federal and state lobbying activity, including activities conducted through third parties such as trade organizations.

The campaign, organized by AFSCME and Walden Asset Management, has rapidly gained momentum over the past four years.… Read More

McDonald’s Beefs Up Its Sustainability Commitments

By: Michael Schweibinz

In a world where consumers and businesses alike are realizing the impending need for sustainability, it may be easy to think that some industries—like “fast food” (burgers, fries, etc.)—are not making significant strides to change their business practices.… Read More

Oil and Gas Producers Agree to Reduce Flaring

By Holly Testa, Director, Shareowner Engagement

Oil and gas producers in North Dakota have announced their commitment to reduce flaring in the Bakken field, thanks in part to an extensive campaign organized by Ceres that mobilized their institutional investor members, including First Affirmative, to demand action from companies to clean up their act.… Read More

Where Have All the Jobs Gone?

By Mel Miller, Chief Economist

In a recent blog I discussed the growing problem of student loan debt and the fact that recent college graduates’ unemployment rate is double the national average. As the economy continues its slow recovery from the Great Recession one must ask “Where are the jobs?”

Also bearing discovery is whether college graduates have received the skills required by employers.… Read More

Foundations Increase Impact Through Mission-Aligned Investing

By Betsy M. Markus and Michael Schweibinz

In recent months, organizations like the Association of Small Foundations, Mission Investors Exchange, and The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investing (US SIF), have published guides to assist foundations with aligning their investment portfolios with their missions.… Read More

Consumer Debt: Must Look Behind the Numbers

By Mel Miller, Chief Economist

For a couple of years prior to the Great Recession, I shared my debt concerns during my annual Economic and Market Update presentation at the annual SRI Conference. My concern stemmed from the rising use of consumer debt to fuel a national lifestyle of “living beyond one’s means.”

Much of the economic debate of the time focused on the increasing Federal debt, but my concern centered on the consumer.… Read More

Climate Change Changing Business

By: Michael Schweibinz

Companies with operations in every corner of the world are beginning to embrace and account for climate change. Having endured the devastating effects of changing weather patterns for several years, Coca-Cola and Nike are two multinational corporations that have come to appreciate the impact of climate change on operations.… Read More

Major Banks Discontinue “Predatory” Loan Products

By Holly Testa, Director, Shareowner Engagement

Last April in this leadership blog, we discussed concerns surrounding the development of high interest, high fee loan products by several major banks as they made their entry into the lucrative payday lending market.… Read More

Carbon: A Price Worth Fixing

By Michael Schweibinz

A new white paper by CDP North America reports that numerous U.S.-based companies have begun to integrate an “internal carbon price” as a new measure and driver of long-term business strategy. Whether for competitive advantage, risk management, or to identify new revenue possibilities, companies like Walmart, Walt Disney, and Microsoft have gone public with information about establishing a price for carbon for planning purposes.… Read More