Categories for Corporate Responsibility

Dominican Sr. Patricia Daly, advocate for socially responsible investing, dies at 66

January 9, 2023

Sr. Patricia Daly, a Dominican Sister of Caldwell, New Jersey, for 47 years and a pioneer of corporate responsibility and socially responsible investing, died Dec. 9, 2022. She was 66 years old.

In her decades of advocacy, she worked to hold corporations responsible for environmental degradation, human rights abuses and myriad other issues. Colleagues and friends describe her as fearless and tireless in her efforts, becoming a force in socially responsible investing and waging campaigns through shareholder resolutions, appearances at company annual meetings, and dialogues with corporate chieftains to hold them accountable for their companies’ actions.

“She was an incredible bridge-builder, and she held the respect of many CEOs,” said Sr. Patricia Siemen, North American coordinator for the Dominican Sisters International Confederation and former prioress of the Adrian Dominicans. “She never entered with an attitude of disrespect or trying to prove them wrong. The resolutions were crafted toward solutions, not diatribes. Even though they knew they would be called on the carpet by Pat, they were grateful it was her, and she raised a lot of consciousness among CEOs. She never had a vendetta against them. She just called them into accountability for their corporations.”

Daly’s “decades of work to hold companies accountable for their impacts on people and creation is the stuff of legends,” the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility said in a Dec. 10 statement. Daly and Capuchin Fr. Michael Crosby received the center’s 2017 Legacy Award, which honors those “whose work has provided a strong moral foundation and an enduring record of demonstrated influence on corporate policies,” according to the organization.

The center’s statement quoted Tom Fanning, president and CEO of utility company Southern Company, who called Daly “a dear friend and a powerful partner in helping shape sound policy for the environment. Her intellect, her sharp wit, and caring demeanor served to quickly create an encouraging, common concern for the health of the earth for all her constituents.”

Bill Ford, executive chair of Ford Motor Company, said Daly “was committed to making the world a better place, and she did just that.”

“Sister Pat’s pioneering work in environmental and social responsibility continues to inspire me,” Ford said in a Dec. 13 statement sent to Global Sisters Report. “She was dedicated to keeping the well-being of our planet and the best interests of people at the forefront of issues that American companies and citizens are working to resolve. She was always positive but insistent upon progress and became a friend and advisor to me.”

Read the full story by Gail DeGeorge on Global Sisters Report

Local Organization Promotes Shopping To End Human Trafficking This Holiday Season

November 27, 2022

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Ahead of Black Friday and the holiday shopping season, the Collaborative to End Human Trafficking is reminding customers to choose their products and retailers carefully to avoid contributing to the forced labor trade.

The United Nations, this year, estimated 28 million people around the world, including children, are in forced labor – often called modern slavery – and the number keeps rising. Coffee, cocoa, tobacco, cotton and garments are some of the most common goods produced by child labor, specifically.

Most forced labor traces to Asia and the Pacific, but the UN estimates there are more than 3.5 million cases in the Americas.

Because there is no central reporting system in the U.S., there’s no way to track how many individuals in Cuyahoga County or even Ohio are trafficked each year, according to Kirsti Mouncey, president and CEO of the Collaborative to End Human Trafficking. The organization unites more than 70 agencies to prevent sex and labor trafficking in Cuyahoga County.

But Ohio is among the top states with the highest call volume for help to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, she said.

Read the full article by Kaitlin Durban on

Bumblebee Tuna Not as Wholesome as Company Claims

September 14, 2022

Major US seafood brand Bumble Bee is suspected of having environmentally harmful illegal fishing and human rights abuse in its supply chain, according to a new investigative report by Greenpeace East Asia. The American brand, owned by Taiwanese tuna traders FCF, has long worked to establish its reputation as “champions for sustainable fishing and dedicated advocates for fishers.” However, the “Fake My Catch – the unreliable traceability in our tuna cans” report uncovers information that shows that by sourcing seafood from vessels that are suspected of labor and human rights abuses, the company is failing to deliver on its promises to American consumers.

Washington, DC (August 30, 2022)Major US seafood brand Bumble Bee is suspected of having environmentally harmful illegal fishing and human rights abuse in its supply chain, according to a new investigative report by Greenpeace East Asia.

The American brand, owned by Taiwanese tuna traders FCF, has long worked to establish its reputation as “champions for sustainable fishing and dedicated advocates for fishers.” However, the “Fake My Catch – the unreliable traceability in our tuna cans” report uncovers information that shows that by sourcing seafood from vessels that are suspected of labor and human rights abuses, the company is failing to deliver on its promises to American consumers.

Mallika Talwar, a Senior Oceans Campaigner at Greenpeace USA, said: “We are not surprised at the high level of disparity between what Bumble Bee tells US consumers and what was uncovered in this investigation. Bumble Bee claims to be for people and the planet, but what we see in this report is a company skirting its responsibilities in order to make a profit. Instead of disclosing a list of all their supply vessels, they have used smokescreens such as the Trace My Catch program to fake transparency while leaving it up to consumers to dig up information on an incredibly complex and opaque supply chain. Even then, as this report shows, there is no guarantee the information Bumble Bee shares is correct. That is not what real transparency looks like.”

The “Fake My Catch – the unreliable traceability in our tuna cans” report finds that over 10% (13) of the 119 Taiwanese-flagged/owned vessels identified in the sampling that supplied Bumble Bee had violated Taiwanese fishery regulations and were on the Taiwan Fisheries Agency’s (TFA) illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) list. Further, indicators of forced labor were identified in the reports of fishers that worked aboard six of the vessels that supplied Bumble Bee and FCF.[1] Catch from Taiwanese-owned vessel Da Wang, whose crew were indicted for their involvement in forced labor and human trafficking, has been used to supply Bumble Bee – raising concerns that seafood tainted with forced labor has already been sold in the US market. Additionally, one migrant fisher died whilst working on Da Wang after an accident occurred – reportedly causing the other workers to quit due to the excessive physical abuse they endured. A Bumble Bee product sourced from this fishing vessel was found to be available for sale at a Harris Teeter (a wholly owned subsidiary of Kroger Co.) in Arlington, Virginia.

Read the full story on Green Peace

New York City Should Send a Message to Wendy’s, Which Refuses to Protect Its Farmworkers

September 25, 2021

When the country’s largest fast food companies were pressured to step up to combat sexual violence, forced labor, and other human rights abuses in their supply chain, they all eventually agreed — except one.

After years of pressure, Wendy’s still refuses to follow its peers and join the Fair Food Program to protect farmworkers and uphold their human rights. But the movement to get Wendy’s to take this basic step is gaining momentum. It’s time for the New York City Council to pass a resolution introduced over a year ago calling on Wendy’s to join the program as a necessary support for farmworkers’ lives.

The City Council resolution is part of a campaign that has included years of organizing and work by people across New York and around the country — farmworkers, consumers, activists, students, religious leaders — standing against the power imbalance between major corporations and farmworkers and the abuses that can result. The campaign has included a consumer boycott, and protests including a five-day hunger strike and march in Manhattan.

Even investors are getting on board: in April, a group representing $1 trillion in assets under management, including the Office of the New York City Comptroller, released a letter amplifying the campaign’s demands and drawing attention to the widely-publicized failures to protect worker safety throughout Wendy’s supply chain. Convened by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, these investors emphasized the dire conditions farmworkers have faced nationwide during the global pandemic, and the Fair Food Program’s unique binding and enforceable COVID-19 safety protocols on farms within the Program, directly challenging the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on Brown and Black essential workers.

Activists and investors alike can see that the conditions faced by agricultural workers do not reflect our values. Many workers face poverty, sexual harassment, and forced labor. Around the time the resolution was introduced to the City Council, the Council’s Women’s Caucus outlined its support, calling particular attention to the ways that farmworkers face gender-based violence. Caucus members described how sexual violence “has been a scourge in U.S. agriculture for decades with a staggering 80 percent of women farmworkers reporting having experienced sexual harassment and assault on the job.”

Both the investors’ and the Women’s Caucus letters are addressed to Nelson Peltz, who is both the Wendy’s Board Chairman and Chairman of Trian Partners, a hedge fund that is Wendy’s largest institutional shareholder and is based in New York City. A resolution from the City Council is essential in order to send a strong, united message to the corporate entity that holds the key to enacting this necessary change.

Read the full story by Ruth Messinger on Gotham Gazette.

Marriott International Launches Enhanced Human Trafficking Awareness Training

August 26, 2021

BETHESDA, Md., July 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Marriott International today announced that on July 30th, World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, the company will launch an updated version of its human trafficking awareness training – the next step in Marriott’s goal to train all of its on-property associates to recognize and respond to potential indicators of human trafficking at hotels by 2025.

The world has changed significantly in the five years since the company launched the initial training. COVID-19 has ushered in more contactless and mobile hotel experiences, which can make it more difficult to spot potential indicators of trafficking. The new training builds upon the original training’s foundation by featuring scenario-based modules, a mobile-friendly design, and increased guidance on how to respond to potential situations of human trafficking – critical enhancements based on hotel-level feedback to help associates turn awareness into action and continue the fight against the multinational crime. Additionally, the new training was developed in collaboration with survivors of human trafficking, ensuring the training is victim-centered and the resources are survivor-informed.

“As an industry that cares deeply about human rights and the horrible crime of human trafficking, we have a real responsibility to address this issue in a meaningful way,” said Anthony Capuano, Chief Executive Officer of Marriott International. “The updated training empowers a global workforce that stands ready to recognize and respond to human trafficking and allows our company to live up to our core values.”

Through a collaboration with ECPAT-USA and with input from Polaris, two leading non-profits that specialize in combatting human trafficking, Marriott launched its original human trafficking awareness training in 2016 and made it mandatory for all on-property staff in both managed and franchised properties globally in January 2017. So far, the training has been delivered to more than 850,000 associates, which has helped identify instances of human trafficking, protect associates and guests, and support victims and survivors.

As the company did with its original training, Marriott plans to donate this training and work with ECPAT-USA and the American Hotel and Lodging Association Foundation to make it widely available in early 2022 to help educate the entire hospitality industry.

Read the full press release on Marriott International News Center.

What The Travel Industry Is Doing To Prevent Human Trafficking — And How You Can Help

June 15, 2021

Human trafficking may not be something you think about happening next door in your luxury hotel or on a popular commercial airline.

Although human trafficking — defined as the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain commercial sex acts or labor — can take place anywhere, ECPAT International (a global network of organizations that works to end the trafficking of children) says the travel industry is on the front lines.

The International Labour Association estimated there were 24.9 million people in forced labor and 15.4 million in forced marriage in 2016 around the globe. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) released data that revealed that hotels and motels were the fourth-most common locations for sex trafficking in 2019.

Forty travel organizations have currently agreed to a code of conduct designed to protect children from sexual exploitation in the travel and tourism industries. Members have to agree to implement six steps, including training employees, providing information to travelers and annually reporting their efforts.

The federal government passed legislation in 2016 that mandated United States-based airlines train flight attendants to spot suspected instances of human trafficking, and legislation was brought to Congress in 2018 that would require hotels and airlines to teach employees how to recognize signs of trafficking to be eligible to win government contracts.

Fortunately, some travel companies aren’t waiting for the government to step up. Here are a few ways seven top brands are working to stop human trafficking — and how you can get involved, too.

Read the full story by Jordi Lippe-McGraw on The Points Guy.

Victim Of Facebook-Facilitated Child Exploitation To Speak At Facebook Annual Meeting

June 3, 2021
Survivor Comments to Support Resolution Backed by 43% of Non-Management Shares in 2020; Chief Concerns:  Lack of Action to Curb Child Abuse and Exploitation Fueled by Facebook, the “Online Hub” of Child Predators
NEW YORK – May 24, 2021 – When Facebook management and shareholders consider proxy resolutions at the online giant’s annual meeting on Wednesday (March 26, 2021), they will hear from Sarah Cooper, who was approached as a teenager through Facebook Messenger, met a predator in Boston and New York City, and was sold into sex slavery.
Ms. Cooper will be speaking in favor of Proposal 6 at the Facebook annual meeting, which calls on Facebook to conduct a study of its central role in online child abuse and  “assessing the risk of increased sexual exploitation of children as the Company develops and offers additional privacy tools such as end-to-end encryption.”  The resolution was filed by Proxy Impact, Lisette Cooper, the Maryknoll Sisters, the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell, NJ, and the Stardust Fund.
In 2020, the same resolution attracted the support of 43 percent of non-management shares of the company that is tightly controlled by Mark Zuckerberg.
How bad is the child abuse and exploitation problem at Facebook? And how much worse could it get?
  • Reports of child sexual exploitation in 2020 rose 28 percent from 2019 levels.  Last year, there were a total of 21.7 million reports, involving more than 65.4 million images, videos and other files containing suspected child sexual abuse materials (CSAM).  Facebook is the United States’ #1 hub of reported child sexual abuse material, accounting for an estimated 94 percent of the total.
In her statement to Facebook shareholders, Sarah Cooper, a survivor of child sexual abuse on Facebook, plans to say this: “As a teenager social media was my outlet. I used Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger. At one point I accepted a friend request from a stranger on Facebook. We communicated mostly through Messenger. At first he was nice and friendly trying to learn more about me and my interests. I was so young and I was flattered by his seemingly undivided attention. He actively discouraged me from communicating with anyone besides him.  At the time I did not recognize this as grooming behavior. I willingly exchanged sexually explicit photos with him at his request, because at the time, being accepted by him, by someone,  was important to me. At some point our relationship advanced to talking on the phone and eventually meeting in person.”  
Cooper continued: “I met him in Boston and eventually went with him to NY where I was trapped in a motel room that was guarded by armed men. I was sold into sex slavery. When I asked where all the money was going or begged to leave, they gave me alcohol and drugs. I was in a daze but eventually was able to communicate with a friend back in MA who rescued me. I share this in hopes that my story doesn’t become one that you hear from a friend, sister, or mother because no child deserves to be victimized.”
Lisette Cooper, vice-chair, Fiduciary Trust International, former CEO, Athena Capital Advisors, and the mother of Sarah Cooper, said:“My family has lived through tragedy that no child and no family should have to suffer. The fact that Facebook is facilitating these abuses is bad enough, but to go even farther and make things worse through end-to-end encryption is just totally unacceptable.  As parents, this issue of child sexual abuse online, resonates for many of us and we feel it’s time to raise our voices for change, to make the world a safer place for children, while also making the companies we invest in stronger for the future.  Facebook has a responsibility to ensure the safety of the environment that our kids are hanging out in on their social media platforms — ensuring that it’s a safe neighborhood.” 
Michael Passoff, founder and CEO, Proxy Impact, a shareholder advocacy and proxy voting service, said:  “Shareholders are legitimately concerned that Facebook’s role as a facilitator of child abuse and exploitation will spiral even further out of control if it adopts end-to-end encryption without first stopping predators who prey on children.  Not only is it the right thing to do, but it is in the best interests of the company which may otherwise face legislative, regulatory, legal, advertising and consumer backlashes.” 
Proxy Impact provides shareholder engagement and proxy voting services that promote sustainable and responsible business practices.
Alex Frank, (703) 276-3264 or

Fighting Human Trafficking In Maine With Coffee

May 30, 2021

MAINE, Maine — Federal authorities say Maine is considered a “source” state for human traffickers from Boston and New York, who prey on women and children struggling with poverty, family turmoil, sexual abuse, or drug addiction.

An estimated 200 to 300 people are trafficked for sex every year, according to a study commissioned for the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

A Windham man hopes to empower consumers to help fight human trafficking in our state by tapping into the country’s multi-billion-dollar ground coffee market.

As a father of two, Anthony McKeown will never forget how he felt when he saw images of child victims of human trafficking.

“It just gnawed at me, it just gnawed at me,” McKeown said.

According to the U.S. State Department, more than half of criminal human trafficking involves children and a very very small percentage of these children are rescued.

Read the full story by Vivien Leigh on News Center Maine.

Why Do We Let Corporations Profit From Rape Videos?

April 29, 2021

This article contains descriptions of sexual assaults.

This isn’t about pornography, but about rape and sexual abuse.

“I’ve no problem with consensual adults making porn,” says a Canadian student. “Who cares?”

The problem is that many people in pornographic videos weren’t consenting adults. Like her.

Just after she turned 14, a man enticed her to engage in sexual play over Skype. He secretly recorded her. A clip, along with her full name, ended up on XVideos, the world’s most-visited pornography site. Google searches helped direct people to this illegal footage of child sexual abuse.

In a video above this column, she recounts how she begged XVideos to remove the clip. Instead, she says, the website hosted two more copies, so hundreds of thousands of people could leer at this most mortifying moment of her life, preserved forever as if in amber.

That happens all over the world: Women and girls, and men and boys, are sexually assaulted or secretly filmed, and then video is posted on a major website like XVideos that draws traffic through search engines. While the initial video assault may be brief, the attack on dignity becomes interminable.

“The shame I felt was overwhelming,” the Canadian student says.

I wrote in December about Pornhub, a Montreal-based website that pioneered access to free porn uploaded by anyone — so-called tube sites that are like YouTube for nudity and sex. Since that article, credit card companies have stopped working with Pornhub, the site has removed more than nine million videos, and the Canadian and United States governments have been cracking down on the company’s practices.

But as I noted at the time, the exploitation is rooted not in a single company but in an industry that operates with impunity, and punishing one corporation may simply benefit its rivals. That’s happening here. When Pornhub deleted videos, millions of outraged customers fled to its nemesis, XVideos, which has even fewer scruples.

Pierre Woodman, a veteran European pornographer, told me that while I may have damaged Pornhub financially, for XVideos “you are Santa Claus.”

That’s not a comfortable feeling, and it’s why we need to work to rein in an entire rogue industry — and for now, the behemoth is XVideos, bolstered by Google and other search engines.

“We are the biggest adult tube in the industry, with an average of two billion daily impressions worldwide,” boasts XVideos, which SimilarWeb ranks as the seventh-most-visited website in the world. Two slots behind is a sister website with almost exactly the same content, Each gets more visitors than Yahoo, Amazon or Netflix.

XVideos and XNXX appear to be owned by mysterious French twins and based in a nondescript office building in Prague not far from Wenceslas Square. This building is the hub of a porn empire that gets six billion impressions a day and inflicts anguish all around the world — which raises a question:

Why do we let companies get away with this?

Read the full story by Nicholas Kristof on The New York Times.

Airport’s New Human Trafficking Detection Program

March 28, 2021
Every year traffickers use trains, buses, planes and ships to transport thousands of victims, hiding them in plain sight while traveling to destinations around the world. As the eyes and ears in airports and global transportation systems, airport employees are uniquely positioned to help combat the issue of human trafficking.
January was National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and in recognition of that, the Sacramento County Department of Airports (SCDA) partnered with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop a new Human Trafficking Awareness and Reporting training program.
Together with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Transportation, the Blue Campaign, a division within the DHS Office of Partnership and Engagement, created the Blue Lightning Initiative (BLI).
The BLI program is designed to provide airport employees with the tools needed to take advantage of their unique position and ability to identify potential human trafficking victims and notify federal authorities.
In 2018, then California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2034. This bill requires transit agencies like bus and light rail stations to provide human trafficking training to employees who may interact with traffickers and/or their victims.
Although the bill does not apply to airport agencies, SCDA has decided to move forward and join this partnership to provide training to all of its employees.
Read the full story by Samantha Mott on Saccounty News.