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Rethinking Bretton Woods | Mon, Aug 8, 2016

Are you invested in palm oil exploitation?

Palm oil’s rise in the last two decades has relied to a great degree on externalizing the real costs of production. Millions of hectares of rainforests and peatlands have been destroyed for plantations in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa. Multitudes of indigenous peoples, smallholder farmers and others had their customary lands and livelihoods subsumed into the palm oil plantation sector.

Who finances such exploitation and what can be done to stop it? A blog appeared on RightingFinance.org, highlights findings from a Friends of Earth's report that financing for palm oil production comes from a wide spectrum of global commercial banks and a broad swatch of equity investors from Asia, Europe, and the U.S., and the report's recommended approach based on four pillars of responsibility for investors. (Photo credit: Jason Taylor/FoE International).

What should companies be letting you know about their operations?

Rethinking Bretton Woods | Sun, Jul 31, 2016

What should companies be letting you know about their operations?

In the quest to make investors accountable for the environmental and human rights impacts of their activities, regulations on corporate disclosure can be a powerful tool. Responding to a call for comments by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Center of Concern and other organizations pointed to indications of growing shareholder interest in data on sustainability, and make the case for re-interpreting the concept of “materiality” that conditions which information companies should report.  “Society’s expectations of companies’ social and environmental responsibilities have changed over the four decades since the SEC first considered requiring better disclosure of environmental and social facts, as has the composition of the investing public,” the organizations said.

What should companies be letting you know about their operations?

Rethinking Bretton Woods | Sun, Jul 31, 2016

What should companies be letting you know about their operations?

In the quest to make investors accountable for the environmental and human rights impacts of their activities, regulations on corporate disclosure can be a powerful tool. Responding to a call for comments by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Center of Concern and other organizations pointed to indications of growing shareholder interest in data on sustainability, and make the case for re-interpreting the concept of “materiality” that conditions which information companies should report.  “Society’s expectations of companies’ social and environmental responsibilities have changed over the four decades since the SEC first considered requiring better disclosure of environmental and social facts, as has the composition of the investing public,” the organizations said.

What should companies be letting you know about their operations?

Rethinking Bretton Woods | Sun, Jul 31, 2016

What should companies be letting you know about their operations?

In the quest to make investors accountable for the environmental and human rights impacts of their activities, regulations on corporate disclosure can be a powerful tool. Responding to a call for comments by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Center of Concern and other organizations pointed to indications of growing shareholder interest in data on sustainability, and make the case for re-interpreting the concept of “materiality” that conditions which information companies should report.  “Society’s expectations of companies’ social and environmental responsibilities have changed over the four decades since the SEC first considered requiring better disclosure of environmental and social facts, as has the composition of the investing public,” the organizations said.

Rethinking Bretton Woods | Sun, Jul 24, 2016

CoC delivers civil society statement at closing session of UNCTAD 14

At the closing ceremony of UNCTAD 14th in Nairobi (Kenya), attended by the President of the host country, Center of Concern staff Aldo Caliari delivered the concluding statement on behalf of the civil society organizations attending the conference. Click here to watch video of the intervention (Intervention begins at 10:55).

Click here to read an analysis of the Outcome.

Rethinking Bretton Woods | Sun, Jul 10, 2016

Center of Concern at conferences on trade and finance, debt

On July 17-22, 2016, RBW Project Director Aldo Caliari will be in Nairobi (Kenya), attending the Fourteenth Session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XIV). At the conference, held every four years, the membership of the organization decides on its work program for the period until the next conference. Being the first such quadrennial gathering after the global commitments on Sustainable Development Goals of last year, the role of UNCTAD in helping countries, especially developing ones, implement the goals will feature prominently on its agenda.

On the preceding days, also in Nairobi, he will be attending a global assembly of organizations working on debt and development (July 13-14) and the UNCTAD Civil Society Forum, which starts on the 15th – although it then continues to run alongside the rest of the UNCTAD XIV Conference.

See civil society demands for UNCTAD XIV Outcome.

Read civil society statement delivered at UNCTAD 14 closing ceremony by CoC staff Aldo Caliari.

Infrastructure finance and sustainable development: Worlds apart?

Rethinking Bretton Woods | Tue, Jun 28, 2016

Infrastructure finance and sustainable development: Worlds apart?

In a recent article RBW Project Director Aldo Caliari reviews a recent study commissioned by the Heinrich Boell Foundation to assess whether the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's advice to the Group of 20 on infrastructure finance is coherent with sustainable development goals and commitments.

“With estimates placing the investment requirements in the trillions, the availability and form of investment commitments to meet the SDGs will significantly shape the chances of success while having also a significant impact on human rights,” he says.

Read full article

 

Investment treaties and land-related human rights struggles

Rethinking Bretton Woods | Fri, Jun 10, 2016

Investment treaties and land-related human rights struggles

The commodity price hikes of 2007-2008 and the ensuing wave of transnational land deals for agribusiness investments in low- and middle-income countries placed land rights at the center of international development discourses.

A recent blog appeared on RightingFinance examines how the economic sources of pressure on land rights are evolving and where they are likely to come from in the near future.

Read full article.

Rethinking Bretton Woods | Mon, May 9, 2016

Applying human rights to tax policy-making and assessment

Last April, the “Panama papers” — more than 11 million documents leaked from a secretive law firm in Panama – exposed the tax evasion and avoidance maneuvers of companies and high net worth individuals. Some experts say that what the leak exposed represents just the tip of the iceberg. But the human rights impacts that come as a result of depriving States of public revenue are the even bigger iceberg and deserve urgent attention.

The first two in a series of advocacy tools by the RightingFinance Initiative offer guidance on how human rights obligations are relevant to the process of designing and evaluating tax policy.

The publications, “Equality and Non-discrimination in Tax Policy” and “Maximum Available Resources, Non-retrogression and Minimum Essential Levels in Tax Policy,” lay out legal foundations for the human rights principles featured in their titles, applications to tax policy, and guiding questions for reflection.

Click here to read a blog on these publications.

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