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Social Responsibility, Ecology, and Sustainability

Guide to sources on corporate social responsibility and the "green" activities of companies

Getting Started

  1. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre: Tracking the Positive and Negative Impacts of over 4000 Companies Worldwide

    "The website links to a wide range of materials published by: NGOs; companies & business organisations; UN, ILO & other intergovernmental organisations; governments & courts; policy experts & academics; social investment analysts; journalists; etc. The site contains materials in English, Spanish and French, and a few in Portuguese and German."

  2. Citizens for Tax Justice (federal taxes) and  Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (state & local taxes)

    These related non-profits have been around since 1979 &1980.  Their data and reports are often used in political discussions on both sides. Their missions are CTJ: to be a "public interest research and [an] advocacy organization focusing on federal, state and local tax policies and their impact upon our nation. CTJ’s mission is to give ordinary people a greater voice in the development of tax laws." and ITEP: "to ensure that elected officials, the media, and the general public have access to accurate, timely, and straightforward information that allows them to understand the effects of current and proposed tax policies. ITEP's work focuses particularly on issues of tax fairness and sustainability." These are useful for sustainability and ecology issues because these initiatives often receive tax breaks to encourage participation. Both organizations are strong believers in their missions.
  3. Corporate Watch

    An electronic magazine that is activist in nature. It is the organization of the articles in categories of information that are useful for company based projects that make this site worth mentioning. Also a great source for negative opinions of the companies included. Be sure to look at the various industry guides, the How Do I Use the CorpWatch Research Guide?, the Hands-On Corporate Research Guide, and the Links page. Keep the biases of this site in mind when evaluating the information.
  4. DowJones Sustainability Indexes

    "Launched in 1999, the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes are the first global indexes tracking the financial performance of the leading sustainability-driven companies worldwide. Based on the cooperation of Dow Jones Indexes and RobecoSAM, a sustainability investment boutique, they provide asset managers with reliable and objective benchmarks to manage sustainability portfolios."  To see how the world, regions, and Major markets are doing, use the DJSI  (all geographic regions together & separately)
  5. EPA ECHO and the historical  EPA Industry Profiles 

    EPA ECHO database: "Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) is a Web-based tool that provides public access to compliance and enforcement information for approximately 800,000 EPA-regulated facilities. Anyone with access to the Internet can use ECHO.

    ECHO allows users to find permit, inspection, violation, enforcement action, and penalty information covering the past three years. The site includes facilities regulated as Clean Air Act stationary sources, Clean Water Act direct dischargers, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act hazardous waste generators/handlers. The data in ECHO are updated monthly." To have industry analysis similar to what was done in the old notebooks search by using SIC and NAICS codes.

    EPA Industry Profiles are historical & no longer updated. "The EPA's Office of Compliance has developed a series of profiles or notebooks containing information on selected major industries. These notebooks, which focus on key indicators that holistically present air, water, and land pollutant release data, have been thoroughly reviewed by experts from both inside and outside the EPA." These are very detailed and take time to review. "Each Notebook brings you comprehensive, well-researched details gathered for the first time in a single source and includ[ing] a comprehensive environmental profile, industrial process information, pollution prevention techniques, pollutant release data, regulatory requirements, compliance/enforcement history, government and industry partnerships, innovative programs, contact names, bibliographic references, and description of research methodology".
  6. Environment & Climate Change Canada

    Roughly equivalent to the US EPA in its mission to protect the environment in Canada. They maintain a special page for Sustainable Development.
  7. Ethical Consumer

    This interesting British site mostly refrains from excessive rhetoric on ethical issues. It is a good site to check your company name against their list of companies included in articles and research. The list includes many US companies. The Links page is also very well organized by ethical issue and includes links to many international organizations.
  8. Good Jobs First

    "Good Jobs First is a national policy resource center for grassroots groups and public officials, promoting corporate and government accountability in economic development and smart growth for working families. We provide timely, accurate information on best practices in state and local job subsidies, and on the many ties between smart growth and good jobs."  The have added an interesting page: Subsidy Tracker, the database which posts the tax breaks and other subsidies given to corporations by states and local governments for economic development. This data is used in their Corporate Subsidy Watch reports. The subsidy pages will take you to the data and reports of the CTJ and ITEP groups listed above.

    "GreenBiz Group provides clear, concise, accurate, and balanced information, resources, and learning opportunities to help companies of all sizes and sectors integrate environmental responsibility into their operations in a manner that supports profitable business practices." One useful section is the Energy, Clean Technology (Cleantech), and Climate Change page which has topic areas explaining what climate management is, why it is important, and some things that are being done.
  10. Social Accountability International 

    The Social Accountability International organization is focused primarily on workplace conditions throughout the supply chain. They have developed standards for the ethical workplace. 

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