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Loyola University Chicago

Shareholder Advocacy Committee

Glossary

"CORPORATE GOVERNANCE is concerned with holding the balance between economic and social goals and between individual and communal goals. The corporate governance framework is there to encourage the efficient use of resources and equally to require accountability for the stewardship of those resources. The aim is to align as nearly as possible the interests of individuals, corporations and society" (Sir Adrian Cadbury in 'Global Corporate Governance Forum', World Bank, 2000)

ENVIROMENTAL JUSTICE- the fair treatment and involvement of all individuals and groups in environmental decision-making, regardless of race, ethnicity, or income.  In this text [“A Citizen’s Guide to Using Federal Environmental Laws to Secure Environmental Justice”], environmental justice issues include ensuring that agency decisions (such as issuing permits and making cleanup decisions) consider fully the impacts on environmentally burdened communities, which often already are home to many polluting facilities and activities.  Environmental justice issues include aggregate and cumulative health risks, and effects on sensitive populations.  Siting of new facilities is one example of an action that might involve environmental justice concerns, such as clustering of polluting facilities and cumulative impacts (A Citizen’s Guide to Using Federal Environmental Laws to Secure Environmental Justice, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, DC. ELI Project No. 981624. 2002)

EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION for executive employees (such as chief executive officers (CEOs), chief financial officers (CFOs), company presidents, and other upper level managers) is packaged "differently from those at lower levels of an organization." It "consists of base salary, bonuses, long-term incentives, benefits, and "perks." Total executive compensation has increased dramatically in recent years, which has led to concerns about pay equity and ethics. Because of the strong focus on external equity when determining executive compensation, internal equity is likely to be a concern. Additionally, as the gap between pay at lower and higher levels of the organization increasingly widens, many CEOs are perceived to be overcompensated. There are other ethical issues to be considered, such as the motivation of executives based on their bonuses, incentives, and stock option grants." (referenceforbusiness.com)

According to Ethics World, a non-for-profit website whose mission is "To disseminate information and strengthen understanding of the critical issues of institutional governance, business ethics and anti-corruption, by reporting on key developments and providing a forum for diverse opinions", a recent "Financial Times study uncovered huge executive pay gaps, SEC reviews executive pay reporting methods..." (Ethics World)

A GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISM (GMO), otherwise referred to as a living modified organism (LMO) or transgenic organism, means any living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology. (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Rome, 2001)

GLOBAL WARMING is an average increase in the temperature of the atmosphere near the Earth's surface and in the troposhere, which can contribute to changes in global climate patterns.  Global warming can occur from a variety of causes, both natural and human induced.  In common usage, "global warming" often refers to the warming that can occur as a result of increased emission of greenhouse gases from human activities. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

Lack of ACCESS to HEALTH CARE- whether to basic services or specific medicines - is commonplace worldwide.  While governments have an obligation to progressively realize the right to access health care, they must ensure that existing services are provided without discrimination, and that health care services respect a range of other right, including the right to physical integrity, autonomy, confidentiality and informed consent. (Human Rights Watch)

According to the American Medical Student Assocation, "At its root, the lack of health care for all in America is fundamentally a moral issue.  The United States is the only industrialized nationa that does not have some form of universal health care (defined as a basic guarantee of health care to all of its citizens).  While other countries have declared health care to be a basic right, the United States treats health care as a privilege, only available to those who can afford it.  In this sense, health care in America is treated as an economic good like a TV or VCR, not as a social or public good." (AMSA: The Case for Universal Health Care)

"Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection." (Article 25: Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III)

Labor-Related HUMAN RIGHTS. Business activity around the world has a profound effect on people’s lives and livelihoods, but international debates about business conduct frequently neglect to fully consider the many ways that businesses can advance or impede the enjoyment of human rights.

Existing corporate social responsibility initiatives, many of which have emerged in response to specific controversies, typically cover only a limited set of rights and apply selectively to individual companies or industries or particular country contexts, such as conflict areas. There are no widely agreed overarching standards for all businesses, but instead many different standards that address select human rights, select companies or industries, or select countries or situations. The result is a messy and inconsistent patchwork of voluntary pledges that have limited application, generally do not fully align with international human rights norms, and in any case are frequently disregarded in practice.

A common global approach is needed to consistently protect human rights in the face of business-related abuses and promote conduct by companies that respects and advances human rights. (Human Rights Watch)

MICROFINANCE services are financial services that poor people desire and are willing to pay for. The term also refers to the practice of sustainably delivering those services. More broadly, it refers to a movement that envisions "a world in which as many poor and near-poor households as possible have permanent access to an appropriate range of high quality financial services, including not jsut credit but also savings, insurance, and fund transfers." (Wikipedia

PANDEMIC  is an infectious disease affecting the majority of the population of a large region... A pandemic can also be defined as an infectious disease that is an epidemic at the same time in many parts of the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a pandemic can start when three conditions have been met: the emergence of a disease new to the population; the agent infects humans, causing serious illness; the agent spreads easily and sustainably among humans.

A disease or condition is not a pandemic merely because it is widespread or kills many people; it must also be infectious. For example cancer is responsible for many deaths but is not considered a pandemic because the disease is not infectious or contagious (although certain causes of some types of cancer might be).”  emedtv.com 

PREDATORY LENDING refers to secured loans such as home or car loans which are made by the lender with the intention that the borrower can't really pay them which would allow the lender to sieze the car or home and sell it for a profit. The word has been expanded to refer to the practice of convincing borrowers to agree to unfair and abusive loan terms. This could be done either through outright deception or through aggressive sales tactics, taking advantage of borrowers' lack of understanding of extremely complicated transactions. Predatory loans, for instance, for the purchase of a home, could lead to foreclosure. (investordictionary.com)

SUSTAINABILITY is a characteristic of a process or state that can be maintained at a certain level indefinitely. The term, in its environmental usage, refers to the potential longevity of vital human ecological support systems, such as the planet's climatic system, systems of agriculture, industry, forestry, and fisheries, and human communities in general and the various systems on which they depend in balance with the impacts of our unsustainable or sustainable design.

In recent years an academic and public discourse has led to this use of the word sustainability in reference to how long human ecological systems can be expected to be usefully productive. In the past, complex human societies have died out, sometimes as a result of their own growth-associated impacts on ecological support systems. The implication is that modern industrial society, which continues to grow in scale and complexity, will also collapse.

The implied preference would be for systems to be productive indefinitely, or be "sustainable." For example, "sustainable agriculture" would develop agricultural systems to last indefinitely; "sustainable development" can be a development of economic systems that last indefinitely, etc. A side discourse relates the term sustainability to longevity of natural ecosystems and reserves (set aside for other-than-human species), but the challenging emphasis has been on human systems and anthropogenic problems, such as anthropogenic climate change, or the depletion of fossil fuel reserves. (Wikipedia )

TOBACCO products are unique.  Even though tobacoo use is the leading cause of death in this country, tobacco products are not regulated by any public health agency.  Tobacco companies, unlike the manufacturers of food, drugs, cosmetics and many other products remain free to market and manipulate their products to attract children, make them even more dangerous and addictive, and mislead consumers who are concerned about their health.  Their powerful addictive agent nicotine is regulated in every form except the one that kills people - tobacco products.

In recent years, state and local governments have taken a host of actions to reduce tobacco use including raising tobacco taxes, investing in tobacco prevention programs and enacting laws that require workplaces to be smoke-free.  However, the Institute of Medicine and the President's Cancer Panel have noted that state efforts alone cannot solve the tobacco problem and have concluded that Congress, long absent from the fight to reduce tobacco use, should enact legislation granting the FDA authority over tobacco products.(Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 

The World Health Organization (WHO) asks serious queries in their 2004 report "Tobacco Industry and Corporate Social Responsibility ... an Inherent Contradiction": "How can tobacco companies reconcile their main aim, to gain a maximum profit by producing and selling a deadly product, with the goals of CFR (Corporate Social Responsility business norms, based on ethical values and respect for employees, consumers and the environment?  How can they claim to promote transparent business practices, calling for open dialogue among stakeholders when public inquiries and legal testimonies in courts in countries around the world attest to tobacco companies' actions and strategies to conceal the deadly nature of their products, derail work to protect public health and destroy incriminating evidence? 

As in many respects tobacco companies are simply not like other companies.  Tobacco products are legal.  But they are also lethal.  Tobacco is the only consumer product available that kills one-half of its regular users.  As such, in terms of CFR activities, they cannot simply figure  among the ranks of other consumer goods companies." 

 

 



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