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CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY

monitoring - governance - shareholder activism - accountability - research tools

The listing for this section is now organized by related topic, but many sites serve as sources of multiple types of information. Although a site may be listed under one topic, it still may contain key resource to do with another topic… keep that in mind, and happy browsing!

 

DIRT-DIGGIN’ TIP: since some of these websites are not necessarily database-driven, use the FIND feature of your browser to locate text that mentions your corporate target on the page you’re on.

 

symbol represents a site we find particularly useful.

Monitoring

CorpWatch (http://www.corpwatch.org)
Online magazine about transnational companies and various efforts to counter their abuses worldwide. The theme is on social, environmental and economic impact of corporate globalization in communities around the world. Issue or campaign focused. Searchable archives.

Corporate Accountability Project (http://www.corporations.org)
Features "Corporate Dirt Archives" and substantial links to good sites on corporate accountability issues (including ‘Corporate Welfare’ among other sections). While abundant, data about specific companies is NOT database-run, so go to each relevant page, then use the ”Find” feature to locate the target company’s name (and its variants) for a quick scan for the information you’re looking for.

The Corporate Library (http://www.thecorporatelibrary.com/)
An independent research firm that provides corporate governance data, analysis and risk assessment tools. It doesn’t accept consulting or other special fees from the companies they rate. They aim to serve as a central repository for research, study and critical thinking about the nature of the modern public corporation, with a special focus on corporate governance and the relationship between company management, boards and shareholders. Most general content on our public site is open to visitors at no cost. Impressive access to companies’ shareholder action campaigns, company board of directors, CEO contracts and corporate policies and legislations around governance in great detail. The links section is recommended for corporate governance related research. The site was started by the folks who wrote “Power & Accountability” – great study tool on the larger topic of corporate governance - available online at http://www.thecorporatelibrary.com/power/cover.html.

Corporate Research Project (http://www.corp-research.org/)
The "How to do Basic Corporate Research on the Internet" (http://www.corp-research.org/howto.htm) is not extensive but is an excellent reference to reliable search sources available online. Annotated links inform the researcher not just about links, but ways in which they can be useful in your campaign. The Corporate Research Project, a project of Good Jobs First, is a non-profit center that assists community, environmental and labor organizations in researching and analyzing companies and industries. The Project is designed to be a resource to aid activism; hence the focus is on strategic research, i.e., identifying the information activists can use as leverage to get the company to behave in a socially responsible manner.

Endgame (http://www.endgame.org)
Endgame, a project of the Public Information Network, has extensive information on multinational corporations as well as information on the larger issue of corporate power and world regimes that protect private interests. Features the Directory of Transnational Corporations, searchable by geographical location (global) or alphabetical index. The site includes corporate information and profiles by issue and sector (ranging from forests & timber industry to the oil moguls to free trade and corporate welfare), augmented by excellent guides and primers on corporate research and training (go to http://www.endgame.org/arm.html to see extensive research manual). Endgame also offers low-cost research assistance and training to citizens & public interest organizations. Their link section at http://www.endgame.org/links.html lists online resources on corporate research and a plethora of progressive efforts to counter corporate globalization.

Federal Procurement Data Center (http://www.fpdc.gov/fpdc/fpdc_home.htm)
Formerly run by the U.S. General Service Administration and now outsourced, this site is a searchable online database of federal contracts - specially, between approximately 60 Executive Branch agencies (the Legislative and Judicial branches do not report to the FPDC) and businesses. The FPDC collects as much as $200 billion worth of contract information each year, and enters about 50 data elements (i.e., dollar values of the contracts, products produced and other information, including an indication of whether the contract was awarded under competitive bidding, and whether the contract is subject to labor laws such as the Service Contract Act) for each contract into the database. Note: it used to contain only contracts worth over $25,000, but starting FY2004, those worth $2,500 or higher is listed. FPDC sells the same data on CD for fiscal years 1994 through 2001 and regularly updated CDs of recent years at http://www.fpdc.gov/fpdc/otherprod.htm.

Kinder Lydenberg Domini (KLD) Domini Social Equity Fund (http://www.domini.com)
Fund of 400 companies that pass detailed social screens. Web site lists profiles of the 400 companies; just click into the Domini 400 Social Index from the Quick Links menu, and you can search by company name, sector, or industry. The website also explains the criteria for each social screen.

Recalls.gov (http://www.recalls.gov)
Find out if your target company is involved in any recalls, which in itself may be leverage for your campaign, or give you potential leads for identifying more leverage. This government-run site is not likely to give you all the facts useful to you, but through identifying a specific recall incident and researching it further, you may be able to get a better sense of the company’s track record in fulfilling a commitment to consumer protection.

Responsible Shopper
(http://www.responsibleshopper.org)
Though the database is designed to help you “ Discover the good, the bad and the ugly behind the products you buy everyday — from clothing to shoes to toothpaste.” It's searchable by company, brand or category, and provides an overview for each company with specific problems, praise, ratings and industry comparisons. A program of Co-op America, at http://www.coopamerica.org. The data in Responsible Shopper is compiled by the Council on Economic Priorities. Also, check out the accessibly formatted and comprehensive "Co-op America's Guide to Researching Corporations," with useful appendix items such as the "Resource Sources by Type of Information /Issue" chart, at http://www.boycotts.org/pdf/Guide_to_Researching_Corporations.pdf. Though some listings are dated, still a very useful reference tool.

Top 100 Corporate Criminals of the 1990s (http://www.corporatepredators.org/top100.html)
The Top 100 Corporate Criminals of the 1990s is a compilation of corporations that were criminally fined in the 1990s for a variety of categories of crimes, including environmental, antitrust, fraud, and campaign finance. The ranking is done by the amount of criminal fine. The list is all on one html page – so you can do a Find, enter your corporate target’s name and see if it’s “made it” to this list. The longer version of the same list that includes criminal offense summaries follows on the lower part of the page.

See also: Company Information section, and listings below

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Non-U.S.-based/International sources (tend to focus on transnational corporation data and the corporations based in the country of the website owner organization.)

The Aurora Institute http://www.aurora.ca
The Aurora Institute is a Vancouver, Canada-based not-for-profit, citizens-based organization, which conducts research and public education illuminating the role and structure of the corporation. Educational resources include descriptions around corporate structures, history of corporations, and revoking the corporate charter and links. Research tools feature extensive Canadian links to help researching specific corporations, as well as some US and international references. From the homepage, click on "Resources" and then select from the menu the resource topic. Aurora institute has also published a guide that deals specifically with researching information on corporations (.pdf format), at http://aurora.ca/docs/research.pdf.

Corporate Watch (http://www.corporatewatch.org.uk/)
Corporate Watch is a radical research and publishing group that supports grassroots and direct activism against large corporations, particularly multinationals (incidentally, is unaffiliated with CorpWatch in the US). The site tends to feature more UK companies but non-UK prominent multinationals have their a good share of the site. In addition to their directory of multinationals and hot corporate news and profiles, their extensive section on how to research corporations, though targeting the UK audience, contains universally applicable links and tips: http://www.corporatewatch.org.uk/publications/diy_research_2002.htm

Transnationale.org http://www.transnationale.org
The fee-free sections of this online searchable database run out of France (but covers three countries specifically: the US, United Kingdom, and Canada) may be a good place to start for a general overview of a specific consumer brand, especially if you are just getting started with getting data on your target and its competitors in the industry. The free-access section includes the "Brands" section - wherein a comparison chart listing social, financial, environmental and political performance records for top brand products appears for the selected industry/sector. Created in France, run by a non-profit Transnational Corporations Observatory, this fee-for-subscription site (NGOs are eligible for discounts via direct negotiation) provides comprehensive information on more than 10,000 companies around the world.

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Investor/Shareholder Activism

Confronting Companies Using Shareholder Power: A Handbook on Socially-Oriented Shareholder Activism (http://www.foe.org/international/shareholder)
A useful guide with links on the process of shareholder activism by Friends of the Earth, an international environmental organization dedicated to preserving the health and diversity of the planet for future generations. Published by Friends of the Earth (http://www.foe.org).

SocialFunds.com (http://www.socialfunds.com)
SocialFunds.com has over 1000 pages of strategic content to help make informed investment decisions regarding socially responsible investing. Especially helpful are the ‘corporate research’ section at http://www.socialfunds.com/csr/index.cgi featuring company reports and news, and ‘shareholder activism’ section at http://www.socialfunds.com/sa/index.cgi where you can search for corporate social responsibility-related shareowner resolutions by sector/issue.

What Is A Shareholder Resolution? Step-by-Step (http://www.scn.org/earth/wum/2Whatsr.htm)
A very helpful online guide by the Northwest Corporate Accountability Project (http://www.scn.org/earth/wum/1Corpact.htm), the Shareholder Resolution guide includes the following topics: What is a Shareholder Resolution?; What are the regulations that govern Shareholder Resolutions?; What are the basic Shareholder Resolution steps?; What are the thirteen reasons Corporations can use to ignore your Shareholder Resolution?; and the very handy SEC Shareholder Resolution Checklist.

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Corporate Accountability Activism

Essential Information (http://www.essential.org)
Watchdog group of Ralph Nader. This site has many excellent resources on corporations, including the Multinational Monitor and various listservs on corporate accountability (including corporate welfare). Home page has a simple keyword search engine (which does not search the listserv archives). Click on the Search button to do a more selective search of sections/publications of the website. Click on "lists.essential.org" to get to and search various listservs.

United for a Fair Economy (http://faireconomy.org/research/index.html)
The "Economic Research Sources" of UFE's website features online data and analysis around CEO Pay, Taxes, Union demographics, Poverty, Wealth Gap, etc. associated with corporate profiles and corporate power. Most sections are accompanied by UFE's analysis on corporate wealth and the economy, often presented in viewer-friendly formats such as charts and diagrams. Homepage: http://www.faireconomy.org

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See also: Labor - Money & Politics - Environment - Company Information

Updated March, 2005. Please send Web site corrections to miho@datacenter.org.

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