The presentation took about the Business & WORKPLACE CONDITIONS Resource Center on Company TESLA one page. Due on TUESDAY 11/3/20 at 11:00 AM on my time. The Letter is an example to work from.
BUS 682 Seminar on BUSINESS & SOCIETY Teacher: Meredith Benton 682-01, Th 9:30PM – 12::15PM 682-02, Th 12:30PM – 3:15PM In lieu of office hours, you may email me to set up a time for a phone conversation. Email: [email protected] Do not leave things to the last minute and expect a reply. Zoom Meeting: https://sfsu.zoom.us/j/97000507772?pwd=eHg4OE93RkhoTTVxTXMzNXdkb1VXUT09 Meeting ID: 970 0050 7772 Passcode: 894503 ____________________________________________________________________________________ COURSE SYLLABUS Expectations for Online Learning: This remains a very interactive class. You must plan to attend, and to participate, as you would in a classroom. Your video image is expected to be on throughout the class time. I understand, and am supportive of, those students who have childcare obligations during class time; I ask that you keep your microphone on mute when you are not speaking. If you join the class late, you are still responsible for ALL homework assignments completed prior to your joining the class. You will have one week to make up homework completed before you joined the class. Late homework is accepted, but will receive a 20 point deduction. If homework is not emailed to me before class starts, it will be considered tardy. No homework will be accepted after the last class of the semester (12/10). Required Materials: Readings and Media: Articles posted on iLearn or links listed on syllabus. Independent research.
There is no text book associated with this class. Instead, you will be required to actively consume business media. Examples include Bloomberg Businessweek, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, CNBC and New York Times. I expect you to be visiting their websites and reviewing their headlines daily.
Check the email account associated with iLearn, and iLearn, for any announcements, changes, or handouts. Prerequisites: Senior standing in business major; BUS 300GW (or BUS 360, or DS 660GW), and MGMT 405, each with a grade of C- or better. COURSE DESCRIPTION AND LEARNING OUTCOMES: The course provides an introduction to ethical decision-making and its role in business management. The goal of the course is to provide students with an overview of the expectations of society towards business, ethics’ role in business management, and an understanding of key social, environmental and corporate governance issues. After the course, students will:
demonstrate a sound and critical understanding of the role of the firm in society; analyze critically a social or environmental issue and its implications for a business;
assess the quality and character of corporate policies and practices as they relate to social, environmental and corporate governance challenges; and
craft corporate programs and policies to address ethical business challenges.
Participants will be expected to demonstrate skills of clear, logical thinking, critical analysis, oral and written communication, teamwork and effective decision-making.
EVALUATION 1. Class Contribution 10-12% 2. Class Assignments (homework and quizzes) 20% 3. Student Presentations & Letters 30% (each set = 15%) 4. Midterm 10% 5. Final Project 30%
Class contribution will be assessed by:
a) Your active engagement with the subject matter, shown through your asking questions or making statements in discussion. This is particularly true in response to student presentations.
b) I will be calling on students at random throughout the course. You will be graded by your ability to show that you have been actively listening.
In-Class Assignments: A significant portion of each class session will be dedicated to in-class assignments. These will range from quizzes and case reviews related to the week’s readings, to reviews of new materials. You are expected to conduct independent research for this course. Midterm: The first half of this class focuses on frameworks and structures, the second half on the application of these concepts. The mid-term will be multiple-choice. There will not be a study guide. Student Presentations: In teams of two, each student will present a for-profit company’s social or environmental programs and policies as they relate to that day’s topic. These will be timed and must be between 4.5 and 5 minutes. Timing your presentation matters. If the presentation falls outside this time window, there will be a 10 point deduction (practice ahead of time!). Presentations will be stopped at five minutes. It is at your discretion if you would like to develop a powerpoint. Your presentation should answer the following questions:
– What is the social or environmental issue you are focusing on? Explain it to us. – What are the broader implications of this issue from an environmental and/or social perspective? – Why does this issue matter from a business perspective? – What is the company you are focusing on? What is its business model? How does the company earn
revenue? How does it attract and retain clients? Where are its major costs? Who are its competitors? How are they treating this issue? How might its key stakeholders respond to this issue? Etc.
– How might this issue impact the company’s financial or long-term well being? – Do you believe that this issue is currently being well-managed by the company? Why or why not?
What would you recommend the company do differently?
Each student will co-present two times and co-write two letters. You may not work with the same person twice. That is, you will need to work with two different classmates. You may not use Patagonia as your focus company.
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (https://business-humanrights.org/en) will be a strong resource in finding topics and content, as will Bloomberg Businessweek, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other conventional media.
Student Letters: Along with your presentation partner, you will write, and send a letter to the company you have focused on in your presentation. This letter should introduce each of you, detail the topic you are writing about, why you believe it is of importance to the company, and offer a recommendation. It should be written in a concise and professional manner, include your contact details, and be no longer than two pages. A copy should be sent or emailed, with me copied, by the day of your presentation. Final Project: Each student will be assigned to a group on Week 3. The group will work towards the Final throughout the semester. The group will be responsible for both a presentation and a written report. Grades will be assessed against the performance of the group as a whole, as well as individual contributions. Teams will conduct in-depth research and analysis of the business ethics of one company. The final report should be between 10-15 pages. The finals presentation should be 10 – 12 minutes. Teams will need to incorporate the issues and frameworks learned throughout the semester in their presentation of the company’s environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) policies and practices. The report should cover, at a minimum, the following:
The environmental, social and corporate governance profile of the company’s products and services The company’s policies and practices as they relate to stakeholders, both internal and external,
prioritized according to what impacts the business: o Environment o Human Rights o Workplace o Public policy (its involvement in the political process through lobbying and political
These topics should be assessed relative to the company’s corporate governance system, strength of policies, performance trend over time, and against its industry or peers. Students will need to make a case for why the metrics presented were selected and why they matter to the business. Analysis should include the broader societal implications of the company’s actions and how various stakeholders may be impacted. The report should reach a conclusion regarding the quality of the company’s practices, where it merits commendation, competitive implications of its program, alongside what improvements might be made. Research conducted should be wide-ranging and involve reading corporate, activist and media reports. Efforts should be made to speak directly with the company and with key stakeholders. The presentation and report must go beyond what the company has itself published. Final projects that are a repetition of corporate marketing will receive poor scores. All data will need to be footnoted, but citations may be informal – web links are okay. Class rules: You will be assigning yourself a codename. Place your codename, not your real name, onto each assignment. Some assignments will be shared with your classmates for cross-editing. SCHEDULE AND ASSIGNMENTS SUBJECT TO CHANGE
If a link is broken, that does NOT remove your responsibility to complete the assignment. You are responsible for using the clues you have to track down the reading.
# Topi c
Pre-Class Assignment (Complete PRIOR to class)
A ug 27
Intro ducti on and Revi ew of Sylla bus
Find me on LinkedIn and “link” with me.
Se pt 3
Pers onal Ethi cs withi n the Corp orate Envi ron ment
Read: http://www.ethicsinfinance.org/wp- content/uploads/Document/2009_Gl_Benton.pdf Read: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/01/what-was-volkswagen- thinking/419127/ Write: 800 -1000 word personal ethics statement. What guides your decisions? Where does this come from? When have you stood up for your beliefs?
Se pt 10
Socia l Resp onsi bility Fra mew ork & Stak ehol der Map ping
Read: The UN Sustainable Development Goals (https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/) Read through all 17 Goals (this involves clicking through to the web pages of each Goal) Write: Choose a SDG, find an example of a company taking action on that SDG and detail the impact they are having. (one page)
4 Role of the
Watch: History of Capitalism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIuaW9YWqEU Watch: History of Consumerism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-Unq3R–M0 Watch: Ha Joon Chang and Economics for Everyone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdbbcO35arw
Se pt 17
Watch: Milton Friedman & the Free Markets: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkEIrWSPKhk
Se pt 24
Corp orate Gov erna nce & Orga nizat ional Struc ture
First group work project! Compare/contrast the governance practices of the company your group selected to those identified by CII.
O ct 1
Lega l, Regu lator y, and Polit ical Issue s
Identify a law that regulates how employees are treated in the workplace. Research an example of when a company fell afoul of that law and detail the consequences. 1-3 pages.
Familiarize yourself with https://politicalaccountability.net/hifi/files/2019-CPA-Zicklin- Index-Report.pdf
7 O ct
Meas urabi lity, Tran spare ncy & Acco unta bility
Familiarize yourself: https://corporate.exxonmobil.com/en/~/media/Global/Files/sustainability- report/publication/2017-Sustainability-Report.pdf
Learn about SASB: https://www.sasb.org/
Familiarize yourself: Oil & Gas – Exploration & Production standard, under Extractives & Minerals processing available at https://www.sasb.org/standards-overview/download- current-standards/ (will need to fill out a form)
Read the report: https://www.ciiref.org/sustainability-reporting-frameworks
Read: https://equileap.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Equileap-Gender-Equality-Global- Report-and-Ranking-2018.pdf
O ct 15
O ct 22
Prod uct or Servi ces
Debate yourself: Think critically about how ethical a product is, focusing on Amazon's development of facial recognition software. Cite external sources.
O ct 29
Com muni ty Relat ions & Publi c Polic y
Watch 3 profiles of Goldman Environmental Prize winners.
https://www.goldmanprize.org/prize-recipients/ Choose one person to research more deeply. Write one-page on who they are, what their community’s concerns were, what actions were taken, and what the outcomes were. Conduct research beyond the short clips.
N o v5
Hum an Righ ts
Read: KnowTheChain website. Start at “The Issue” (https://knowthechain.org/the-issue/) Then, read “Three Sectors, Three Years Later”. (https://knowthechain.org/wp- content/uploads/KTC_Cross_sector_2019.pdf) Then, choose one of the benchmark reports to read. (https://knowthechain.org/resources/companies/)
N o v1 2
Wor kplac e Con ditio ns
Click through/Read through the topic areas listed at https://www.ilo.org/global/topics/working-conditions/lang–en/index.htm
Read the ‘Women in the Workplace’ report available at https://womenintheworkplace.com/
N o v1 9
Envi ron ment al Issue s
Pick & read, one report from: https://www.ceres.org/resources/reports
Read: ESG Spotlight report (will need to fill out form) https://www.sustainalytics.com/esg- research/issue-spotlights/searching-solutions-ocean-plastics/
D ec 3
Fina ncin g & Inve stme nt
Read: https://www.ussif.org/files/Trends/Trends%202018%20executive%20summary%20FINAL. pdf
Read: https://www.institutionalinvestor.com/article/b1hm5ghqtxj9s7/Where-ESG- Fails?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The%20Essential%20II%20101719&utm_conten t=The%20Essential%20II%20101719+Version+A+CID_9abcbd0cb150185b7dab0c379847a 5fa&utm_source=CampaignMonitorEmail&utm_term=Where%20ESG%20Fails
Familiarize yourself with: www.unpri.org
Write: What are the 6 Principles for Responsible Investment? If you were an investment manager, would you sign up for these? Why or why not?
15 D ec 10
Wra p Up
Write: Reflect on a company’s ethical obligations during the coronavirus epidemic, what, if any, are their obligations to their employees and other stakeholders?
D ec 17
Final Exa m
Disability access Students with disabilities who need reasonable accommodations are encouraged to contact the instructor. The Disability Programs and Resource Center (DPRC) is available to facilitate the reasonable accommodations process. The DPRC is located in the Student Service Building and can be reached by telephone (voice/TTY 415-338-2472) or by email ([email protected]).(http://www.sfsu.edu/~dprc)]
Student disclosures of sexual violence SF State fosters a campus free of sexual violence including sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and/or any form of sex or gender discrimination. If you disclose a personal experience as an SF State student, the course instructor is required to notify the Dean of Students. To disclose any such violence confidentially, contact: The SAFE Place – (415) 338-2208; http://www.sfsu.edu/~safe_plc/ Counseling and Psychological Services Center – (415) 338-2208; http://psyservs.sfsu.edu/ For more information on your rights and available resources: http://titleix.sfsu.edu
2323 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612
Investing with Purpose
October 11, 2019 Ken Xie Chief Executive Officer Fortinet Inc. 899 Kifer Road Sunnyvale, CA, 94086 Dear Mr. Xie, Nia Impact Capital is a growing investment management firm, based in Oakland, California. At Nia, our core objective is to generate a competitive rate of return, while creating a positive impact for investors and for our planet. The companies in which Nia invests meet our strict high impact, solutions-focused social and environmental standards. We expect our portfolio companies to show strong fundamentals and growth characteristics, offer unique products or services with high potential for long-term growth, and operate in a manner that makes clear the company’s commitment to people, the planet and corporate social responsibility. We invest in businesses that fall within sustainability themes addressing global systemic risk; we see Fortinet as fitting within our Education, Communications, and Financial Services themes. At Nia, we take a long-term view, embracing a buy and hold philosophy. Our intention is to hold Fortinet for many years, for as long as the business continues to show sustainable growth prospects. Our understanding is that 14 % of the Board and that 27% percent of the executive team are women. This low level of representation is concerning as extensive research indicates that board, executive and team diversity have a positive correlation with returns. Studies include, yet are not limited to:
McKinsey & Company found that companies in the top quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity on executive teams were 33% more likely to have industry-leading profitability. Top quartile companies for gender-diverse executive teams were 27% more likely to outperform bottom quartile companies.81
81 Hunt, Vivan. Delivering through Diversity. McKinsey & Company, June 2018, www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/delivering-through-diversity.
2323 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612
Investing with Purpose
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has linked the gender diversity of senior management to positive firm performance. This link was particularly strong in sectors reliant on critical thinking and innovation.82
PwC has reported that 79% of board directors believe that diversity enhances board performance and more than half believe it enhances company performance.83
Corporate Governance: An International Review has reported that empirical research indicates both return on assets and return on investment are positively correlated with board diversity.84
ISS Analytics has found that gender diversity on the executive team is linked to company out-performance.85
Sustainalytics has found that the management of human capital has alpha that “is positive, economically material and statistically significant.”86 Its research indicates that abnormal returns exist for momentum-based strategies associated with improving human capital management practices.
We are writing to those companies within Nia’s Global Solutions portfolio with an average gender representation under 25% on either their Board of Directors or their executive team. We have reviewed the information that Fortinet has published on its diversity and inclusion practices. We found no public statements by Fortinet that spoke to its diversity and inclusion programs. We also found no public statements by Fortinet that set quantitative goals related to its staff diversity. We would like to discuss with you Fortinet’s approach to equity and inclusion in its workplace and with contracted employees. In order to understand the sufficiency of
82 Christiansen,, Lone. Gender Diversity in Senior Positions and Firm Performance: Evidence from Europe . International Monetary Fund, Mar. 2016, www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2016/wp1650.pdf. 83 “The Governance Divide Boards and Investors in a Shifting World .” Governance Insights Center, PwC, 2017, www.pwc.com/us/en/governance-insights-center/annual-corporate-directors- survey/assets/pwc-2017-annual-corporate–directors–survey.pdf. 84 Erhardt, Niclas, et al. “Board of Director Diversity and Firm Financial Performance.” SSRN, Corporate Governance: An International Review, Vol. 11, 23 June 2003, papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=416337. 85Papadopoulos , Kosmas. “Women in the C-Suite: The Next Frontier in Gender Diversity .” ISS Analytics, ISS, 27 July 2018, www.issgovernance.com/file/publications/women_in_the_c-suite- the_next_frontier_in_gender_diversity.pdf. 86“ESG Risk Ratings White Paper, Vol 1: Moving up the Innovation Curve.” Sustainalytics, 12 June 2019, www.sustainalytics.com/esg-research/thematic-reports/esg-risk-ratings-innovation/.
2323 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612
Investing with Purpose
Fortinet’s diversity and inclusion practices, we seek context on its approach to workplace equity across three key themes:
1) Diverse Representation in Leadership; the company’s commitment to diverse candidate pools for the Board and for executive leadership.
2) Barriers to Workplace Equity; the company’s use of policies known to enable harassment and discrimination.
3) Corporate Disclosure; the quality of the company’s current disclosure and its utility to investors.
Diverse Representation in Leadership We did not find a mandate within the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee Guidelines to seek out diverse board candidates, although the consideration of gender and race, among other factors, is cited. We are looking to better understand the process your company follows to identify diverse candidates for board and executive team openings. We are seeking, in particular, to understand if Fortinet has a formal process for identifying diverse candidates that aligns with the Business Roundtable’s 2016 Principles of Corporate Governance which stated that Boards should "develop a framework for identifying appropriately diverse candidates” for open board seats.87 Best practice in this regard is for a company to commit to including multiple diverse applicants in their candidate pool. This inquiry is particularly relevant to Fortinet, as it will be subject to California Senate Bill No. 826, which will require an increase in female board members by 2022. Barriers to Workplace Equity Our research was unable to determine if your company requires its employees to sign arbitration, non-disclosure or non-compete agreements. We are seeking information on Fortinet’s use of these policies and their impact on your employees, workplace culture and corporate risk profile. The use of these clauses have been linked to the unexpected loss of top leadership, damaged brand reputations, board liability, reduced employee contribution, legal risks, settlement costs, and long-tail risks in uncertain regulatory environments. Arbitration, in particular, has been identified as a practice which allows harassment and discrimination to exist in “a culture of silence that protects perpetrators at the cost of their victims.”88 Disclosure Practices
87 Principles of Corporate Governance. Business Roundtable, 2016, s3.amazonaws.com/brt.org/Principles-of-Corporate-Governance-2016.pdf. 88 Letter to Congress: RE:Mandatory Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Disputes. National Association of Attorneys General, 12 Feb. 2018, myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/HFIS- AVWMYN/$file/NAAG+letter+to+Congress+Sexual+Harassment+Mandatory+Arbitration.pdf.
2323 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612
Investing with Purpose
We found no quantitative disclosure from Fortinet on the diversity composition of its employees. To assess the effectiveness of Fortinet’s diversity and inclusion program, as well as to benchmark it against its peers, we are asking that you share its promotion, retention, and recruitment rates broken out by the groups identified in your non- discrimination policy, and set against total organizational composition. If this data is not available, we ask that you please share with us the criteria Fortinet is using to assess its diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and why these data points were selected. Nia is not unique in its interest in this data. This summer, investors representing $1.74 trillion signed onto an Investor Statement calling on companies to release meaningful, comparable data related to their workplace equity practices. The statement asserted “It is essential that investors have access to the most up-to-date and accurate information related to diverse workplace policies, practices, and outcomes.“ You may also be aware of investor initiatives which seek an increase reporting on human capital management practices, the release of equal employment opportunity (EEO) data, disclosure of pay gap data, the integration of executive pay with sustainability metrics and the strengthening of parental leave policies. We encourage you to also be responsive to these. We look forward to discussing this important topic with you. To begin our conversation, I can be reached through Meredith Benton, [email protected] or at 978-304-2234. Sincerely, Kristin Hull, Ph.D. Founder, CEO Cc. Gary Locke, Board of Directors, Fortinet Inc. Investor Relations Meredith Benton, Whistle Stop Capital, Consultant to Nia Impact Capital
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