Canadians Need to Know Snow-washing

Us Canadians need to live up to the stereotype that we are a nice, peaceful, and safe country. Clearly the so-called trucker protest tarnished our reputation, but in financial circles our reputation is tarnished thanks to our neglect of corporate accountability. Internationally Canada is seen as a great place to launder illegal obtained funds akin to third world tax havens. Laundering money in Canada is known as snow-washing.

Thanks to excellent research to Transparency International Canada (and more organizations) we finally know the extent of snow-washing. In order to address the problem we must first understand it. So let’s hope Canadian politicians step up to fight this corporate corruption in our government.

Although Canada has vowed to establish a publicly accessible corporate beneficial ownership registry, a database that will store details about who ultimately owns and controls millions of private companies, it won’t be operational until at least 2025.

“Open data allows journalists, civil society and other stakeholders to investigate wrongdoing,” the report says. “This is particularly important for Canada, where law enforcement and regulatory authorities have limited capacity to investigate domestic crime, let alone criminal activity beyond our borders.”

As an example, one of the report’s case studies about a Russian transnational laundromat builds on previous reporting by investigative journalists, including The Globe’s Mark MacKinnon.

For far too long, Canada has been saddled with a reputation as an international haven for financial crime. As the report rightly argues, transparency is the only antidote.

Read more.

Read the snow-washing report.

Thanks to Delaney!

Triple Bottom Line Companies on the Rise, Propose New Corporation Classification

A triple bottom line corporation is one that watches closely not only profitability but also it’s sustainability. Triple bottom line companies are on the rise not only in performance but also in popularity as more people realize the fragility of the planet and the lack of attention we give it.

Triple bottom line companies give equally weighting to environmental goals and economic goals which can make the company more profitable, but some companies may take a competitive hit. For those companies, a group in the USA is fighting for a new type of corporation known as a “benefit corporation”.

Proponents of this new corporate form say it essentially bakes a triple bottom line into a company’s DNA that frees companies from the fear of shareholder lawsuits if their decisions fail to maximize shareholder value because of some competing interest of other stakeholders, such as workers. Under current corporate case law in the United States, for example, corporate directors are generally assumed to be liable in such suits. Incorporation as a benefit corporation is intended to establish the directors’ fiduciary responsibility to consider the interests of all stakeholders. Formalizing a company’s social and environmental purposes under a legal framework also makes it more likely that its good intentions will survive the departure of its founders or any major spurts of growth and that its directors will have the legal backbone to fend off buyout offers from conventional corporations that do not have the same commitments.

Most benefit corporations to date are either small or medium-sized businesses. But they include a few larger companies that are privately held, such as the outdoor apparel and accessory firm Patagonia Inc., which reportedly had annual sales of about $540 million for the year ending April 2012, and King Arthur Flour, an employee-owned, 223-year-old company with reported sales of about $84 million in 2010.

Read more at Worldwatch.

Monsanto Movie Critical Examines Company

A movie, The World According to Monsanto has been released that examines (the not good) Monsanto. The movie exposes how the company manipulates scientific data and bribes politicians to get it’s way. So what’s so good about this?

Monsanto has tried suing any site that hosts the video below to stop the spread of this information. The good news is that people are taking on this massive corporation and you can too. There already is a campaign against Monsanto that you can join, and another. Vanity Fair has even published an article on the evil Monsanto.

Via Greenpeace

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