Richard Barr, Featured Contributor on Accountability-Central: Is Corporate America Becoming More Socially Conscious? Legendary SRI Advocate Peter Kinder Responds

Jun 10, 2011 10:00 AM ET

(3BL Media / theCSRfeed) New York, NY - June 10, 2011 - Is Corporate America becoming more socially conscious?

Richard Barr, formerly a long-time “socially responsible investment” (SRI) portfolio manager with First Affirmative Financial Network, and currently a featured commentator on Accountability-Central (, asked the question of legendary SRI advocate Peter D. Kinder.  Kinder is founder and president until 2009 of KLD Research & Analytics (now part of MSCI / RiskMetrics) and a long-time thought leader in SRI.

Barr’s interview with Kinder is published on Accountability-Central, the public web site of Governance & Accountability Institute . Peter Kinder is also now a regular contributing columnist of Accountability-Central.

In the interview, Peter Kinder -- described by Richard Barr as a “Man for All Seasons” -- considered whether the maturing of the SRI, ESG and CSR movements has led to empirical anecdotal evidence that Corporate America is becoming more socially conscious.

The full interview with Richard Barr and Peter Kinder on A-C may be accessed here.

To that question Peter Kinder replied:

“My mind changes nearly every microsecond…in this post-Citizens United world, despair isn’t irrational.  The unconscionable export of American jobs while managers enjoy corporate-funded stadium luxury suites and golf-club memberships should outrage people beyond unions.  I could go on. But in some areas, the times have changed and corporations with them.  For years starting as a law student doing surface mining regulations, I thought American Electric Power (AEP) to be as close to a black-hat corporation as the country had – fraudsters and criminals excepted.  It’s still a strip miner and a coal utility.  But look at the reclamation they’ve done.  Look at their CSR and environmental reporting.  (Kudos:  ICCR!)  AEP has changed.”

Peter Kinder then posed the question: “But how much has the change of AEP’s sort come from a simple recognition of new realities, changing times?  How much has come from idealism amongst its managers and officers?  Who knows or, ultimately, cares?”

 “If we want to ensure positive corporate behavior, we must make the wind blow hard in the direction we want companies to go.  Whether we accomplish that by regulation, shareholder action or something entirely different doesn’t matter.  We must change the air temperature to make the wind blow over the corporate landscape,” Mr. Kinder said. 

The full interview with Richard Barr and Peter Kinder may be accessed here.

About Richard Barr: may be accessed here.

About Peter Kinder may be accessed here.  

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