Our Initiatives

 

Mining Initiatives

Site visits to mines in Ghana, Peru, and Columbia gave representatives a high-level overview of operations, including mining, processing and supporting infrastructure, and the management of health, safety and environmental aspects. They also provided an overview of stakeholder engagement activities including community consultation, complaints/grievance management, community development and actions take to minimise the mining operations environmental impacts; an opportunity to have open frank conversations about key challenges from a social and environmental perspective and the various efforts underway to address these issues. These visits also allowed an opportunity to understand local community characteristics, civil society organizations, community and local government leader perspectives regarding the positive and negative impact of mining on the community. These trips were organized by Mining and Faith Reflection Initiative (MFRI) at the invitation of various mines. In 2014, SRIC Executive Director, Anna Falkenberg, visited gold mines at the invitation of Newmont Mining and AngloGold Ashanti. This visit was specifically related to water issues and human rights in mining. In 2015, Anna Falkenberg visited the gold mines in Peru at the invitation of Newmont Mining. The purpose of the trip was to discuss issues relating to water, human rights and a land dispute. In 2017, Glencore and Cerrejon invited Anna Falkenberg and other MFRI representatives to visit their coal mines in Columbia. During this trip, issues discussed included water and human rights.

 Footwear and Apparel

SIRC works towards addressing issues related to labor rights in the apparel and garment industry and their supply chains.

More footwear and apparel companies are becoming aware of the potential for human rights abuses in their global operations and supply chains and what they can do to prevent these egregious crimes. Given the complexity of company supply chains and the multitude of contractors and subcontractors, recruiters, and suppliers used throughout a production process, there can be great risks to companies from illegal labors, negative publicity, and consumer boycotts, business interruptions and strikes–all of which can have a deleterious impact on shareholder value. 

Among footwear and apparels corporations, SRIC intensely engages in dialogue with Skechers, Coach, Ralph Lauren Corporation in addressing supply chain management, especially related to labor rights. SIRC advocates for minimum wages and improving working conditions for workers in the production stage.

In 2019, SRIC filed shareholder resolutions to Skechers on HR policy and forced labor. We requested the Board of Directors to adopt a comprehensive human rights policy by December 2020 articulating our company’s commitment to respect human rights, which includes a description of proposed steps to identify, assess, prevent and mitigate actual and potential adverse human rights impacts.

Gun Control

Gun violence is an epidemic that affects hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. About 40% of Americans say they own a gun or live in a household with one and the rate of murder or manslaughter by firearm in America is the highest in the developed world. There were 39,150 gun violence deaths in 2019. Mass shootings happen at school, at church, and public spaces.

SRIC in association with ICCR has engaged in dialogues with Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods on the issues of gun control. In 2019, Walmart stopped selling assault rifles in their stores.

Immigration

With the increasing mass incarceration of noncitizens, for-profit corporations are making a lucrative business out of detaining immigrants. At the time that Immigration laws continue to tighten, refugees and asylum seekers coming through the US-Mexico border have to spend days or months or more in detention centers as they go through judicial and diplomatic processes. Detainees are obviously status-insecure, confined and without clear legal standing. They have been shown to suffer from a shortage of access to healthcare and basic services while paying a large amount of money to stay in detention centers.

SRIC supports the work of the Interfaith Welcome Coalition (IWC), which centers on protecting the rights of those individuals detained in Family Detention Centers. IWC works tirelessly to push legislation aimed at ending deportations and close such facilities. Currently, these centers are administered as for-profit prisons that disregard humanitarian concerns. To contribute to IWC efforts, SRIC has been actively involved in multiple corporate engagements with organizations like the GEO Group Inc. and Core Civic, which own such detention facilities, as a way to improve the conditions of detainees.

Fracking

SRIC hosted another tour of the Eagle Ford Shale development, as requested by our visiting ICCR CEO, Josh Zinner. Mr. Zinner wanted to see first-hand the impacts of corporate activity in this area. Sr. Elizabeth Riebschlaeger, a tireless advocate for social justice and an expert on everything related to shale development in Texas acted as guide during the trip.

During the trip, activity in the area was very noticeable despite production slowdown: oil pump jacks, natural gas compressor stations, towers for new drilling operations, and streams of flame flaring from tall pipes. Big rigs carrying huge sections of pipe and other equipment still dominated the roads. Some impacts were apparent from an abandoned uranium mine to toxic spills, devastation from a Blowout explosion, the controversial open waste pit at Nordheim (now approved) as well as impacts on small communities—from boom growth to empty hotels and restaurants.

Methane Emissions

EPA attempted to rescind limits on methane leaks from oil and gas industry by issuing New Source Performance Standards (NSPS – the “Rule”) in 2016. SRIC, in association with ICCR, advocates for regulation of controlling methane leaks from oil and natural gas wells.

One in three Americans lives in a county with oil and gas production.  Methane, the main component of natural gas and a powerful pollutant, is leaked from oil and gas industry operations at a rate of seven million tons per year, and it brings with it serious implications for public health. The oil and gas industry in the United States releases over 13 million metric tons of methane pollution every year, and with that many more dangerous air pollutants. Methane pollution poses a serious and immediate risk to the health of Americans and should be addressed with seriousness and urgency.

Americans depend on federal methane safeguards to keep the air they breathe clean. The EPA has a responsibility to reduce methane pollution by holding oil and gas companies accountable for checking for and repairing leaking equipment. Comprehensive standards will help protect the people who live near oil and gas facilities from harmful methane pollution that worsens asthma and other respiratory illnesses. 

Access to Nutrition

SRIC actively engages in dialogue with major food manufacturers and local retailers on the issues of effective governance and management systems for nutrition including nutritional quality of food and beverage products. We support the Access to Nutrition Index (ATNI) initiative as ATNI will assess the nutrition policies, practices and performance of the largest food & beverage manufacturers.

SRIC concerns about obesity issue in the United States. Obesity is a pressing health concern that affects nearly 40% of adults and 18.5% of children in the United States, putting them at risk for Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and other serious diseases. It threatens the nation’s healthcare system and economy. SRIC communicates America’s major manufacturers, specifically with General Mills, on the necessity of how food and beverage industry can contribute to addressing America’s nutrition challenges and play its part in finding solutions to obesity challenges.

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