September 28, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – Corporate responsibility efforts by and Adrian Dominican Sister and the Congregation’s Portfolio Advisory Board are paying off when it comes to gun safety accountability and creating a cleaner environment.
Sister Judy Byron, OP, led shareholders of American Outdoor Brands in passing a resolution calling on the parent company of Smith and Wesson to report on how they are working to ensure gun safety. Sister Judy, Director of the Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investing and Consultant for the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Portfolio Advisory Board, made the presentation on behalf of 11 shareholders groups. The passage of the resolution – and of a similar resolution at Sturm Ruger – reflect the public’s growing concern about gun violence.
For more information, read an article by Liz Moyer, posted on CNBC, and a press release issued by the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility.
Another article, posted on the website of NBC News, gives a more in-depth look at the corporate responsibility efforts for gun safety, as well as a profile of Sister Judy and her involvement in social justice.
In another instance of success in corporate responsibility efforts, Standard Chartered, a multi-national bank and financial institution based in London, England, agreed to stop financing coal-fired power plants anywhere in the world. The Adrian Dominican Congregation was one of about 25 signatories to an August 20, 2018, letter to the corporation, asking them to stop financing new coal mines and coal-fired power plants anywhere in the world. “When the bank shared the policy with us, they explicitly stated that our work on this has helped inform their decision,” wrote Sonia Hierzig, Senior Projects Manager of Climate Change for Share Action, in London, England. Read the announcement and an article on the topic in Bloomberg.
July 16, 2018, New York, New York – Adrian Dominican Sister Judy Byron, OP, along with Sister Susan Vickers, RSM, will receive the 2018 Legacy Award from the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) during a special event on Tuesday, October 2, 2018, in New York City. Both are being recognized for providing “a strong moral foundation and an enduring record of demonstrated influence on corporate policies.”
Sister Judy, a member of ICCR since 1998, is the director of the Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment and the program director of the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center (IPJC) in Seattle, Washington. She is a consultant for the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB), serves on the Board of Mercy Housing Northwest (MHNW) and served on ICCR’s board from 2002 to 2005.
“Sister Judy Byron is tireless in her compassion, and passion, for justice,” said Margaret Weber, a colleague at the PAB. “Her light is steady and unwavering. She keeps a social justice lens ‘at the ready’ for critical moments in time for the shareholder voice. Judy’s leadership on the gun safety shareholder proposal at Sturm Ruger is illustrative of how she sees a moment in time and acts on it.”
Rev. Séamus Finn, Chair of the Board for ICCR, spoke of the “profound impact” that both Sister Judy and Sister Susan have on the work of ICCR. “Judy’s quiet yet persistent presence consistently brings a clear social justice voice into our meetings and conversations,” he said. “She never fails to remind companies – and all of us – about the impact policies and decisions have on local communities and on the lives of people who are frequently ignored or excluded.”
“What I’m very aware of in my corporate responsibility work is that this is truly a collaborative work,” Sister Judy said. “I don’t think this award is so much for me as a recognition of the difference that faith-based shareholders are making and that we in the Northwest have been able to make in the social and environmental issues we’ve addressed – gun safety, health equity, human rights, human trafficking, and climate change. Together, we’ve been a moral voice, working to create a just and sustainable global community.”
For Sister Judy, one of the challenges of corporate responsibility ministry is the scope of the justice issues that need to be brought to corporate boardrooms. “Our challenge is to prioritize which issues and companies we should engage, so that we can transform these corporations,” she said. “We focus on industry leaders, who can, in turn, change the direction of entire industries.”
She gave the example of ICCR’s work with the pharmaceutical industry to move them to make their HIV/AIDS medicines available to more people, especially those in low-income countries. “When we approached them in 2000, their medicines were available to a miniscule number of people in low- and middle-income countries,” she explained. “After our dialogue with them, they really stepped up and now millions of people are receiving treatment.” Most significantly,” she said, “faith-based shareholders engaged Gilead Sciences, who is now the leader in providing treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS in developing countries.
“Our strength is that we are faith-based shareholders,” Sister Judy explained. “We bring a collective moral voice to the companies. We say that ‘We are inspired by faith and committed to action.’ And I would add, action for the common good.”