Tag Archives: National Association of Manufacturers

The Best Sustainability Seminar in 20 Years – National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Leading Edge Executive Forum

Yesterday I attended one of NAM’s new Leading Edge series of forums. The session was held in Chicago on the topic of generating real economic value from sustainability.  In 20 years of working in the sustainability space, this was by far the best meeting on the topic I have attended. There have been good ones in the past, certainly. But those typically include folks (ahem, usually consultants) trying to sell the idea of artificially bulking up financial benefits of sustainability initiatives by using soft numbers and intangibles in the ROI.

That is exactly the kind of fluff that destroys the business credibility of sustainability – which we have written about and commented on to the SEC as well. In stark contrast to fluff, BS and soft value, the NAM panelists spoke to how they quantify the real dollars from their various sustainability initiatives.  And I do mean real.  No attempts at assigning a value to reputational damage or brand image, no estiamated avoided contingent risks.  These were business initiatives that, oh by the way, also happen to fall within the scope of sustainability.

Yesterday’s gathering was set up in conversation style rather than a typical presentation, which allowed each speaker to discuss their approach to, or obstacles encountered in, a moderated topic. Speaking were representatives from Ecolab, Microsoft, Pfizer, BASF, Smithfield Foods, ArcelorMittal and Alcoa, with a wrap up from Subaru of Indiana.

One point that stood out came from Subaru, who showed the sustainability timeline for their manufacturing plant in Indiana, which began in 1994.   Back then, they developed a business case for a particular project based on real dollars that was successful.  By doing so, they set the foundation for future sustainability initiatives that probably would not have seen the light of day if the business foundation set in 1994 was unsound.

I’m not sure if NAM will repeat the session, but if they do we highly recommend attending.  If you would like to convince them to hold it again, please send us a note and we will forward it to the NAM program manager.

ALERT – No Appeal to SCOTUS to be Filed for Conflict Minerals Rule Wording

In our update yesterday on the status of a potential appeal to the US Surpreme Court by the Securities and Exchange Commission  in the SEC v. NAM suit, we outlined the possibility that no such appeal would be filed.  Today, we learned that an appeal will indeed not be filed, as explained in this March 6, 2016 letter from Attorney General Loretta Lynch to House Speaker Paul Ryan.  The letter seems to generally support the position that the government sees no need in fighting a bigger battle than necessary in the context of the conflict minerals rule.

Again, this has no impact on the efforts required to develop and submit the CY15 filing, and the April 29, 2014 Statement from the Division of Corporation Finance remains in effect for purposes of product determination language and IPSA trigger.


A Clue to SEC’s Final Conflict Minerals Rule and More Fireworks in the Comments

A letter from Congressional leaders published by SEC today indicates that the final conflict minerals rule may indeed be promulgated soon.  The letter dated February 16, 2012 and signed by Senators Leahy and Coons, along with Congressmen Berman, McDermott, Payne, Meeks and Bass, contains two notable comments.

  • First, in relation to the status of the regulations, the letter mentions “the outlines of the final rule”.  This is the first credible and concrete indication that a version of the final rule has been both drafted and made available to key Washington officials.
  • Second, the letter expresses concern “about the economic cost estimate contained in the final rule.  The Commission’s estimate should only rely on those submitted estimates that use credible and publicly cited data, methodologies of companies in the field, and comparisons to costs of truly similar regulations.”

We find this second statement particularly intriguing in light of new comments from industry associations IPC and National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), also made public today.