Last night, Joänne Tromiczak-Neid, Justice Coordinator and I attended the 40th Anniversary of wim cri: Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota Coalition for Responsible Investment at the Marquette University Alumni Memorial Union in Milwaukee. While Joänne has been working with wim-cri for over 20 years, my role the past six years has been more peripheral. I came knowing I had a lot to learn!
First of all the event was hosted by the Marquette University Center for Supply Chain Management. I did some research before the event to ground me in their work. As I read about the complexity of supply chains, I soon realized that my first exposure was in the late 1970s when the toy company I worked for sent raw materials, equipment and technical design patterns to a factory in Haiti where some of our products were being “assembled.” Before I went on a quality control trip to this factory in Haiti, I was enthused by our work there. Upon arrival, my perception changed immediately when I recognized that we were literally using the Haitian people (almost exclusively women) to further our needs by reducing our costs and therefore our prices, giving our products an edge in the marketplace. At that time we did not have the language of supply chain management, I only knew I did not like what we were doing!
In 1973 while the Vietnam War was being waged and a surge in the manufacture of nuclear weapons was underway, several Capuchin Friars from the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph in Milwaukee went to Washington D. C. seeking a more peaceful world. While there they came to the realization that business and the economy were central to their quest. The outcome of that trip was the formation of the Corporate Responsibility Action Group (CRAG), the precursor to wim-cri. Founding members were: Michael H. Crosby, OFM Cap, Charlita Foxhaven, SSSF and Alphonsa Puls, SSSF (School Sisters of St. Francis). They set to the work of inviting other religious communities to join them in their quest and connected with the recently formed Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR).
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Saint Paul Province have been active leaders in wim-cri for over 20 years during which shareholder resolutions have been filed on tobacco, worker’s rights, health care, corporate transparency, affordable prescription medications and ongoing successful dialog with Xcel Energy.
Founders Awards honoring their vision and commitment to mission were presented to Mike Crosby, OFM Cap, Clarita Foxhoven, SSSF and posthumously to Alphonsa Puls, SSSF.
Tim Dewane, Shalom – Justice, Peace, & Integrity of Creation, School Sisters of Notre Dame, Central Pacific Province moderated a panel dialog that included Terry Nadeau, Global Vice President of Procurement, Johnson Controls, Inc.; Robin Jaffin, Director of Global Supply Programs Verité; Rev. David Schilling, Project Director, ICCR and Dr. Douglas Fisher, Director, Center for Supply Chain Management, Marquette University delving into the complexities of supply chain sustainability and sourcing responsibility.
Tim concluded with this reflection:
From A Reflection on the Vocation of the Business Leader (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace)
Good business decisions are those rooted in principles at the foundational level, such as respect for human dignity and service to the common good, and a vision of a business as a community of persons. Principles on the practical level keep the business leader focused on:
- producing goods and services that meet genuine human needs while taking responsibility for the social and environmental costs of production, of the supply chain and distribution chain (serving the common good, and watching for opportunities to serve the poor);
- organizing productive and meaningful work recognizing the human dignity of employees and their right and duty to flourish in their work, (“work is for man” rather than “man for work”) and structuring workplaces with subsidiarity that designs, equips and trusts employees to do their best work; and
- using resources wisely to create both profit and well-being, to produce sustainable wealth and to distribute it justly (a just wage for employees, just prices for customers and suppliers, just taxes for the community, and just returns for owners).
Posted by: Ginger K. Hedstrom, Justice Associate