Archives for February 2015

Pilot Study Completed, New Documents Published

Research and analysis has now been completed on the Phase 1 Pilot Study conducted in partnership with Sustainalytics, a leading independent research firm with extensive experience assessing the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance of global companies.

The purpose of the study was to test the latest iteration of our Phase 1 methodology on 12 companies. Based on what we’ve learned from the pilot, we will further revise the methodology and research process before implementing the full Phase 1 ranking for public launch in late 2015.  To that end, we have written the first draft of a pilot report. Over the next several weeks we will seek feedback on the draft from stakeholders and experts. After further revision we plan to publish it later in March.

We are also pleased to announce the publication of several new documents that help to explain the research and consultation process that we undertook to develop the methodology:

Links to those documents and other resources related to the methodology development, plus links to all versions of the methodology, can be found on this page.

Responding to the “Netgain” Challenge

Netgain” is a consortium of philanthropic foundations (including several RDR funders) hoping to support good work that will make the Internet open, free, and compatible with social justice. They describe their purpose as follows:

The Internet has transformed how we connect and engage with the world around us, creating challenges and opportunities in every area of contemporary life. It can be used to foster enlightenment and learning, and to promote justice. It can also be used to exert control, stifle legitimate discourse, and concentrate power in the hands of a few. The web’s ubiquitous nature and power demands that we work together to ensure that it serves the common good.

The Knight, MacArthur, Open Society, Mozilla, and Ford Foundations have come together with leaders from government, philanthropy, business, and the tech world to launch an ambitious new partnership to spark the next generation of innovation for social change and progress.

They reached out to some of their grantees and thought leaders to “submit your ideas…and help us focus on the most significant challenges at the intersection of the Internet and philanthropy.” The following submission reflects the ecosystem of research and advocacy within which RDR works. By building a mechanism to promote transparency and accountability in the private sector, we hope to address a very specific piece of the broader challenge described below.

The forces of repression have evolved to survive and thrive in a networked world. Philanthropy’s response must similarly evolve to meet the threat. Today, Internet-empowered civil society is under fierce attack on all continents. Those who control the means of physical violence have grown skillful at counter-manipulation of technology, law, and media. Democracies are not immune. In pursuit of security and self-interest, citizens and consumers unwittingly consent to their own repression. Politicians seek quick fixes to win elections. Companies rushing to meet market demand can be blind to collateral damage on legal and technical architectures that keep information systems – and by extension social and political systems – open and accountable. Let’s map out where abuses of power are occurring within the world’s information ecosystems. Pinpoint where accountability mechanisms fail and where they are completely absent. Then put together a strategy to hold power accountable in the Internet age.

Click here to see how others are responding to the challenge.