Aaron Bernstein is a non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School. He works with the Program’s Pensions and Capital Stewardship Project, which helps public and labor pension funds around the world deal with corporate governance, investment, and fiduciary issues. In 2008, he started the Project’s Investor Initiative, which is developing metrics to assess the long-term portfolio risk of social factors such as labor and human rights and human capital. Such issues are of increasing concern to investors grappling with the importance of a broad range of environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations. Many asset owners and managers believe that ESG factors influence the long-term sustainability of corporations, which in turn helps to determine their profitability and stock performance.
The Initiative held an inaugural conference in 2009 to discuss the emerging field of social-factor investment analysis and stimulate related research and engagement efforts. It brought together US and European pension funds and other asset owners and managers, investment consultants, investment advisory and research firms, accounting firms, labor and human rights groups, labor unions, and academics.
Bernstein has written several papers for the Initiative: Quantifying Labor and Human Rights Portfolio Risk; Incorporating Labor and Human Rights Risk Into Investment Decisions, and Benchmarking Corporate Policies on Labor and Human Rights in Corporate Supply Chains, written with ASSET4, a Swiss investment research firm.
Bernstein left BusinessWeek magazine in 2006 after a 23-year career as an editor and senior writer covering workplace and social issues, including topics such as labor and human rights, corporate social responsibility and corporate governance. Before joining BusinessWeek, he worked at Forbes Magazine in New York City and for United Press International in London. He received a BA in Politics and Economics from the University of California at Santa Cruz and did graduate work in Political and Legal Theory for two years at Oxford University. He is the author of a book entitled “Grounded: Frank Lorenzo and the Destruction of Eastern Airlines,” and the co-author of “In the Company of Owners: The Truth About Stock Options.”
Stephen Davis, Ph.D. is associate director of the Harvard Law School Programs on Corporate Governance and Institutional Investors, and a senior fellow at the Program on Corporate Governance. He is also a nonresident senior fellow in governance at the Brookings Institution and senior advisor at Teneo. From 2007-2012 he was executive director of the Yale School of Management’s Millstein Center for Corporate Governance and Performance and Lecturer on the SOM faculty.
Davis served on the US SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee, where Chair Mary Schapiro appointed him chair of the Investor as Owner Subcommittee. He is a board member and former chair of Hermes EOS, the shareowner engagement arm of Hermes Pensions Management, the UK’s largest retirement fund; co-organizer of the World Forum on Governance in Prague; Member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Future of Long Term Investing; Member of the Contributing Committee of Development Partners International; Member of the advisory board of Cartica Capital; Member of the Private Sector Advisory Group of the Global Corporate Governance Forum; and member of the advisory boards of the Centre for Corporate Governance in Africa at Stellenbosch University and the Center for Corporate Governance at Handelshochschule Leipzig. Davis is founder-editor of the Global Proxy Watch newsletter.
Winner of the 2011 ICGN Award for Excellence in Corporate Governance, Davis co-authored The New Capitalists: How Citizen Investors are Reshaping the Corporate Agenda (Harvard Business School Press, 2006), named by the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and Australian Financial Review as one of the best business books of 2006. The book has been translated into Japanese, Portuguese, Complex Chinese and Korean. He is also the author of “Mobilizing Ownership: An Agenda for Corporate Renewal”, published by Brookings in May 2012. Davis contributed to Corporate Governance in the Wake of the Financial Crisis (UNCTAD, 2011) and The Origins of Shareholder Advocacy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).
Davis co-chaired The Conference Board’s Working Group on Hedge Funds and served on the US National Association of Corporate Directors’ Blue Ribbon Commission on board-shareholder communications. He has testified at US congressional hearings, been a columnist for the Financial Times and Compliance Week, and is a frequent media commentator on corporate governance. He has been named by Directorship as among the 100 most influential figures in corporate governance and by Trust Across America as among the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior. Davis is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts.
Davis pioneered the field of international corporate governance when he founded the global unit at the IRRC, in Washington, DC. His Shareholder Rights Abroad: A Handbook for the Global Investor (1989) was the first study comparing corporate governance practices in top markets. Dr. Davis is a co-founder of the International Corporate Governance Network, and was its representative to the OECD. Dr. Davis was a member of the UNEP steering group which produced global Principles for Responsible Investment. He co-founded GovernanceMetrics International.
Dr. Davis earned his doctorate in international business and security studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, and completed undergraduate studies at Tufts and the London School of Economics. Other books include Apartheid’s Rebels: Inside South Africa’s Hidden War (Yale University Press, 1987), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.