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April 25, 2012

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Advocat

I like your suggestion, but would argue with your premise. Contrary to popular misconception, the evidence that the Sullivan Principles did anything other than delay the divestment movement is remarkably scarce. The evidence that big business appropriated Sullivan's good rep/intentions for its own purposes, on the other hand, is fairly compelling.

Albert

Thanks, Avocat. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that activists met with little success in using the Sullivan Principles to encourage divestment from companies not adhering to the Principles, or that these divestments, because they were of limited economic importance, put no real pressure on the de Klerk regime. From another perspective, how often does the board member of a large corporation succeed in injecting a kind of moral calculus into what's typically a purely economic decision? Maybe it happens more often than I suspect. And perhaps, as you suggest, these fits of morality are easily coopted.

Karen Newton

We are considering adopting a set of "Food Principles" to promote an equitable and health-promoting food and educational system in metro Louisville KY. Did your suggestion for adopting "sullivan-like" principles for funders get any traction?

Albert

Not that I know of. Maybe the idea would work in a more limited geographic area?

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