Cornell University

Catherwood Library

Catherwood Library, Ives Hall, 607-255-5435

Question of the Month

From the Catherwood Library reference librarians

June 2005

PLEASE NOTE: The Reference Question of the Month is kept current only during the month for which it was written. Archived questions will not be updated, and over time may contain inaccurate information or broken web links. We provide archived questions as a service, since much of the information will remain accurate and of continued interest to the ILR community.

Question: Where can I find information on socially responsible companies?

Answer: One of the best resources for obtaining information on business ethics and corporate social responsibility is SOCRATES, the Corporate Social Ratings Monitor. SOCRATES is a comprehensive social research database with information on over 3,000 companies. SOCRATES provides data on the involvement of corporations in areas such as military contracting, charitable contributions, women and minority directors and managers, union representation, and superfund/hazardous waste sites. It also provides access to lists of publicly traded firms that manufacture alcohol or tobacco products or that are associated with such things as the nuclear power or gambling industries.

The database is available at both the Catherwood and Management Library.

In addition to SOCRATES, a couple of websites that provide information on corporate social responsibility are:

  • Business Ethics Online: The Magazine of Corporate Responsibility
    The electronic version of Business Ethics includes selected full-text articles, a business ethics directory, and a calendar of events.
    U.S. publicly-held companies must file certain documents electronically with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). EDGAR, the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system provides electronic access to these documents. Filings including 10-K (Annual Report), 10-Q (Quarterly Report), 8-K (Material Events), Proxy Statements, Initial Public Offerings, Beneficial Ownership Statements and Registration Statements. These reports can provide information on company investments, partnerships, and more.
  • Open Secrets
    Open Secrets is maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan, non-profit research group based in Washington, D.C. that tracks money in politics, and its effect on elections and public policy. The web site allows users to search presidential and congressional races by politician, donor, PACs, industries, soft money, lobbyists and geographic area, providing detailed information for each candidate.