The ICCR Legacy Award was created to honor those whose work has provided a strong moral foundation and an enduring record of demonstrated influence on corporate policies. The award was created in 2011 as a celebration of the 40th anniversary of ICCR.
The 2023 Legacy Award
The governing board of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility is delighted to announce that the winner of its 2023 Legacy Award is Steven Heim, Director of ESG Research/Shareholder Engagement at Boston Common Asset Management.
The ICCR Legacy Award was created to honor those whose work has provided a strong moral foundation and an enduring record of demonstrated influence on corporate policies. For nearly three decades, Steven has demonstrated his personal and professional commitment to sustainability and inclusion through the process of stakeholder engagement and sustained investor dialogue with corporate leadership.
Forward-thinking, principled, and technologically educated, Steven has brought “head and heart” to every engagement, gaining the respect and trust of corporate leaders at the highest levels, while also building a broad and effective coalition of engaged investors through his involvement at ICCR and other investor coalitions.
Said Sarah Teslik, President, Values Management and Investing, “My father taught us that people we may never know will depend on the care and love with which we do our work. Steven’s life and work embody that care, love, and the breadth of the people who have never known him and whose lives he has touched. For, despite his quiet demeanor, he, almost single-handedly revolutionized shareholder engagement and corporate practices, never objecting when others took the credit but achieving a great deal more than thousands of the louder efforts that have followed. He is the gold of the golden age of governance.”
Said Geeta Aiyer, President & Founder of Boston Common Asset Management, “Steven has the rare ability to confront and influence complex emerging issues from hydraulic fracturing to the toxicity challenge of solar-panel-disposal. He has helped create transformative metrics and guidance for oil and gas companies to measure previously unmonitored emissions. Using his thoughtful approach and engineering mindset, Steven expertly anticipates and plans for the technical issues posed by our urgent need for transition to a more sustainable future.”
Steven has brought an awareness that rises beyond sector-relative thinking to highlight how industry and investors must respond to moral choices and trade-offs. This has been most evident in his longstanding and ongoing commitment to preserving the rights and cultural survival of Native Americans and Indigenous Peoples in many sectors. Steven has long advocated for free, prior, informed consent in financial decision-making (Equator Principles), worked to protect land and water from extractive industry activity (Repsol), and stood against demeaning portrayals of Native Americans in sports (Washington football team) and restaurant chains (“cigar store Indians” at Applebee’s).
Since 2007, Steven’s leadership with the Investors & Indigenous Peoples Working Group (IIPWG) helped secure U.S. endorsement of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; persuade the Washington NFL team to retire its racist name and logo; and amass trillions of dollars of investor support globally to ensure Indigenous Peoples rights, including the right to free, prior and informed consent are recognized and addressed in corporate policy and behavior.
“Spanning three decades, Steven’s acute, compassionate, and tireless work exemplifies the persistence and constancy necessary for investor and shareholder advocacy to center Indigenous Peoples’ rights and wellbeing,” said Kate R. Finn, Executive Director of First Peoples Worldwide, which serves as Secretariat for IIPWG. “Steven’s keen ability to understand the issues and impacts on Indigenous Peoples and how that translates to risk to companies, and his priority to seek direction from Indigenous Peoples themselves are fundamental strategies to ensure Indigenous leadership can move their priorities in shareholder and corporate engagements. We are grateful for all that Steven has achieved and continues to work towards, and congratulate him on this much-deserved recognition from the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.”
Steven has a thoughtful and collaborative approach to creating long-term change in corporate practices. ICCR members have benefitted from his dialogue approach and his desire to have the right stakeholders at the table including NGOs, Indigenous Peoples, and in roundtables, other companies to contribute to shared learning. This is most clearly seen in his approach to engaging ConocoPhillips over the past 15 years, which resulted in the company adopting a human rights policy that recognizes the rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Said Christina Herman, ICCR’s Senior Program Director for Climate and the Environment, “Steven believes deeply in working toward a regenerative economy that brings inclusive prosperity and never tires of reminding us that we need to design and build it right! He has lived his belief that it is essential to focus thoughtfully on the future we are building, even as we undo the harms of past choices. His work with the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition to plan for the “end-of-life” disposal of solar panels, and his work with genuinely regenerative agriculture are just two examples of his having engaged with future-appropriate solutions.”
Steven will be receiving the Legacy Award at our annual event on Thursday, October 5th in NYC. Please join us in congratulating Steven for his remarkable impact and enduring legacy to catalyze corporate change.
Past recipients include:
Donna Meyer, Ph.D.(2022)
Rev. David Schilling (2021)
Susan Smith Makos (2020)
Frank Coleman (2019)
Sr. Judy Byron, OP of the Adrian Dominican Sisters and Sr. Susan Vickers, RSM of the Sisters of Mercy (2018)
Sr. Patricia Daly, OP and Fr. Michael Crosby, OFM Cap. (2017)
Timothy Smith and Bill Somplatsky-Jarman (2016)
Sr. Nora Nash (2014)
Sr. Barbara Aires and Vidette Bullock Mixon (2013)
Sr. Pat Marshall (2012)
Sr. Valerie Heinonen and Paul Neuhauser (2011)