The CSR Newsletters are a freely-available resource generated as a dynamic complement to the textbook, Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Sustainable Value Creation.

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Monday, November 27, 2017

Strategic CSR - Pensions

The article in the url below discusses one of the consequences in the U.S. of failing to provide citizens with access to universal healthcare (and preventative medicine, nutrition advice, healthy food, etc., etc.):
 
"Steady improvements in American life expectancy have stalled, and more Americans are dying at younger ages. But for companies straining under the burden of their pension obligations, the distressing trend could have a grim upside: If people don't end up living as long as they were projected to just a few years ago, their employers ultimately won't have to pay them as much in pension and other lifelong retirement benefits."
 
If this trend continues, corporations will be saved from the inept decision-making of executives over decades regarding company pension plans. Rather than having to correct those mistakes that have led to woefully under-funded plans with insufficient resources to pay commitments made, perhaps the amount of money they need to set aside will fall to match the lower life expectancies of plan participants:
 
"In 2015, the American death rate—the age-adjusted share of Americans dying—rose slightly for the first time since 1999. And over the last two years, at least 12 large companies, from Verizon to General Motors, have said recent slips in mortality improvement have led them to reduce their estimates for how much they could owe retirees by upward of a combined $9.7 billion, according to a Bloomberg analysis of company filings. 'Revised assumptions indicating a shortened longevity,' for instance, led Lockheed Martin to adjust its estimated retirement obligations downward by a total of about $1.6 billion for 2015 and 2016, it said in its most recent  annual report."
 
Note the reference to "shortened longevity," which is the polite way of saying our employees are dying earlier. I wonder if that has anything to do with the way they were treated during their working lives?
 
Take care
David
 
 
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Americans Are Dying Younger, Saving Corporations Billions
By John Tozzi
August 8, 2017
Bloomberg Businessweek