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Although corporate social responsibility (CSR) has gone “mainstream,” the relationship between CSR and corporate political activities (CPA) has received little scholarly attention. This is problematic because firms potentially have a more sizable impact through their lobbying activities for socially and environmentally beneficial (or unbeneficial) public policies than through their own operations. This paper investigates if, and how, UN Global Compact signatory firms differ in their policy preferences on key EU proposals compared to other interest groups. To capture state-of-the-art data on firms’ policy preferences, I draw from the INTEREURO database, which includes firms’ lobbying positions on forty-three directives and twenty-seven regulations covering 112 public policy issues in the European Union. Statistical results show that Global Compact signatory firms significantly lobby for stricter regulation than non-signatory firms and industry associations, however, their positions are still lower than nonbusiness groups. These results are similar across various public policy issues and suggest that the regulatory preferences of firms’ participating in soft law CSR initiatives are more aligned with stakeholders' interests. This paper contributes to public policy literature exploring the relationship between hard and soft law as well as literature studying the political representation of divergent interest.
Maternal psychopathology during pregnancy is associated with negative outcomes in offspring. Increased placental transfer of maternal cortisol may contribute to mediate this association. Hair cortisol concentrations (HCCs) appear to be a good biomarker of long-term prenatal stress exposure. Little is known about the associations between severe maternal psychopathology and perinatal infant HCCs.
We assessed HCCs in the perinatal period in mother–infant dyads with and without severe psychiatric disorders.
We examined group differences in HCCs of mother–infant dyads (n = 18) subjected to severe maternal psychiatric disorders versus healthy control dyads (n = 27). We assessed the correlation of HCCs between mother and infant within both groups, and the association between current maternal symptoms and HCCs in patient dyads.
Median (interquartile range) and distribution of HCC differed in patients compared with control mothers (U = 468.5, P = 0.03). HCCs in infants of patients did not differ from control infants (U = 250.0, P = 0.67). Subsequently, we found that HCCs within healthy control dyads were correlated (n = 27, r 0.55 (0.14), P = 0.003), but were not within patient dyads (n = 18, r 0.082 (0.13), P = 0.746). HCCs in infants of patients showed a positive correlation with maternal symptoms (n = 16, r = 0.63 (0.06), P = 0.008).
These preliminary findings suggest that infant HCC reflect perinatal stress exposure. In infants, these early differences could influence lifetime hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis functioning, which might be associated with increased susceptibility to later disease.
This case report describes a patient on tranylcypromine who erroneously received a single dose of imipramine and subsequently developed a fatal serotonin syndrome. Both the clinical features and the pathophysiology of the serotonin syndrome are discussed.
Surface melt on the coastal Antarctic ice sheet (AIS) determines the viability of its ice shelves and the stability of the grounded ice sheet, but very few in situ melt rate estimates exist to date. Here we present a benchmark dataset of in situ surface melt rates and energy balance from nine sites in the eastern Antarctic Peninsula (AP) and coastal Dronning Maud Land (DML), East Antarctica, seven of which are located on AIS ice shelves. Meteorological time series from eight automatic and one staffed weather station (Neumayer), ranging in length from 15 months to almost 24 years, serve as input for an energy-balance model to obtain consistent surface melt rates and energy-balance results. We find that surface melt rates exhibit large temporal, spatial and process variability. Intermittent summer melt in coastal DML is primarily driven by absorption of shortwave radiation, while non-summer melt events in the eastern AP occur during föhn events that force a large downward directed turbulent flux of sensible heat. We use the in situ surface melt rate dataset to evaluate melt rates from the regional atmospheric climate model RACMO2 and validate a melt product from the QuikSCAT satellite.
There is robust evidence that compromised parenting, stemming from persistently high stress, mediates the impact of war and displacement on children's mental health and psychosocial wellbeing. Parenting interventions generally prioritize the acquisition of parenting knowledge and skills, while under-attending to parental stress and distress. This paper describes the development of the Caregiver Support Intervention (CSI), a nine-session group intervention for conflict-affected parents of children aged 3–13, that aims to strengthen parenting both indirectly, by lowering stress and improving psychosocial wellbeing among parents, and directly, by increasing knowledge and skill related to positive parenting.
We describe the multi-phase, iterative process by which we developed the CSI, and illustrate the essential role of community input in shaping the intervention and strengthening its cultural fit and perceived usefulness. We used focus group data from participants in successive cycles of implementation, feedback, and revision, as well as quantitative data and expert consultation to develop a culturally and empirically grounded intervention.
This mixed-method, iterative approach to intervention development enabled us to develop a psychosocial intervention for conflict-affected caregivers that is feasible, acceptable, and perceived by participants as useful in addressing their own wellbeing and their parenting. Focus group data support the underlying model in which caregiver wellbeing powerfully influences parenting.
Programs aimed at strengthening parenting in conflict-affected communities should substantively address caregiver wellbeing. An iterative approach incorporating community feedback can help ensure intervention acceptability and feasibility. We also illustrate the feasibility of involving men in parenting interventions.
Economic margins on pig farms are small, and changing slaughter weights may increase farm profitability. However, one can question if the optimal slaughter weight is the same for each sex. On three farms, crossbred pigs (n = 1128) were used to determine the effect of sex and slaughter weight on performance, carcass quality and gross margin per pig place per year. On each farm, an equal number of entire males (EMs), barrows (BAs), immunocastrates (IC) and gilts (GIs) were housed separately in group pens. Pens were randomly divided into three categories of different slaughter weights: 105, 117 and 130 kg BW. In BA, the high average daily feed intake (ADFI) and the lower capacity to gain muscle led to a higher feed conversion ratio (FCR) and lower lean meat percentage in comparison to EM and IC. In all sexes, ADFI and FCR increased with an increasing slaughter weight but the effect of slaughter weight on carcass quality varied between sexes. In BA and GI, slaughter weight had no effect on carcass quality, but in EM and IC, carcass quality improved at higher slaughter weights. Gross margin per pig place per year was calculated as gross margin per pig × barn turnover per year, taking into account fixed costs per round, feed costs and output price per pig. The slaughter weight that gained the highest gross margin per year differed between sexes. Slaughtering BA and GI at 130 kg BW, compared to 105 or 117 kg BW, decreased the gross margin per pig place per year due to the lower margin per pig and barn turnover at higher weights. In IC and EM, no difference in gross margin per pig place per year could be demonstrated between slaughtering at 105, 117 or 130 kg BW. In IC, the increasing gross margin per pig with increasing slaughter weights counteracted with the lower barn turnover. In EM, gross margin per pig did not differ between slaughter weights, but the effect of barn turnover was too small to demonstrate significant differences between slaughter weights on gross margin per pig place per year. In conclusion, slaughter weight has an impact on profitability in BA and GI: they should not be slaughtered at 130 kg BW but at lower weights, but no effect could be demonstrated in EM and IC.
The simple answer to this question is: “No, he wasn’t. Hermes never existed as a historical person and, for that reason, cannot possibly have been a prophet of Christianity.” The truth of this answer cannot be contested, but nevertheless it is too limited. The late antique and medieval view that Hermes had been a teacher of divine wisdom in Egypt's remote past was incorrect, indeed. There is no place for him in the kind of history that deals with verifiable facts about a person's life and death and the world he lived in, but if we look at him from the perspective of the history of ideas, then this mythical figure was, and for many people even still is, an inspiring teacher of a strong religious view of the world. Hermes never lived but is still very much alive.
The belief that in pre-Christian Egypt Hermes had prophesied some typically Christian doctrines was in fact a rather late offshoot of a very complicated tradition, of which only a brief outline can be given here. The first centuries of our era saw the appearance of a great number of religiophilosophical writings that were attributed to Hermes Trismegistus. These are usually called the “philosophical Hermetica,” in contrast to another group of texts that also circulated under his name and dealt with magic, astrology and alchemy, the so-called “technical (or: practical) Hermetica.” The best-known treatises of the first group are the seventeen tractates of the Greek Corpus Hermeticum (henceforth CH) and the lengthy Latin Asclepius, but there are also many fragments of unknown books that are quoted by Greek and Latin authors. In the second half of the last century, new fragments and even complete previously unknown books came to light, of which the Coptic Discourse on the Eighth and the Ninth Sphere and the Armenian Definitions of Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius are the most important. There is nothing typically Christian in these writings. As a matter of fact, Hermetism was a characteristic product of the “Late Pagan Mind” (Fowden). It taught a holistic vision of the universe, based upon the idea of an indissoluble interrelationship between God, the cosmos and the human being. As will become evident in the course of this chapter, the core elements of Hermetic teaching and practice that were based on this view were irreconcilable with those of Christianity.
Genetic evaluation of Piétrain sires in Flanders occurs under standardized conditions, on test stations with fixed dam breeds, standardized diets and uniform management practices. As environmental conditions vary on commercial farms and differ from the test stations, this study aimed at understanding to what extent the sire, the dam breed and the interaction between both affects the translation of breeding values to practice. Dams of two commercial breeds were inseminated with semen from one of five different sires selected for contrasting breeding values (daily gain, feed conversion ratio and carcass quality). For each sire by dam breed combination, six pen replicates (with three gilts and three barrows per pen) were evaluated for growth performance from 9 weeks of age (20 kg) to slaughter (110 kg), and for carcass and meat quality. In our experimental setup, both sire and dam breed affected growth, carcass and meat quality traits. No significant sire×dam breed interactions on performance could be detected. Though a tendency for interaction on average daily feed intake between 20 and 110 kg (P=0.087), and on pork colour (lightness) (P=0.093) was present. In general, offspring of all tested sires behaved similarly in both dam breeds, indicating that estimated breeding values for Piétrain sires determined in one dam breed are representative in other dam breeds as well.
This article examines the relationship between the global financial crisis and Corporate Social Responsibility reporting of financial services firms. We challenge the view in existing studies that firms, when faced with economic hardship, tend to jettison CSR commitments. Instead, and building on insights regarding the institutional determinants of CSR, we argue that firms are constrained in their ability to abandon CSR by the extent to which they are subject to intense public scrutiny by regulators and the news media. We test this argument in the context of the European sovereign debt crisis drawing on a unique dataset of 170 firms in 15 different countries over a six-year period. Controlling for a battery of alternative explanations and comparing financial service providers to firms operating in other economic sectors, we find considerable evidence supporting our argument. Rather than abandoning CSR during times of economic hardship, financial industry firms ramp up their CSR commitments in order to manage their public image and foster public trust in light of intense public scrutiny.
The impact that providing care to ageing parents has on adult children's lives may depend on the long-term care (LTC) context. A common approach to test this is to compare whether the impact of care-giving varies between countries with different LTC coverage. However, this approach leaves considerable room for omitted variable bias. We use individual fixed-effects analyses to reduce bias in the estimates of the effects of informal care-giving on quality of life, and combine this with a difference-in-difference approach to reduce bias in the estimated moderating impact of LTC coverage on these effects. We draw on longitudinal data for Sweden and Denmark from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) collected between 2004 and 2015. Both countries traditionally had generous LTC coverage, but cutbacks were implemented at the end of the 20th century in Sweden and more recently in Denmark. We use this country difference in the timing of the cutbacks to shed light on effects of LTC coverage on the impact care-giving has on quality of life. Our analyses show that care-giving was more detrimental for quality of life in Sweden than in Denmark, and this difference weakened significantly when LTC coverage was reduced in Denmark, but not in Sweden. This suggests that LTC coverage shapes the impact of care-giving on quality of life.
During growth, pigs convert plant protein into animal protein. The major part of the ingested protein is excreted via manure, with potential nitrogen (N) losses to the environment. To limit N losses and increase sustainability of pork production, the efficiency of protein conversion should be maximized. The aim of this paper is to critically evaluate diet and management strategies linked with N efficiency. Besides nutrition, we discuss three management strategies observed in science and in practice to be linked with improved N efficiency: genetic selection, castration and slaughter weight. Because diet has a marked effect on eventual N losses, it must also be taken into account when evaluating management strategies. A reductionist approach, such as feeding the same diet across all management treatments, may overestimate the effect of a management strategy and eventually lead to incorrect conclusions. The amount of excreted N depends on the amount of ingested N, the amount of absorbed N, the amino acid (AA) balance in the diet and the animal’s N and AA requirements. Daily multiphase feeding adapted to the individual animal’s AA needs is likely to be the most N efficient. For animals housed in groups, phase feeding is necessary. When combined with periods of temporary AA restriction, N efficiency can be further improved. Specific AA consumption must be balanced by applying the ideal protein concept. With better knowledge of the requirements of individual animals and the commercial availability of certain AAs, the total dietary CP level can be lowered within limits. Further research is needed on the minimal CP level that allows maximal performance. For this end a useful parameter may be the ratio of standardized ileal digestible (SID) lysine : apparent total tract digestible CP level. By combining optimal nutrition and management, a whole body N efficiency approaching 60% may be achievable in the near future.
Recent long-term care (LTC) reforms in the Netherlands are illustrative of those taking place in countries with a universalistic LTC model based on extensive provision of state-supported services. They entail a shift from de-familialisation, in which widely available state-supported LTC services relieve family members from the obligations to care for relatives in need, to supported familialism, in which family involvement in care-giving is fostered through support and recognition for families in keeping up their caring responsibilities. Using data from four waves of the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study (N = 2,197), we show that between 2002 and 2014 the predicted probability that adult children provide occasional household support to impaired parents rose substantially. Daughters more often provided household support to parents than did sons, but no increase in the gender gap over time was found. We could not attribute the increase in children's provision of household support to drops in the use of state-supported household services. The finding that more and more adult children are stepping in to help their ageing parents fits a more general trend in the Netherlands of increasing interactions in intergenerational families.