Bob Massie (politician)

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Bob Massie
Bob Massie May 2011-2.jpg
Born Robert Kinloch Massie IV
(1956-08-17) August 17, 1956 (age 60)
Residence Somerville, MA
Nationality American
Alma mater Princeton University (A.B.); Yale Divinity School (M.Div.); Harvard Business School (D.B.A.)
Known for Ceres Executive Director; Global Reporting Initiative co-founder
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Anne Tate
Children Daughter, two sons
Parent(s) Robert K. Massie, Suzanne Massie

Robert Kinloch "Bob" Massie IV (born 1956) is an American activist and author known for his global leadership on corporate accountability, social justice and climate change. He has created or led several transformative organizations, including Ceres,[1] the Global Reporting Initiative, the Investor Network on Climate Risk, and the New Economy Coalition. His early activism centered on opposition to South Africa's apartheid regime and led to writing the definitive history on the relationship between the US and South Africa in the apartheid era.[2] Internationally, he is best known for creating the Global Reporting Initiative, which changed the structure of corporate accountability in the global economy. He is currently a candidate for the Democratic nomination to be governor of Massachusetts.

Education and early career[edit]

Despite the physical challenges of being born with severe hemophilia, Massie entered Princeton University, graduating magna cum laude in 1978 with a degree in history. As an officer of his alumni class he established the Class of 1978 Foundation, one of the first university foundations to fund direct summer service for students.[3][4]

While at Princeton he became increasingly aware of the importance of politics in civil society, becoming a leader in the student movement for Princeton’s divestiture from South Africa, and closer to home, campaigning for equal access to University dining clubs, many of which did not admit women as members. During this period he also spent three summers and parts of his sophomore year working in the office of U.S. Senator Henry Jackson (D-Washington). While investigating weaknesses in the U.S. blood supply system, he saw firsthand how industry pressures delayed the implementation of critical safety precautions that would have prevented the spread of blood-borne viruses to tens of thousands of patients using blood products.[5] Massie’s concerns were underscored several years later, when he learned he had contracted HIV from contaminated blood products, a diagnosis considered a virtual death sentence at that time.

This diagnosis opened another chapter in Massie’s remarkable medical journey, as it became clear, over the ensuing years, that he was one of the very few HIV patients with native resistance to the disease. His immune response was intensively studied by physician Bruce D. Walker[6] at Massachusetts General Hospital and was the subject of a NOVA documentary in 1999.[7] Walker has pointed to Massie as the person whose immune system launched an entirely new area of international research on HIV.

After graduating from Princeton Massie entered Yale Divinity School, where he concentrated on social and theological ethics, taking a year off to return to Washington to work on issues of corporate responsibility with Public Citizen Congress Watch. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Yale in 1982, and was ordained in the Episcopal Church the following year.

From 1982 to 1984 he worked as an assistant and chaplain at Grace Episcopal Church in New York, co-founding a homeless shelter.

Throughout this period Massie focused more intensively on the vital role of business, for good or ill, in shaping public policy and advancing or retarding economic, social and environmental progress. Determined to better understand and find ways to harness this powerful force, Massie entered Harvard Business School in 1984, on a full scholarship. He completed the core of Harvard’s M.B.A. program as a portion of his doctoral studies, and went on to write his dissertation on how large institutions balance organizational objectives with perceived moral obligations. He received a Doctor of Business Administration from Harvard in 1989.[8]

While a full-time graduate student he also served as a minister at Christ Episcopal Church, a small congregation in the working class city of Somerville, Massachusetts, where he was responsible for preaching every week at Sunday services and ministering to hundreds of parishioners. During this period he also edited the Harvard Business School’s weekly newspaper and served on the Ethics Advisory Committee at Boston Children’s Hospital.


From 1989 to 1996 Massie lectured at Harvard Divinity School, and served as Director of the Project on Business Values and the Economy there, and forging ties between the Business and Divinity School communities.

He participated in the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School in 1991, and that year was also awarded a Henry Luce Fellowship (1991–1993).

In April 1992, alarmed by the increasing threat of global climate change, he organized the first large public meeting on climate change in the Boston area at the Museum of Science, featuring Senator Al Gore as the keynote speaker.

In 1993 Massie received a Senior Fulbright Research Award which enabled him to spend six months in South Africa, lecturing at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business and traveling the country to research a history of the anti-apartheid Movement in which he had participated as a college student. During this trip he met and interviewed major South African leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, National Party leader F. W. de Klerk, and ANC president Nelson Mandela. In 1994 he also served as an official international observer during the first democratic elections in South Africa, and was responsible for voting sites throughout the Western Cape. His book Loosing The Bonds: The United States and South Africa In The Apartheid Years was completed over the next four years, and published by Doubleday in 1997. It won the Lionel Gelber Prize for the Best Book on International Relations in 1998 and was reviewed favorably across the United States, including the New York Times.[9]

In 1994 he won the statewide primary election and became the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts. Although he did not win, the campaign gave him the opportunity to traverse the length and breadth of Massachusetts and to meet thousands of citizens from all walks of life, many of whom would remain partners in subsequent issue-oriented initiatives.[citation needed]

From 1996 to 2003 Massie served as the Executive Director of Ceres, the largest coalition of environmental groups and institutional investors in the United States, increasing that organization’s size and revenue ten-fold during his tenure.

He also proposed and led the creation of the Investor Network on Climate Risk and the Institutional Investor Summit on Climate Risk, a major gathering of public and private sector financial leaders held every two years at UN Headquarters in New York City.[10] At the most recent meeting of the INCR, global investors and pension funds worth more than $22 trillion explored the financial dangers of climate change and pressed for a tripling of investment in clean energy technology to reach an annual goal of $1 trillion a year.[11]

In 1998, in partnership with the United Nations and major U.S. foundations, he co-founded the Global Reporting Initiative with Dr. Allen White of the Tellus Institute, and served as its Chair until 2002.

Ceres and GRI pursue an innovative approach to corporate responsibility which relies on transparency and reputational incentives as opposed to traditional bureaucratic regulation alone. Initially considered impractical, this approach has proven more effective and efficient at improving social, environmental and human rights performance than traditional regulatory methods alone. More than two thousand major corporations and institutional investor groups now voluntarily participate in Ceres and GRI corporate disclosure standards. According to the most recent 2017 database, 10,613 organizations have produced 40,155 reports of which 26,675 are GRI reports.[12]

In 2002, Massie was named one of the 100 most influential people in the field of finance by CFO Magazine.[13] In the same year, he learned that Hepatitis C, contracted from contaminated blood medications used to treat his hemophilia, was causing severe liver damage, and he resigned from Ceres in order to rest and wait for a liver transplant,[14] which he finally received in 2009. During this period, he continued to serve on a number of boards, and was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School.

In 2008, while still gravely ill, he founded and co-chaired the Massachusetts Energy Efficiency Coalition, and led a campaign against slot machine and casino gambling in Massachusetts. In that year he was awarded the Damyanova Prize for Corporate Social Responsibility[15] by the Institute for Global Leadership[16] at Tufts University, and in April, 2009 he received the Joan Bavaria Innovation and Impact Awards for Building Sustainability in Capital Markets.[17] These awards are normally given to separate persons, but in recognition of his global achievements, he was given both.

In 2010 he became an investment advisor to Domini Social Impact Fund, and a member of the Board of the Sustainable Investments Institute (Si2), and a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Hauser Center.

In January 2011, after a successful liver transplant that restored his health completely, Massie declared his candidacy for the United States Senate[18][19] and began actively campaigning for the Democratic nomination for that office. In April 2011, noted Democratic strategist Joe Trippi joined the Massie campaign.[20] But Massie ended his campaign on October 7, citing the entrance of Elizabeth Warren into the race.[21]

In March 2012, Massie became the president of the New Economy Coalition, then called the New Economics Institute,[22] an organization dedicated to moving the American economy towards greater justice and sustainability. He stepped down from being the coalition's president in October 2014.

His autobiography, A Song in the Night: A Memoir of Resilience, was published in 2012 by Nan Talese/Doubleday books.[23] He has shared a shorter version of his story in dozens of settings, including at Grand Rounds lectures at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School (ten times), and annually to classes of graduating seniors at Harvard Medical School.

In 2012, Massie began advising and speaking out for the campaign to divest from Fossil fuels. In May 2014, Massie called on Harvard University to divest its endowment from fossil fuel corporations in an op-ed for The Harvard Crimson.[24] Also, he was still devoting his time to the New Economy Coalition.[25]

In November 2015 Massie was appointed the executive director of the Sustainable Solutions Lab (SSL) at UMass Boston. Created by the deans of the School for the Environment, the College of Management, the College of Liberal Arts, and the John McCormack Graduate School for Policy and Global Studies, SSL has launched a strong drive to unite Boston area faculty and organizations concerned with social justice and resilience with those who are working on physical resilience against climate change with the premise that money spent to combat the effects of climate change and sea level rise should also benefit communities in need.

Gubernatorial nomination campaign[edit]

On May 16, 2017, Massie formally kicked off his campaign for the Democratic nomination as the Governor of Massachusetts in 2018. He is running on a platform of climate change initiatives, workers' rights and economic equality, and progressive causes.[26]

Personal life[edit]

Massie is the son of historians Robert K. Massie, winner of the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for biography;[27] and Suzanne Massie, who played a key role in forming the relationship between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, which led to the end of the Cold War.[28][29]

Massie was born on August 17, 1956, with severe classic hemophilia, an inherited blood disorder affecting one in 5,000 males in the United States. In the process of learning to manage this condition, his parents began to study its history, which led to Robert Massie Sr.'s book Nicholas and Alexandra (1967), a biography of Tsar Nicholas II and his family, produced as an Academy Award winning film four years later. Massie's parents also wrote a more personal account of their son's challenges, titled Journey (Knopf, 1975), of which Time Magazine wrote, "Its portrait of Bobby Massie's enduring courage and the decency and devotion of those who helped him makes Journey a remarkable human document."[30] He suffered from brutally painful joint bleeds and spent much of his childhood in a wheelchair.

One consequence of the family's struggle with hemophilia was a heightened awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of the U.S. health care system, its pivotal importance, and its potentially devastating costs. The family moved to France in 1968, where Massie’s healthcare was covered by the French government system. He improved there, regained the use of both legs and learned to self-administer injections of clotting factor. The family returned to the US after four years. He managed the illness with regular injections, yet was still plagued by bleedings and regularly used a wheelchair.

In 1984 he was told his blood tests showed he had contracted HIV, back in 1978, from his injections. At the time the disease was considered a death sentence. He continued to live his life fully waiting for signs of the sickness. By 1994 he was one of the longest survivors with HIV and offered his case to Dr. Bruce Walker at MGH for review. Extensive study of Massie’s blood has contributed to research and treatment studies around the world. In 1996 and 2002 Massie had surgeries to replace his knee joints, damaged from the repetitive joint bleeds. In late 2002, suffering from persistent exhaustion, he was diagnosed with liver damage from Hepatitis C, also contracted through blood products. This illness proved a much more stubborn adversary than the hemophilia and HIV, eventually requiring him to step down from his roles at Ceres and GRI[15]and retire for nearly seven years to wait for a transplant, at that time the only cure.

In June 2009, Massie finally received a long-awaited liver transplant, in an innovative “domino transplant” procedure performed at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta which cured not only his Hepatitis C, but also his hemophilia. (The clotting factor is produced in the liver.)[31][32] The impact on his health was immediate and dramatic.

After graduation from Yale he met and married Dana Robert[33] with whom he had two sons, Sam (b. 1987), and John (b. 1989). The couple divorced in 1995. In 1996 Massie married Anne Tate, an architect and professor at Rhode Island School of Design,[34] with whom he has a daughter, Katherine (b. 1998).


  1. ^ "Boston nonprofit Ceres stresses green effort - Its philosophy: Good environmental policy is good for business". The Boston Globe. 2015-02-01. Retrieved 2017-05-05. 
  2. ^ "Loosing the Bonds: The United States and South Africa in the Apartheid Years, review by Gail M. Gerhart". Foreign Affairs. 1998-07-01. Retrieved 2017-05-05. 
  3. ^ "OIP: Princeton Funding". 2011-06-23. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  4. ^ "Princeton University Class of 1978". 2011-04-01. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  5. ^ Russell, Lisa (1995). "The inadequate response of the FDA to the crisis of AIDS in the blood supply". Harvard Law School. Retrieved 2017-05-06. 
  6. ^ "HHMI Scientist Bio: Bruce D. Walker, M.D". Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  7. ^ "NOVA | Transcripts | Surviving AIDS". PBS. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  8. ^ "June 2002 - Alumni Bulletin - Harvard Business School". 2002-06-01. Retrieved 2017-05-07. 
  9. ^ Wheatcroft, Geoffrey (January 11, 1998). "Loosing the Bonds Book Review in The New York Times". 
  10. ^ Walsh, Bryan (January 15, 2010). "After Copenhagen, Getting Business into Green Tech". Time. 
  11. ^ "Global investors mobilize action in wake of Paris Climate Agreement". United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. January 27, 2016. 
  12. ^ "GRI Sustainability Disclosure Database". Retrieved 2017-05-06. 
  13. ^ "The Global 100: Investors - Cover Story". 2002-06-25. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  14. ^ "CERES Executive Director Bob Massie steps down – Press Releases on". 2003-01-29. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  15. ^ "Damyanova Award to Robert Massie". Retrieved 2017-05-09. 
  16. ^ "Institute for Global Leadership". Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  17. ^ "Robert Massie Honored – Twice – for Long String of Achievements in Building a Sustainable Global Economy — Ceres". 2009-04-14. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  18. ^ "Broadside: Bob Massie on Senate campaign". 2011-05-11. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  19. ^ Loth, Renee (January 16, 2011). "The timely return of Bob Massie". The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 5, 2017. 
  20. ^ Goodison, Donna (2011-04-26). "Joe Trippi joins Robert Massie campaign". Retrieved 2017-05-09. 
  21. ^ "Bob Massie drops out of U.S. Senate race". 2017-10-07. Retrieved 2017-05-09. 
  22. ^ "Bob Massie, President and CEO". New Economics Institute. Retrieved 2017-05-09. 
  23. ^ "A Song In The Night". Random House Inc. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  24. ^ "Even the Bricks Cry Out: It's Time for Harvard to Divest". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 2014-05-28. 
  25. ^ Confino, Jo. "Driving social and environmental justice into the heart of the US economy". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  26. ^ Andersen, Travis (2017-05-17). "Democrat Robert Massie kicks off campaign to unseat Charlie Baker". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2017-05-17. 
  27. ^ cite |url=
  28. ^ Mann, James (2009). The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan: A History of the End of the Cold War. Penguin Group. 
  29. ^ "Agent of Influence". Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  30. ^ "Books: Blood Will Tell". Time. May 19, 1975. 
  31. ^ "Transplant Press Release". 
  32. ^ "Transplant TV clip". 
  33. ^ "Dana Robert » Religion and Conflict Transformation » Boston University". 2011-06-23. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  34. ^ "Anne Tate; Faculty; Architecture; RISD". Retrieved 2017-05-09. 

External links[edit]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Blogs for Harvard Business Review, Murninghan Post, Blue Mass Group, Volans, and many other websites.
  • "Accounting and Accountability," in Robert Eccles et al., The Landscape of Integrated Reporting (Boston: Harvard Business School, 2010)
  • “God’s Restless Servant,” in Befriending Life: Encounters with Henri Nouwen (New York: Doubleday, 2001)
  • “Effective Codes of Conduct: Lessons from the Sullivan and CERES Principles” in Oliver Williams, Ed. Global Codes of Conduct: An Idea Whose Time Has Come (Notre Dame University Press, 2000)
  • Book review of biography of Nelson Mandela, Los Angeles Times Book Review, May 1998
  • Loosing the Bonds: The United States and South Africa in the Apartheid Years (New York: Doubleday, 1998)
  • “Local Churches in the New South Africa,” Journal of Theology for Southern Africa, December 1993
  • “Understanding Corruption,” Die Suid-Afrikaan, (the leading liberal Afrikaner magazine, published in Cape Town), August–September 1993
  • “Corporate Democracy and the Legacy of Divestment,” The Christian Century, July 24–31, 1991
  • “From Prophets to Profits,” Manhattan, Inc. (August 1985)
  • “Setting Their Lives in Motion,” New York Times Sunday Magazine, April 1979

Selected addresses and projects[edit]

  • Participation in numerous events related to the formation and development of UN Secretary General’s Global Compact; discussion leader at 2002 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in New York
  • “The Future of Wealth on Earth” – plenary speech to the Local Authorities Pension Fund Forum, Bolton, England, 2001
  • “The Future of Sustainability Reporting,” speech to joint symposium organized by the Japanese Environment Agency, the Global Environmental Forum, the Environmental Auditing Research Group, Tokyo, Japan, November 2000
  • “The Global Reporting Initiative in a South Asian Context,” keynote speech at symposia organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry, the Centre for Science and the Environment, and eight other organizations, Delhi and Mumbai, India, September 2000
  • Testimony on the Global Compact to the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, United Nations, July 2000
  • “Christianity and the Environment,” series of talks and sermon (on the book of Jonah) given as part of the Grace Church (NYC) Parish weekend, October 1998
  • “We Become What We Believe,” address to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, February 24, 1998
  • “The Poetry of the Possible,” speech to 1,200 General Motors environmental engineers and plant managers, General Motors World Headquarters, Detroit, September 1997
  • “The Hidden Moral Language of Organizations,” the 1995 William and Rita Bell Lecture in Anglican and Ecumenical Studies, University of Tulsa, October 1995
  • “The Impact of Sanctions on the South African Economy,” series of lectures at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business, March–April 1993
  • "Fairness and Forgiveness in the Parables of Jesus,” six part sermon series, Church of All Angels, Twilight Park, New York, summer 1992
  • “The Renewal of Reverence: Theological Education in the Environmental Era,” address to the Boston Theological Institute, Boston Museum of Science, April 1992
  • “Divided Loyalties: Moral Integrity in Complex Organizations” at the annual conference of the Institute for Servant Leadership, Kanuga Conference Center, Hendersonville, North Carolina, October 1991
  • “The Structure of Moral Accountability in Large Organizations,” lecture to the Program in Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship, Tufts University, December 1990
  • “The Implications of Economic Globalization for the Twenty-First Century Church,” Introduction to Theological Education for Ministry, Harvard Divinity School, November 1990