CSR News Stories

Has Volkswagen's cheating brought the CSR movement into disrepute?

A few years ago, I made a prediction that some time in the following five years, a CSR champion – probably a sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index – would "suffer a scandal serious enough to add weight to the CSR sceptics". Arguably, that has now happened with the revelation that people at Volkswagen deliberately cheated emissions tests so their vehicles could pollute more heavily than legally permitted and thereby damage people's health.

Has Volkswagen's cheating brought the CSR movement into disrepute?

A few years ago, I made a prediction that some time in the following five years, a CSR champion – probably a sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index – would "suffer a scandal serious enough to add weight to the CSR sceptics". Arguably, that has now happened with the revelation that people at Volkswagen deliberately cheated emissions tests so their vehicles could pollute more heavily than legally permitted and thereby damage people's health.

Paul Polman, CEO Unilever

Unilever says that brands with a passion for sustainability outperform the rest

Paul Polman, chief executive of Unilever, has said that the company's brands which have the strongest commitment to sustainability as part of their overall brand identity have shown stronger sales growth than the rest. "These brands accounted for half the company's growth in 2014 and grew at twice the rate of the rest of the business," he said, showing that consumers are increasingly demanding socially responsible products.

photo of cash

UK: Christian Aid attacks 'responsible' firms over tax haven subsidiaries

Christian Aid, the UK charity with a track record of attacking the CSR movement amongst businesses, has released a report accusing many of the key companies "that claim to be driving corporate responsibility" of secrecy because of subsidiaries in tax havens.

BT headquarters

UK: BBC and BT named as having most responsible pension schemes

A new league table looking at socially responsible practices amongst workplace pension schemes has named the BBC and BT for having the most active approach to looking at the social and environmental impact of their investments. On the flip side, Rolls Royce and GlaxoSmithKline were shamed as laggards in this area.

Photo of smoke from a steel mill

CEOs struggling to make the business case for Sustainability

According to the United Nations Global Compact, chief executives are finding it progressively harder to make the case for substantial action on sustainability. They are increasingly looking toward governments for active policy leadership.

Empty shelves - panic buying

UK: Warning that lean business models present huge national risk

'Just-in-time' business models that lead companies to expect supplies to arrive just when needed, eliminating all reserves, have grown to the point where they represent a major national risk, according to a report by Chatham House.

AccountAbility hits back at 'untenable' standards board

The management of embattled standards organisation AccountAbility has issued a letter to stakeholders attacking the actions of its own AA1000 Standards Board following the collective resignation of that group earlier this week.

AA1000 standards board collectively resigns

The Standards Board that oversees the AA1000 standard has announced that it has collectively resigned over loss of trust between it and the directors of Accountability. This had arisen following changes to the business model of AccountAbility and how this leaves the standard as a 'public good' shaped by stakeholder governance.

Photo of stock exchange

China: Hang Seng launches corporate sustainability index

Hang Seng Indexes has become the latest to launch a series of sustainability indices, covering Hong Kong and Chinese companies. The aims of the index series is to "further raise awareness about corporate sustainability" as well as to meet international demand for socially responsible investment in Chinese companies.

Chocolate

UK unions and lawmakers criticize Kraft CEO

British union leaders and lawmakers lashed out at Kraft Inc. Chief Executive Irene Rosenfeld for failing to appear before an inquiry on the U.S. company's takeover of British confectioner Cadbury on Tuesday. The Unite union also criticized Rosenfeld for failing to meet directly with workers at Cadbury sites across the country to reassure them about the company's plans after it backtracked on a promise to keep open a local factory.

Photo of stock exchange

Indonesia: New eco investment index launched

The Indonesian stock exchange has launched a new investment index based on the social and environmental performance of companies.

Jordan

Jordan: CSR advocacy body launched

A new body to promote business engagement with the local community has been launched as the National Forum for Social Responsibility. It brings together 50 public, private and civil society founding members.

Water droplets

Larger firms more likely to have CSR policies - study

Companies with a turnover of more than 50m UK pounds are twice as likely to have established policies on corporate social responsibility and diversity, according to new research by KPMG on its own suppliers.

King Abdullah

Saudi Arabia: King Abdullah calls for corporate social responsibility

King Abdullah has urged an ongoing partnership between public and private sectors to boost social responsibility in Saudi Arabia. The message from the King, delivered at the opening of a three day corporate social responsibility conference, said that the time had come to make social responsibility a reality "not just a rhetoric by the (business) elite".

Cluster bombs

Norway: State investment fund shuns Textron and Barrick Gold

Textron, which owns plane manufacturer Cessna, and mining firm Barrick Gold, have become the latest companies to be blacklisted for ethical reasons by the $300bn Norwegian state investment fund.

Nicolas Sarkozy

France: Sarkozy / Blair summit to look at ethics in business

A summit of political leaders and economists, led by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and former UK prime minister Tony Blair, will focus on how the world can strengthen the ethical basis of the capitalist system.

Business ethics

US: Top businesses join ethics initiative

In response to the widespread crisis of confidence in the ethics of big business, seventeen major corporations have joined the Business Ethics Leadership Alliance. The companies, which include Wal-Mart, General Electric, Dell, PepsiCo and Accenture, between them represent nearly $1 trillion turnover.

photo of cash

US: Environmental programmes provide financial returns for majority

Three-quarters of businesses that have solid corporate social responsibility programmes are seeing financial returns, particularly as a result of achieving environmental goals, according to a new report by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Arabia CSR Awards

United Arab Emirates: ABB wins first CSR award

ABB UAE has won the award for large companies at the inaugural Arabia Corporate Social Responsibility Awards for having "institutionalised CSR for the past 14 years". Other winners were fuel producer Oman LNG in the medium-sized class, and MBS Firefighting Coatings and Environmental Centre for Arab Towns in the small firms category.

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