Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#101 - 13 Aug 2006

An email newsletter with news and discussion focusing on corporate social responsibility globally, looking at the companies in the news and the emerging issues. Linked to the website at and produced every two weeks.

This web page provides news stories and articles from the newsletters. Newsletters also include links to features on the internet, Mallen's blog, and other resources.

In this issue, we consider the business case for CSR.


I was asked, not for the first time, during the last fortnight whether or not I had a succinct 'business case for CSR'. I realised that this was a broad topic that I'd never really dealt with. Of course, the easiest thing in the world would be to produce a bullet point list of lots of different claimed benefits for some generic thing called CSR - but the real picture just isn't that straightforward. The article in this edition explores this further.

Thanks to all those that sent messages of congratulations following the 100th issue of Business Respect last time. It's great to know that people have found these productions of use and of interest over what has now become quite a long timescale.

I'm not such a great fan of the person or persons apparently based in Korea who decided that it would be a great wheeze to sign up between 4 - 8 fictional subscribers a day. All of these were spotted, and immediately removed, but even so it rather underlined the risks inherent in having a single sign-up system for what is rigorously intended to be an opt-in only newsletter.

So the subscription system for Business Respect has now moved to a two-stage sign up process. Initial interest will result in an email being sent to the email address given, which then gives instructions on how to complete the registration process. The advantages of such a system are obvious, and increasingly now because of abuse double sign-up systems are being seen as the standard for opt-in mailings. The disadvantage is the potential extra barrier to new subscribers, some of whom may not be as confident with such processes. However, having introduced it over a week ago, it seems to be going alright, with the vast majority of people who indicate interest going on to actually subscribe.

As it happens, it seems also to have discouraged further frivolous subscriptions. Onwards and upwards.

I'm rather expecting the barrage of a huge number of 'on holiday' auto-responders in response to this issue. Fair enough, I'm just about to take a couple of weeks myself. Happy holidays to all that are fortunate enough to be relaxing in the next fortnight!


China: McDonald's and Mattel dispute reports of poor conditions

McDonald's and Mattel have said they have found no evidence that poor treatment of workers was behind recent violent protests at a Chinese factory of one of their key suppliers.

US: Merck found not liable for heart problems

A jury has found Merck not liable for causing heart ailments suffered by a man after he had been taking the company's painkiller Vioxx.

India: Pepsi and Coke face further pesticide challenges

A new study of Coca-Cola and Pepsi products in India has claimed that products are showing even greater levels of pesticide contamination than a previous study that created controversy.

France: Faurecia boss quits over alleged bribery

The head of Faurecia, the car parts manufacturer, has resigned as a criminal investigation begins into allegations of bribery involving Volkswagen and BMW.

India: Child labour in homes and hotels banned

The Indian government is to ban the use of children under the age of 14 as domestic servants or at hotels and restaurants from October. The penalty for breaking the law could be a jail term of up to two years.

EU: Companies may discriminate against smokers

The European Commission has confirmed that anti-discrimination legislation does not cover tobacco smokers who may legitimately be targeted by companies that want to keep their workplaces smoke free.

World Bank offers businesses corruption amnesty

The World Bank has announced that companies that have defrauded it in the past can bid on future work if they admit what they have done and promise to abide by the rules in future.

Australia: Drug companies accused of manipulating trials

A cancer specialist involved in clinical trials has said that pharmaceutical companies are manipulating some of the trials to best serve their commercial interests at the expense of timely safety informaiton.

Thailand: GlaxoSmithKline faces protests over patent

Hundreds of Thais laid seige to GlaxoSmithKline's office in Bangkok to protest an application the company has put in for a patent on an AIDS drug that it is feared will raise costs.

China: Baidu faces scandal over click fraud

Chinese search engine Baidu, Google's biggest home grown competitor in China, has been accused of generating revenue through generating fraudulent traffic for advertisers.

China: Wal-Mart agrees to unions at all its stores

Wal-Mart has said that it will work with the All-China Federation of Trade Unions on how its 28,000 staff across its Chinese stores will be represented by unions.

India: Coca-Cola hits back over pesticide residues

Coca-Cola has fought back over the current controversy alleging high levels of pesticide residues in its soft drink products by attacking the standards used for the highly publicised tests.


So what's the business case for corporate social responsibility?

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 13 Aug 2006

One of the most asked questions within the literature on corporate social responsibility is: what is the business case for CSR? The fact that it is so often asked makes it all the more remarkable that it is so often so badly answered.

Previous edition - No 100 | Following edition - No 102

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