Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#108 - 25 Feb 2007

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 http://www.businessrespect.net 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 review the recent report on 'how to earn consumer trust'.

Welcome

In a world where all the evidence suggests that people are becoming better informed and, more importantly, cynical the question of what builds customer trust is an important one. This issue, we look at a recent report 'How to earn customer trust' which provides a contribution to thinking on this area.

Readers may remember that some time ago I set up a "Swicki" search page for stories around corporate social responsibility. The Swicki search provides specialist search which prioritises key authoritative sources for searches carried out, and brings together web pages and blogs specifically. It enables the community of its users to rate or recommend results, which in principle over time leads searches to be more and more accurate, and less tainted with irrelevant results.

I had noted somewhat ruefully that it didn't work as well as it might - with a good first page of results, but with some odd results for subsequent pages. Well, the good folks who provide the Swicki service have given it a complete overhaul, and not only does it now provide what it says, it has also added new tools to make it more effective. I have now started to find myself recommending it as a research tool because it has become genuinely useful. Have a go and see what you think.

http://www.mallenbaker.net/csr/swicki.html

Meanwhile, voting has started on the new poll on the website, and it's a reasonably close one this time. So far we have:

Recent announcements by the big supermarkets about environmental practices represent:

A real shift towards sustainable practice 22 (23%)
A small step only, with much more needed 41 (44%)
Nothing but cynical public relations 31 (33%)

Thanks to those that have voted so far. As ever, we look forward to hearing your views.

News

Johnson & Johnson executive exits over fraud probe

Johnson and Johnson has said that payments made by some of its foreign units may be in breach of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and that one of its Executives has stepped down.

Ivory Coast: Trafigura to pay for toxic clean up

Trafigura, the Dutch oil trading group, has said that it will pay nearly $200m to clean up the consequences of a pollution incident involving toxic waste.

US: Green Mountain Coffee Roasters tops corporate citizen list second year running

The annual survey of the '100 Best Corporate Citizens' has been released by CRO magazine, and is led for the second year by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters - the first time the same company has topped the list twice consecutively.

US: Record number of shareholder resolutions on climate change

An activist investor group has announced the creation of a Climate Watch list, a group of ten comanies that are accused of lagging behind their industry peers in their response to climate change.

Companies sign joint statement on climate change

A major group of companies and other organisations from across the globe have endorsed a post-Kyoto framework for change on business practices and their impact on climate change.

Australia: Hardie board directors quit in face of legal action

Three directors of James Hardie Industries have stepped down after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) announced it would bring a civil action against them.

India: Wal-Mart sees protests against planned presence

A visit by Wal-Mart vice-chairman Michael Duke has seen protests by small shopkeepers and communists over plans for a joint venture with Bharti Enterprises.

US: Fannie Mae closes down its foundation

Fannie Mae has announced that it is to wind up its foundation, one of the largest donors to local charities, but also a continuing source of criticism for the company over the alleged use of tax-exempt money to promote its corporate interests.

Australia: Plan to make protestors pay damages for successful boycotts

Australia's federal Treasurer, Peter Costello, has said that groups that organise boycotts against companies, such as the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), will be liable to pay compensation to the companies that they have targeted.

Starbucks and Ethiopia make joint statement to put an end to coffee row

Starbucks and the government of Ethiopia have released a joint statement about the well-publicised dispute over Ethiopia's approach to trademarking some of its varieties of coffee.

Japan: Yamaha employees broke rules the company helped to formulate on exports

Three Yamaha Motor employees have been arrested for allegedly attempting to bypass export controls for the export of a remote-controlled helicopter to China. It has emerged that Yamaha actually helped the trade ministry to formulate the stricter rules in 2005.

Article

Weighing the value of trust

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 25 Feb 2007

If one could show that achieving a great reputation for corporate social responsibility would automatically mean a higher share price and greater sales success, you would have your business case signed, sealed with a pretty pink bow, and delivered. It doesn't, however, happen like that. Instead it comes down to a more complex relationship of trust with the customer.

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