Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#113 - 30 Sep 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 consider the current state of play in corporate social responsibility across the world.

Welcome

We're back - after a rather extended leave of absence. Thanks to all those who emailed and pointed out that they had noticed the absence of the Business Respect newsletter in their email boxes. And apologies to those that emailed and never got a response - some kind souls stole a laptop computer with a number of these emails on not yet answered, so they were lost for good.

There has been a rash of research being published about current opinions or trends on corporate social responsibility. One of these is the focus of this issue's article. Another was the one covered in the news stories about the ongoing scepticism of the general public and MPs about whether businesses really mean it when they get involved with CSR.

To be honest, I have always felt those sorts of opinion polls pose questions rather than answer them. When there is such a variance of views about WHAT CSR is about, about WHY companies should involve themselves in it, and HOW this commitment should be expressed, then one is never really clear what the opinions are really saying. Because the people that wrote the questions put their own perspective at the heart of the subject. Still, it is always interesting to get snapshots of the public mood, even if it is filtered through a particular lens.

News

UK: Consumers and MPs sceptical about CSR

According to new research, nearly half of the general public and two thirds of members of the UK parliament believe that corporate social responsibility is more about enhancing company image than its claimed social benefits.

Vietnam latest country to set up Global Compact network

A new UN Global Compact network with more than 100 businesses has been launched at Ho Chi Minh City by the UN and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

FTSE4Good deletes Toyota, Honda, Agilent and others from index

FTSE4Good - one of the leading ethical indices - has announced that some of the best regarded names in responsible business practice are to be dropped from its index as having failed one of its criteria.

China: Mattel apologises for toy design flaws

Beleaguered toy firm Mattel has issued an apology to China admitting that recent recalls of toys on safety grounds have been the company's own responsibility due to design flaws. Recent coverage had made the assumption that problems had been caused by poor standards in China.

Business leaders: CSR importance grows in spite of gloomy business outlook

A survey of business leaders has found that belief is growing in the ability of corporate social responsibility to increase profits, as well as the conviction that having good environmental management is more than purely public relations-driven.

Wal-Mart pledges more environmental measures

Wal-Mart has announced that it is to only sell concentrated liquid laundry detergent as part of a move to encourage change in the retail industry and reduce materiels usage. It is also to measure carbon emissions in the supply chain across seven product categories.

Burma: UK Campaign criticises companies that invest in Burma

The Burma Campaign has challenged 150 companies that it says currently invest in Burma with the argument that "if there is a crackdown and the regime opens fire, you have paid for the bullets".

Colombia: Government to seek Chiquita Brands extraditions over death squads

The government of Colombia has said that it will attempt the extradition of executives from Chiquita Brands if they have broken local law in paying off paramilitary groups responsible for atrocities and massacres.

Article

So what is the state of responsible business in the world today?

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 30 Sep 2007

You've heard the hype, and the theory. But where is corporate social responsibility really strongest across the world, and which companies are really doing what? New analysis published by research firm EIRIS goes some way towards answering the question.

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