Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#117 - 23 Dec 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 what happened in corporate social responsibility in 2007.

Welcome

20 years ago this month, Oliver Stone's movie "Wall Street" premiered. The film was particularly famous for its character Gordon Gecko and the passionate unscripted argument that "Greed is Good". Apparently a sequel in the progress. It should make interesting viewing, given the review of 2007 we have provided for this issue that would seem like very alien territory indeed to those following the Gecko philosophy. Watch this space.

As we reach the end of 2007, we are distinctly underwhelmed by the conclusion to the latest round of climate change negotiations. And yet, all around there is evidence that companies, citizens and other concerned organisations are waking up to a radical agenda with urgency that the world leaders struggle to match. There will be a lot more to be said on this through 2008.

Next issue, the first of 2008, will see the introduction to our first corporate sponsor. We have been delighted to welcome one, and we have sadly declined one - having established fairly tight criteria for sponsorship of Business Respect. We look forward over the coming year to gradually building the stable of supporters to enable us to continue to develop the quality of content for the newsletter to make it as relevant and useful to you as possible, and hope to find plenty of ways that those supporters will benefit by the association. If you think that one of those future supporters might be you, do let us know.

All that's left is to wish happy Christmas to those that celebrate it, and a great new year.

News

Philippines: CEOs drive the CSR agenda within businesses

A recent survey carried out by Newsbreak has identified that CEOs in companies in the Philippines most often initiate CSR programmes for their businesses, and although more than half of companies say that it is then public relations or corporate communications that take the lead, the number that CSR as part of the company's strategy is growing.

US: Most employees witness ethical misconduct

A majority of employees in US companies say that they have witnessed ethical misconduct at work during the past year.

UK: Prime Minister calls on the world's big business to achieve millennium development goals

The UK Prime Minister is to use three set-piece events during the next year to call upon the world's largest multinational corporations, including Google, Wal-Mart and Vodafone, to focus on the crisis of poverty and to help put the international community back on track to achieve the UN millennium development goals by 2015.

China: Script for workers to fool ethical auditors put online

A script for Chinese workers of the Huadu Zhenghui to learn on how to fool auditors working for foreign customers has been placed on the internet. The document gives an insight into reports over the last year of how companies are learning to pull the wool over the eyes of companies concerned to protect their reputation.

Canada: Good trends on trans-fats in foods escape Burger King

The Canadian government has announced that its monitoring programme on the trans-fat content of foods has shown that most companies have taken the initiative to reduce the unhealthy fats in a number of foods. But Burger King was singled out for special criticism for failing to respond sufficiently to the agenda.

Victims of BP explosion say $50m fine not enough

Lawyers for the families of victims of the explosion at a BP plant in Texas have said that the companies fine of $50m is too low, well within the range that the company might feel was "part of the ordinary cost of doing business".

Canada: Consumer safety plan focuses on recall and fines

The federal government has announced its new food and consumer safety action plan, which will see greater powers over product recalls, as well as higher fines for manufacturers when something goes wrong.

EU: Commission provokes ire of the car manufacturers with proposed fines

The European Commission has provoked a significant backlash from the motor industry lobby and its supporters with plans to fine car makers that fail to achieve radical cuts in carbon emissions.

UN Global Compact issues first report

The United Nations Global Compact has issued its first report on its country-level activities in nearly 90 different countries.

Article

2007: A review of the year

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 23 Dec 2007

A lot happened in the world of Corporate Social Responsibility during 2007. Did the year really represent a 'tipping point' as some have suggested? Have all the arguments been won? Or is there still a long way to go?

Previous edition - No 116 | Following edition - No 118