Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#123 - 16 Mar 2008

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 alternatives to feeling guilty about flying.


Once, many years ago, I was speaking at an event which was focusing on a number of very fascinating issues on a topic which I now forget. In the course of making a point, I used an analogy of environmental taxation on petrol. Whoosh. Suddenly, hands were being raised all across the hall with people wanting to engage in debate on the finer points of transport policy.

Since then, I have known only too well that green transport issues provoke more of a response from people than almost anything else. So it is with some trepidation that I produce a lead article for this edition that definitely goes against the grain of much of the commentary on that most contentious of issues - whether or not we should be taking personal responsibility by abstaining from flight. At least nobody can say that I didn't know what I was getting into.

I might try a vote on the website on the topic soon, although I suspect the results will be overwhelming.

The existing vote will be closing soon. If you remember, it reads:

Private equity companies are, by their nature, less socially responsible than plcs

Yes, they are less responsible 218 (50%)
No, they are more responsible 77 (17%)
There is no difference between them 145 (33%)

Thanks to the 440 people that have voted. Last chance now to get your voice heard on this one.


Alaska to sue BP over Prudhoe Bay accident

The state of Alaska is to sue BP to over the partial closure of the Prudhoe Bay oil field when its pipeline leaked in 2006.

Mining companies demand human rights standards in China

Major extractive firms Anglo American and Rio Tinto have said that they will only sign joint venture agreements with Chinese companies if they can show a willingness to comply with Western standards on human rights, as well as environmental protection.

Wal-Mart aims for emission reductions from Chinese suppliers

Wal-Mart is to meet with thousands of suppliers based in China in the autumn as part of its programme to reduce emissions produced across its supply chain. The company has already worked with some of its key western suppliers to reduce energy use and waste.

Canada: Companies investing in social responsibility

According to a new report, Canadian companies are boosting investment in social responsibility, although the changes in policies and programmes are not yet feeding through into significant improvements in outcomes. .

UK: Retailer Sainsbury's sees buyer arrested over bribes

A potato buyer for UK major supermarket Sainsbury's has been arrested over alleged illegal payments received from one of the company's suppliers, Greenvale amounting to around 3m.

UN: Private sector needed in developing countries' climate change fight

The head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has said that the private sector must be part of the solution to combatting climate change in developing countries.

Toyota says next generation eco-car in sight but still years away

Toyota has said that work is progressing on the next generation of environmentally friendlier car, using fuel cell technology. It will be years, however, before the work produces a commercially viable vehicle.

Australia: Qantas faces charges over global air freight cartel

An action is to be launched against Qantas and other international airlines by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission over an alleged cartel of air freight operators.


Getting the guilt out of sustainability

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 16 Mar 2008

As a society, we know pretty well how to sell things to people - not just stuff, but ideas, behaviours, you name it. And all of our learning in this area tells us one thing overall - making people feel guilty generally does not do the business when it comes to promoting behaviour change.

Previous edition - No 122 | Following edition - No 124

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