Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#126 - 27 Apr 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 review a report on managing CSR issues with small companies through the supply chain.


The theme for the next couple of months for me seems to be Central and Eastern Europe. Not only was a speaking last week at a very well organised event on corporate social responsibility in Kiev, Ukraine, but I have another coming up in Bratislava in Slovakia, and a tour of no fewer than three countries in the South Caucasus at the beginning of June.

So it is quite fitting that this time around, the lead feature on managing SMEs through the supply chain should share this broad geographical focus. Although a review on a recent report talking about managing SMEs in the global supply chain, it happens that the focus for that report was exclusively suppliers of Hewlett Packard from the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. Nevertheless, it provides an interesting snapshot of current practice.

And now, I would like to ask you - valued reader - for a small favour. This is something I haven't done before, and I hope you will consider the request.

It is just this. Please help to support Business Respect as a free email service to the community of people interested in corporate social responsibility. PASS THIS ISSUE ON with your recommendation to a friend (or two!) you think might be interested. After all, the chances are that's how you heard about it - right?

Thank you! It won't now be the last time of asking - hopefully each time you will be able to think of one or two specific colleagues that will have particular interest in that issue's lead feature, or one of the news stories.

The vote on the website is the closest we've ever run at the moment. You may recall that it goes like this:

In the face of an extended economic recession companies will:

Keep CSR as a priority 86 (39%)
Cut budgets, but still focus on key issues 83 (37%)
drop CSR as an unaffordable luxury 54 (24%)

Thanks to the 223 people that have voted so far. Still time to make your own views heard.


France: Carrefour targeted for China boycott call

Chinese activists are urging a boycott of French retailer Carrefour, reflecting outrage in the country following the pro-Tibet protests that targeted the Olympic Torch relay in Paris.

Anglo American ties safety to managers promotions

Anglo American has ramped up its programme to achieve zero deaths in accidents at its mines with an initiative to tie manager's promotion to the accomplishment of health and safety targets.

South Korea: Samsung chairman resigns over tax evasion charges

Lee Kun-hee, the chairman of South Korea's biggest company Samsung, has quit his job following the bringing of charges against him of tax evasion and breach of trust.

UK: Retailers in tobacco price probe

The UK's Office of Fair Trading has suggested that tobacco firms and supermarkets including Asda-Walmart, Sainsbury and Tesco, have been involved in an arrangement to swap information on future tobacco pricing which, whilst falling short of price-fixing, had the same effect for customers and would be, if proved, illegal.

US: Investment banks accused of schizophrenia on climate change

According to a report released by environmental group Ceres, key investor champions of climate-change related activity have simultaneously been voting against resolutions demanding companies disclose more information on their climate strategies.

US: Employees attest to widespread greenwashing by firms

A recent survey of US employees has suggested that 59 percent of employees believe that their own companies could do more to be environmentally friendly, with a full 68 percent believing that most companies engage in 'greenwashing' - making green claims not backed up by reality.

UK: Campaigners attack Unilever over palm oil

Campaigners dressed as orangutans scaled the walls of Unilever's London headquarters, as well as protesting outside a factory elsewhere in the UK, in protest at the company's sourcing of palm oil.

Organic labelling under attack over addition of food miles factor

Ethical shopping company the Co-operative Group has attacked the move by the Soil Association to include a prohibition of air freighted goods within its organic labelling system.

Australia: Hugo Boss to ban wool produced using mulesing

Hugo Boss has said that it will avoid wool for its fashion clothing chain from producers still using the practice of mulesing by 2010 saying that such practices contravene the company's corporate values.


Getting to small companies through the supply chain

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 27 Apr 2008

When it comes to corporate social responsibility, one of the biggest challenges remains how to influence the practice of the millions of small to medium sized firms (SMEs). These companies don't go much on the corporate geek-speak of CSR. Many of them struggle to survive on a daily basis. But any multinational corporation knows that its reputation may be on the line if one of its SME suppliers fouls up big time - it is something that now has to be managed.

Previous edition - No 125 | Following edition - No 127

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