Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#129 - 10 Jun 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 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 look at companies that use their marketing to influence consumer behaviour towards sustainability.

Welcome

The sharp-eyed amongst you will note that this edition has been held back a day from when it would normally go out. This is for two reasons - one so that the main feature could focus on the winners of the Marketing Society's Ethical Marketing award without breaking the embargo, since the awards dinner was last night. Secondly, I am looking at moving the day of despatch for the newsletter to Monday anyway, since the practice of sending on Sunday evening stems from the time when its production was fitted around a full time work schedule.

I had the privilege of acting as a judge in the Marketing Society's awards for this category, and it was a fascinating experience. When discussing social responsibility generally, there is an acceptance that a business case is required to show good quality CSR. Funnily enough, when discussing the selections with a panel of fellow judges who are all top marketers, there were plenty there who seemed to feel that unless the company was losing money by doing something, then they weren't really sincere. And this was a group of hard-bitten marketers! All very interesting.

A couple of extra things to note - all of them slightly tecchie in nature, but about trying to help make it easy for people to share information, or keep up to date with new items.

Blog entries and articles / news stories on the website now include bookmarks for some of the most popular social networking sites, such as Facebook, reddit, Digg, etc. I hope that if an article or posting particularly strikes you as dealing with an interesting issue, and you use any of these services, you might share your interest with others by clicking the appropriate link.

For those that use the increasingly popular twitter service, blog entries are now also entered into twitter on posting, so if you want an up to the second notification of new posts, it's the easiest way to get it! You can go to twitter.com and search for mallenbaker to subscribe to the feed.

Finally - some of you use newsreaders to keep up to date with news sources, including news stories from the website, which are collected together every fortnight into this newsletter, and blog entries. These use something called an rss feed. A bug with the default setting for the rss feed for the blog has now been corrected - if you subscribed to the feed there but haven't seen updates for a long time, you might want to go back and resubscribe (use the xml tab on the blog page to do this).

Tecchie interlude over!

On the website - having been neck and neck for a while, those thinking that companies will cut back on CSR-related activity are beginning to slowly pull away from the rest, but still a little time left to make your own views known. The vote currently looks as follows:

In the face of an extended economic recession companies will:
keep CSR as a priority 252 (37%)
cut budgets, but still focus on key issues 291 (43%)
drop CSR as an unaffordable luxury 137 (20%)

Thanks to the 680 people that have voted so far.

News

India: Blackberry spy demands resisted

Research in Motion, the maker of the popular Blackberry phones, has rejected demands from the Indian government to provide keys to help it to decrypt text messages it deems suspicious.

Japan: Senba Kitcho K.K. closes after scandals

The upmarket restaurant chain Senba Kitcho has been forced to close after customer numbers plummeted following recent scandals over labeling and the serving of leftover food.

Japan: Government considers carbon labelling

The Japan government is considering mandating the introduction of carbon labelling for food and other products early in the next fiscal year.

South Africa: Mining companies criticised on social responsibility

Platinum and coal mining companies operating in Africa have been criticised for failing to match up to rhetoric on corporate social responsibility in a new study launched in Johannesburg.

Burma: 50 companies added to target list

The Burma Campaign UK produced a list of 154 companies that it accuses of helping to finance Burma's military dictatorship through a presence in the country, which includes 50 companies that are new to the campaigns 'dirty list'.

Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff noted as Corporate Responsibility CEO of the year

Marc Benioff, the chief executive of salesforce.com, the customer relationship management software company, has been named as Corporate Responsibility Officer Magazine's 2008 CEO of the Year award.

ExxonMobil: Shareholders rebuff Rockefellers

ExxonMobil shareholders have voted down a high profile proposal to split the role of chairman and CEO and to set goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The motions had drawn support from the majority of the descendents of the company's founder John D. Rockefeller.

Australia: ANZ backs away from controversial pulp mill

ANZ bank has said that it will not provide project financing for a controversial pulp mill project in Tasmania. The company had been due to provide AUD 2bn towards the Bell Bay Pulp Mill.

Brazilian bank Banco Real named as sustainable bank of the year

Brazilian bank Banco Real was named as the overall most Sustainable Bank of the Year at the third annual Financial Times Sustainable Banking Awards in London, as well as being named as the top Sustainable Emerging Markets Bank.

Article

How to make friends and influence customers

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 10 Jun 2008

We all know that a company is responsible for the safety of its product - and for making sure it sells such products in an honest, non-exploitative way. But five years ago, nobody would have suggested that the company was responsible in any way for influencing consumer behaviour for the better. But that is now beginning to emerge as a theme in what might be described as responsible marketing.

Previous edition - No 128 | Following edition - No 130