Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#131 - 6 Jul 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 what makes good leadership in CSR.

Welcome

Thanks to those people in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan who spoke to me and mentioned they were readers of this newsletter during my tour over the last week. It was great to discuss the issues facing businesses in the South Caucasus and to spend some real time getting into the detail of what corporate social responsibility could mean practically in some very different business environments.

The main feature this time has some reflections sparked by the tour - not on the details of CSR in those countries - but on one of the common themes that emerged from all three, ie. the importance of leadership in developing a CSR culture in a country.

Separately, I have a request. As most of you know, this newsletter has been produced for a number of years for the interest of a wide range of people who are focused in some way on corporate social responsibility. It is produced free of charge for anyone that wants it, and will continue to be so unless catastrophe intercedes.

Rarely have I asked for specific feedback from readers, however before the next issue goes out I will be emailing you an invitation to take part in a very short online readers survey. As I will be putting more time and focus into the website and newsletter going forward, I am keen to know what things you would like to have changed, what new things might really add value for you and so on.

I hope that you will feel able to take part. It will genuinely be quick and painless - but will provide really valuable information back to me to try to help turn this into something of real value for the largest number of people.

Watch out for the invitation. I am expecting to send them on Wednesday 16th July - a week and a half from now. And thanks in advance for your help.

News

US: Retailers falling short on sustainable fisheries

Grocery retailers across the US are universally failing to make significant strides towards sustainable buying of fish, according to a new report by Greenpeace.

India: Rules on CSR disclosure to be produced

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has said that it is working on a new set of rules on CSR disclosure, inspired by the Global Reporting Initiative guidelines on reporting.

Switzerland: Campaign group demands investigation of Nestle 'spying'

An anti-globalisation campaign group has asked the Swiss authorities to investigate claims that global food giant Nestle hired an employee of Securitas to spy on the group at its private meetings.

Punitive damages on Exxon Valdez slashed

The US Supreme Court has reduced a $5bn punitive damages award against Exxon Mobil relating to the sinking of the Exxon Valdez nearly twenty years ago to a figure close to $500m.

Japan: Index to be introduced to rate companies on environment

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has said that it intends to introduce an Environmental Stock Index to evaluate business engagement with environmental issues within a year.

British American Tobacco under fire for practices in Africa

A BBC investigation has alleged that British American Tobacco is breaking its own marketing code in selling single cigarettes, thought to be particularly attractive to under-age smokers, in Nigeria, Malawi and Mauritius.

Tesco to stop sourcing from Zimbabwe

British retailer Tesco has said that it will stop sourcing products from Zimbabwe so long as the current political crisis persists there. The company currently buys around 1m UKP of goods from the country.

Austria: Former bank boss jailed for fraud

The former head of Bank Fuer Arbeit und Wirtschaft (Bawag) has been jailed for over nine years for fraud following the collapse of US firm Refco.

France: Caisse d'Epargne launches sustainability labelling

French bank Caisse d'Epargne has launched a labelling system to rate the sustainability of financial products, with a plan to extend the scheme to insurance and loan products by the end of the year.

Article

What makes for leadership in CSR?

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 5 Jul 2008

Having run three workshops on corporate social responsibility across three very different countries in the South Caucasus during the last week, the key theme again and again has been leadership. Unfortunately, to be precise, the lack of it.

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