Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#136 - 14 Sep 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 the collapse of the World Bank agreement on the oil pipeline in Chad.

Welcome

Last issue, the main feature focused on the difficult issue of how to do business in countries that are, by their nature, controversial. Namely in that case, Zimbabwe. This time, you might say we have the companion piece focusing on the announcement this week by the World Bank that it is finally bringing to a close the great Chad experiment. Each instance is distinctive albeit that some of the themes are the same.

In the mean time, I finally leave Business in the Community on Tuesday next week. Having been there for 13 years, it will be a big shift, but at least it means that this newsletter, and the website resource behind it, can begin to get more time and focus to turn it into a really useful resource. That's the plan anyway. More next time.

One of the requests that came out of the readers survey was that each issue can give indication of when the next issue is due. That's particularly relevant since as of next issue, publication date for Business Respect will move from the Sunday to Monday. That shouldn't make too much difference to you - it will make quite a lot of difference to me! The next issue, therefore, is due on Monday 29th September.

By the way, the readers survey also gave a majority in favour of sticking with the once a fortnight publication, although a significant minority opted for weekly, with a smaller minority going for monthly. There will be no change to this in the short term, but we will keep watching carefully to see at what point it may become sensible to make a change. Thanks again to everyone that took part.

News

UK: Retailers price promotions push unhealthy food

Supermarkets are offering too many cut-price reductions for fatty or sugary foods with the number of such promotions having doubled over the last two years, according to a report by the National Consumer Council (NCC).

Japan: Mikasa Foods admits using rice in food unfit for human consumption

Mikasa Foods has said that it imported rice from China and elsewhere with higher levels of pesticide residues than allowed for human consumption, and sold it in products such as 'shochu' alcoholic drinks and rice crackers.

EU: MEPs vote to give carmakers breathing space

A report passed by Members of the European Parliament has said that motor manufacturers should get an additional three years to meet new standards on carbon dioxide emissions.

US: Airlines reduced emissions last year

The Air Transport Association said that US airlines carried over 20 percent more passengers and cargo but managed to reduce fuel use and emissions during 2007.

Ghana: Deal struck with EU to fight illegal timber

Ghana and the EU have signed a deal to aim to stop illegally logged timber from Ghana being shipped to market in the EU. According to the World Bank, 60 percent of logging across Ghana is currently not legal, leading to rapid deforestation.

UK: Advertising watchdog bans ExxonMobil ad over green claims

ExxonMobil has disputed a ban on its TV ad in the UK by the Advertising Standards Authority. The ban was provoked by the statement in the ad that liquefied natural gas is one of the most environmentally friendly fuels - a claim disputed by environmentalists.

Nigeria: Graduates group challenges Chevron

The National Association of Itsekiri Graduates has written to Chevron Nigeria to complain of what the group describes as 'corporate irresponsibility' in relation to the company's alleged marginalising of the Itsekiri people.

India: Farmers end protest over Tata Nano plant

Farmers who have been engaged in sometimes violent protest against the construction of the Tata Motors car plant in West Bengal have said that they are suspending their activities after the government promised to return some of the land that had been taken.

Australia: Power firms not preparing for low carbon future - WWF

Environmental campaign group WWF has said that too many power firms in Australia are failing to plan for a lower carbon future.

Brazil: New oil reserves will be invested in eradicating poverty: Lula

President Lula da Silva has said that the profits from the newly discovered offshore oil fields will be used by the State to invest in technology and education, and eradicate poverty.

Norway: Government pension fund drops Rio Tinto over ethical issues

The Norwegian government has criticised Rio Tinto for what it described as 'grossly unethical conduct' and environmental damage, and has moved to exclude the company from its pension fund.

US: Kosher meat firm under fire following child labour violations

Agriprocessors, the largest US kosher meatpacker, may lose its certification for producing kosher food as criminal charges have been filed against it for more than 9,000 child labour violations.

Australia: Unease over companies tracking employees via GPS

Concerns have been raised about the growing use by firms in Australia of GPS tracking units to keep tabs on the movements of employees.

Congo: Afrimex criticised by British government for human rights questions

The British government has highlighted minerals firm Afrimex as having failed to ensure its operations were not contributing to human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mexico: Wal-Mart de Mexico payment in store coupons unconstitutional

The Supreme Court in Mexico has said that Wal-Mart de Mexico, also known as Walmex, violated the constitution when it paid workers partly in vouchers that were only usable at the company's own stores.

Article

The end of the Chad experiment

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 14 Sep 2008

The World Bank president Robert Zoellick has finally pulled the plug on one of the most interesting experiments in recent years as Chad failed to live up to its side of the bargain over what would happen to money from the country's oil.

Previous edition - No 135 | Following edition - No 137

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