Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#137 - 29 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 consider the current financial crisis in the light of CSR.

Welcome

So the world faces total economic collapse, brought about by lack of transparency and accountability, giving a breeding ground for greed and decadence, and the total collapse of trust that has ensued needs to be repaired urgently. But trust is easy to break, hard to repair.

It should be no surprise that the events of the last two weeks are therefore the focus for this edition's lead feature!

On a more trivial note, one of the things I learned from the readers survey was that some readers have been getting the news headlines all breaking into each other as the line breaks that most people get disappear.

Then, in my final days at BITC I got switched from the Groupwise email client to Microsoft Outlook, and I saw this phenomenon for myself. A bit of research, and it appears that Microsoft, in their wisdom, decided that their email client would remove line breaks from text based emails. The reason why most of the text in Business Respect is not affected is because since the beginning I have used a style that had two spaces at the start of most lines - to enhance readability. It turns out that this is just the thing to do to avoid Microsoft from taking away the line breaks.

So this issue, guess what? We put in the extra spaces for the news headings as well. Hopefully that means proper formatting for everyone. Yay.

Not that I will be able to check it myself - since I have now finally officially definitely left BITC. It took about a week of farewell lunches, dinners, drinks and teas - at the end of which colleagues were probably wondering if I was ever actually going to go! And where did I find myself on the first Monday evening the following week? You guessed it, at a BITC launch event.

As with the wider world, everything is different. Everything is the same.

Next week I am on holiday in Dubrovnik, but given the miracles of broadband hopefully the next issue will appear unimpaired. Good luck to all those anxious about what the coming week will bring ...

News

Uzbekistan: Child labour in cotton banned

Uzbekistan has responded to mounting pressure to ban child labour from its cotton fields. Uzbek Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyayev has signed a decree to bring the country's laws into line with international standards.

Japan: Mikasa Foods scandal grows as scale of problem grows

The government has said that the quantity of tainted rice distributed by Mikasa Foods was four times greater than previously believed, with the contaminated product distributed to 370 companies.

US: MillerCoors called upon to abandon alcohol-caffeine drink

Twenty five states have asked MillerCoors to shelve its plans to introduce a new caffeinated alcoholic drink in the name of promoting responsible drinking.

China: Consumers see environment a high priority

According to recent research by a number of WPP agencies, Chinese consumers now see the environment as a higher priority than do their US and UK counterparts.

Ghana: Hundreds of children rescued from cocoa child labour

As many as 360 children have been rescued from child labour in cocoa growing areas in Ghana after the government collaborated with Children's Rights International in a combined operation.

US: Companies behind on meeting challenge of climate change

US companies understand that climate change represents a significant risk to their business, but are behind global companies when it comes to taking action, according to a new survey by the Carbon Disclosure Project.

Germany: Industry climate opt-out threatens EU policy

Campaigners have attacked the decision of the German government to support a far-reaching exemption for industry from new rules on carbon emissions permits on the grounds of competitiveness.

India: Multinational boss beaten to death in labour dispute

The chief executive of Graziano Trasmissioni India has been killed in a violent industrial protest at the company's offices when former employees armed with metal bars and hammers overpowered security guards.

UK: Lexus claims in hybrid SUV ad lead to ad ban

An advert promoting Lexus' hybrid SUV has been banned by the UK's Advertising Standards Authority for what it described as misleading claims over its performance.

US: Eli Lilly payments to doctors to be reported

Eli Lilly has said that it will break new ground by disclosing how much money it has paid to doctors for various services. It will give details of all payments greater than $500 to doctors, typically paid for advice and speaking, with future years also to include areas such as travel, entertainment and gifts.

UK: Barclaycard fined for nuisance phone calls

Barclaycard has been given the largest possible fine for a period two years ago when it engaged in 'the most serious and persistent' case of silent calls the regulator, Ofcom, had seen.

Japan: Mitsubishi Tanabe settles hepatitis C claims

Mitsubishi Tanabe has settled a six-year-old suit by people who developed hepatitis C after having received tainted blood products from one of the company's predecessors.

UK: BAE Systems appoints Deloitte for 'ethical audit'

BAE Systems, the major defence contractor under a cloud from previous allegations of fraud, has appointed Deloitte to carry out an independent review to check that the company's practices meet high ethical standards.

Article

Learning from chaos

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 29 Sep 2008

There are still some people that think corporate social responsibility is about giving stuff away. A bit of charity. Nothing to do with how you make your money. Some of those people will now have their names always attached to the story of the financial crisis of 2008, and there are more to follow.

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