Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#149 - 16 Mar 2009

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 launch the new website, and hear from Sun's CSR Director about concerns over the system for the Top 100 Corporate Citizens list


Today we launch not one, but two new websites. Roll on the drums, please.

Firstly, the website at has been refreshed and revived - long overdue. It gives much more prominence to the writing, commentary and speaking that I have been doing over the years and hope to do a lot more of. It is the home for the blog, and the articles.

Secondly, there is a new website at - and this site becomes the new home for this newsletter. You will recognise some of its resources from the wish list that emerged from the readers survey last year.

What's at the new site?

A CSR Events calendar - designed to be flexible and powerful to use, and a great tool for event organisers to post their events onto. A number of organisers have been quick to strut their stuff, and the calendar launches with 20 events aready on, from North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. Have a look.

For event organisers - the calendar is free to use, and has been designed to work hard for you. Register at the new site, and see how easy it is to post your details, upload your logos, and sell your event.

If you're the kind of person who wants to keep up to date, but never has time to wade through all the stuff you don't want to get to the stuff you do - you can register on the site and get an RSS news feed customised to your interests, to alert you to new events or news stories.

Also - the number one request in the readers survey was for HTML newsletters. If you register at the Business Respect website, you will now be able to select whether you receive the newsletter:

* Full text, as now in plain text format (which will remain the default for those who don't register, or who are already signed up).
* Full text in HTML format, for the countless people that asked for it!
* Summaries only in plain text, with links to connect to the full stories at the website.
* Summaries only in HTML format, with links to connect to the full stories at the website.

So now, you can choose exactly how you get the newsletter. Have fun.

What else? We have special features on the site. The lead feature at the moment is an issue that is very close to my heart indeed - child labour in Indian sandstone. Read the case study and watch the video interview with Chris Harrop from Marshalls - Chris was moved to act when he travelled to India and saw with his own eyes ... well, watch the video. It's important stuff, and not to be swept under the carpet at a time of recession.

The other key feature is the full length interview with Leo Martin of GoodCorporation, covered in part last issue. Leo is thoughtful and provocative - read / watch what he has to say.

What else? You want more?? Well, there is a revamped resources section that will build over time with reports, case studies, videos and other resources out there on the wider internet - sortable by subject, reviewed by us with some topline commentary. Hopefully it will become more and more helpful in locating the good stuff - the case studies that are worth reading, the reports that are original and important.

It doesn't stop there. Soon we will be launching the CSR jobs board. Got vacancies coming up for CSR-related jobs in your organisation? Think that exposure to the significant audience that comes through Business Respect might help you find that right person? Get in touch.

What else do you want to see at the new site? There's more ideas brewing, but keen to get your thoughts.

In fact, it's getting easier to give feedback. All news articles on the Business Respect site now can take comments from people that are logged in. The blog entries at can also take comments bringing it up to date with most other blogs across the world!

Have a look - tell me what you think.

Now to this issue's main feature. Marcy Scott Lynn is the dynamic and thoughtful Director of CSR for Sun Microsystems. She reflected recently on the fact that Sun made it into the 'Top 100 Corporate Citizens' list - but critiqued how valuable such lists are. I thought it was a well thought through response from someone committed to driving her company's CSR forward - and worth sharing with this audience. There is a link to her blog at the end, and I seriously recommend you signing up.

Thanks all. I'm off to Paris tomorrow for meetings on Responsible Marketing, so I hope the whole system doesn't fall over in my absence! Confidence!


China: Baby milk sufferers to be allowed to sue

Victims of the major baby milk scandal in China have been told by the Supreme People's Court that they will be able to bring lawsuits against those responsible, a switch from the previous position that this would not be allowed.

US: Southwest Airlines pays $7.5m fine for safety lapses

Southwest Airlines is to pay a $7.5m fine over planes that flew without having undertaken essential safety checks. The amount was agreed after the company negotiated down the original $10.2m fine which would have been the largest ever in the history of the Federal Aviation Administration.

UK: Cadbury to certify Britain's most popular chocolate bar as Fairtrade

In spite of the recession, the Fairtrade movement made another step towards the mainstream with an announcement by Cadbury that it is to certify its biggest selling brand, Dairy Milk, as Fairtrade in Britain and Ireland.

UK: Construction firms illegally bought worker blacklist

40 major construction companies, including Taylor Woodrow, Laing O'Rourke and Balfour Beatty, bought secret information on workers to enable them to vet them before employing them, according to the information commissioner.

Indonesia: Calls to ban 'Obama Snacks'

Consumer groups have called for a new snack food using a caricature of President Obama to be banned. It carries a cartoon of Obama making a peace sign and spinning a basketball.

Armenia: Price-fixing probe launched following devaluation

The State Commission on Protection of Economic Competition has said that it believes that prices of some goods, including food, have risen to a disproportionate degree following the devaluation of the dram, and it is launching a probe on retail price-fixing.

Japan: Toyota, Panasonic and Aeon get credit for green credentials

Consumers in Japan rate Toyota and the most effective company in terms of green action, with Panasonic and Aeon in a distant second and third place.

US: Standard & Poor's launch Carbon Efficient Index

Standard & Poor's has launched the S&P US Carbon Efficient Index, which excludes the 100 most carbon-heavy companies from the standard S&P 500. It said that the new Index had an average annual carbon footprint around 48 percent lower than the standard Index.

Ghana: Oil industry transparency praised

Ghana is keeping its past promise to ensure transparency over contracts in the oil industry, according to governance group the Revenue Watch Institute.


The Top 100 Corporate Citizens List - or is it?

Author: Marcy Scott Lynn, dated 16 Mar 2009

Today The CRO Top 100 Corporate Citizens List was published and Sun showed up at number 60. This is our fourth year in a row on this list - we debuted at #70 (2006), fell to #71 (2007), kicked it all the way up to #19 (2008), and ended up at #60 on the 2009 list. Actually, at first we ended up at #37 on the 2009 list, but then The CRO changed its methodology in late February (more on that later) and so our final spot was #60.

Previous edition - No 148 | Following edition - No 150

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