Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#158 - 18 Aug 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 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 review the continued fall-out of the Bhopal tragedy, 25 years on.

Welcome

There are certain events that have become iconic in the narrative around responsible business. The sinking of the Exxon Valdez, for instance, or the Brent Spar. Another such moment is the chemical leak at Bhopal. The recent reissuing of an arrest warrant in India for the former head of Union Carbide prompted the main feature for this issue - a review of that whole episode, and where it now leaves us.

So there has been a short break in this newsletter for the holiday season - you were probably all sunning yourselves and didn't even notice.

A busy time coming up. I will be in Buenos Aires for a week at the beginning of September giving a number of lectures on CSR there. Any readers based in BA that would like to say 'hi' whilst I'm there, let me know.

I will also be running two training events on sustainable procurement in Melbourne and Sidney, Australia in October. Those events are hosted by ACCSR, and they have course details on line at http://www.accsr.com.au. It's a hot topic, and the courses should be a great opportunity to look at a key area of risk and emerging best practice.

All that, and a big reporting project under way as well. It's going to be a packed month ahead!

News

Congo: Minerals firms 'fuelling conflict'

A number of European and Asian companies, including Britain's Amalgamated Metals Corporation (AMC) and Afrimex, have been buying minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo without checking they are not buying from armed groups and funding the conflict, according to campaign group Global Witness.

China: Sale of steel group ended after workers kill executive

Thousands of rioting steel workers have brought an end to the proposed sale of a majority stake in the state-owned Tonghua and Steel Group. The workers fought with police, and beat to death a senior executive from the company that had been poised to buy the firm.

UK: Balfour Beatty amongst those that bought worker blacklist

A number of construction firms, including Balfour Beatty, have been named by the information commissioner as having paid for information on blacklisted workers.

China: Government accuses Rio Tinto of spying for six years

China has said it believes that mining company Rio Tinto has engaged in industrial espionage in the country over the last six years. Four of the company's employees have been held in custody for a number of weeks.

India: Vedanta Resources threatened over Bauxite mine

The Indian government has said that it will prosecute mining firm Vedanta Resources if it moves too fast with plans to open a controversial bauxite mine in a part of the country held by some to be sacred.

US: Kimberly-Clark makes major commitment for sustainable sourcing

Kimberly-Clark, the major tissue products company and long-time target for environmental campaign group Greenpeace, has announced that it is to eliminate non-certified wood fibre from its supply chain by 2010.

US: Health insurance firm fined over misleading ads

American Medical and Life Insurance has been fined $700,000 for running misleading ads that resulted in patients being left with huge medical bills when they thought they were insured.

US: Coca-Cola cleared of union deaths in Colombia

A US federal appeals court has said that it can find no connection between Coca-Cola or its Colombian bottling subsidiary in attacks made against union leaders during the last decade.

Article

Bhopal - 25 years later the echoes are still loud

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 18 Aug 2009

It must rank as any CEO's worst nightmare. 25 years on from the tragedy in Bhopal, an Indian court has re-issued an arrest warrant for the former CEO of Union Carbide Warren Anderson. Protestors outside the court cheered at the news, and some beat his effigy with sticks.

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