Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#159 - 28 Sep 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 look at the debate around how we measure what's good and bad in the economy, and what this might mean for CSR.

Welcome

In theory, a trip to Argentina at a time when a big consultancy project was also going through wasn't going to interrupt the Business Respect publication schedule. And in theory, there is no difference between theory and practice ...

But then there were two different bugs that also intervened.

So here we are, some weeks later, determined not to let it happen again. Oh well.

Oh, and speaking of healthy and sick things - this time's main feature looks at how do we know whether the economy is sick or not? What's that to do with CSR specifically? It comes down to the role of the company, and what society expects of the company. Have a look, and let me know what you think.

News

Pfizer illegal marketing attracts record $2.3bn fine

The largest criminal fine ever has become the dubious accomplishment of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, in the settlement of allegations that it had illegally marketed its painkiller Bextra.

South Africa: Government switches position on apartheid lawsuits

The South African government has reversed the position of the previous administration, and come out in favour of lawsuits brought against companies accused of having aided the apartheid regime.

UK: Doctors call for ban on alcohol advertising

The main doctors' association has called for a ban on all alcohol advertising, including sponsorships, along with an end to cut-price promotions in supermarkets. The British Medical Association said that the measure was necessary to tackle rising levels of consumption that have made alcohol a leading cause of early death.

Aviation industry pledges 50 percent cuts in emissions

Airlines have agreed that they will aim to cut emissions of greenhouse gases to 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. The move, which aims to pre-empt unfavourable attention at the Copenhagen summit in December, is the most radical vision to date of the future of air travel.

US: Utility PG&E withdraws from Chamber of Commerce over climate change

Pacific Gas and Electric, the California-based utility, has pulled its membership of the US Chamber of Commerce over the chamber's sceptical line on global warming. The chairman Peter A. Darbee said: "We find it dismaying that the chamber neglects the indisputable fact that a decisive majority of experts have said that the data on global warming are compelling and point to a threat that cannot be ignored".

Ivory Coast: Trafigura offers to settle with toxic waste victims

Trafigura, the company at the centre of a toxic waste scandal in the Ivory Coast, has offered the 30,000 people affected by the dumping a payment of 1,000 UK pounds each as compensation.

UK: AMC to avoid buying from Congo over conflict fears

British metals firm AMC has said that it will no longer buy tin ore from the Democratic Republic of Congo because it is worried that revenues are going directly towards supporting fighting and human rights abuses.

Australia: Jetstar rejects Burma accusations

Jetstar has said that attacks by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) over the airline's flights to Burma, are wide of the mark. It said that the service provided a valuable support to the ordinary people of the country, and denied that funds from the flights ends up in the hands of the military.

Article

How do we know whether our economy is healthy or sick?

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 28 Sep 2009

Is it time for a radical rethink on how we measure what is right with the economy? The measures that currently tell us we're in recession may not be the right measures at all.

Previous edition - No 158 | Following edition - No 160

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