Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#163 - 31 Jan 2010

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 edition, we identify four factors that lead companies to become irresponsible.


My general assumption is that very seldom, when you come across a company that is operating in an irresponsible way, did someone deliberately set out to make it so. Instead, there are a number of factors that can take place that might, step by step, take you there. This edition's main feature explores some of these. Feel free to add some additional thoughts of your own.

This week I took part in my first podcast for the good folks at Ethical Corporation. Watch out for that one to appear some time in the next couple of weeks. In the mean time, if your involvement with CSR focuses on risk, you might want to check out the forthcoming conference that they're running. Check out the ad at the end of this editorial.

This week, I'm speaking at the practitioner session they will be holding at the International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility in Nottingham. If you plan to be there, make sure you come up and say 'hi' before or after the session.


UK: GlaxoSmithKline targets low cost vaccine for malaria

GlaxoSmithKline has said that it will aim to keep prices for its planned malaria vaccine low - taking only a five percent profit on manufacturing costs - in order to make it available to poor communities where it is needed. The company has also put into the public domain thousands of potential drugs that might help spark future non-profit research into the disease.

Zambia: Chinese companies accused of creating 'slave labour' conditions

The leader of Zambia's main opposition party, Michael Sata, has said that Chinese and other Asian mining companies are showing almost no consideration for worker safety or local culture. Mr Sata - who may become the new president in elections in 2011 - attacked current government policies that give special tax status to foreign investors.

UK mining groups failing to reduce deaths

The leading UK-listed mining companies are failing to make inroads in their attempts to reduce deaths at their sites, according to a recent survey by the Financial Times. With the exception of Anglo American, which has made progress, the number of fatalities has remained at 2004 levels.

Japan: Court finds tobacco company not liable for illnesses

Japan Tobacco has been cleared of liability for the illnesses of three former smokers by the Yokohama District Court. The suit said that health problems, including lung cancer, had been caused by smoking and the company had continued to sell cigarettes despite its knowledge of the harmful effects.


Four factors that create irresponsible businesses

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 25 Jan 2010

It's possible that people become leaders of major businesses with the full intention of earning money in the most unethical, disreputable way possible. But more likely, they don't. Companies end up doing the wrong things for a variety of reasons - none of which necessarily begin with evil intent.

Previous edition - No 162 | Following edition - No 164

Subscribe Now


The Business Respect email newsletter has been produced since 2001 to give news and commentary on CSR worldwide


See the archive of past issues