Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#171 - 10 Nov 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 issue, we look at five ways for a head of CSR to break in a new CEO.


If you've ever listened to someone give a CSR case study, you've probably heard someone say things like "Our company decided that [issue] is important. So we implemented this programme ..."

Of course, what that completely glosses over is the process by which "our company decided". Increasingly, the work I do with companies seems to focus on how you sell CSR internally. And specifically, how you build the engagement and support of the senior executives.

In two days, I've spoken with two heads of CSR who are in the process of dealing with a new CEO - managing the gentle art of bringing them up to speed with what the company is doing in this space, and why it makes sense.

So that is the subject of the main feature for this edition - "Five ways for a head of CSR to break in a new CEO". Any of you out there that have engaged on a similar exercise, I would be interested to get your own thoughts on what worked or didn't for you.

Meanwhile, there is some buzz around that Unilever is due to announce its new sustainability strategy - and that this represents such a shift that it will profoundly change the terms of reference for how FMCG companies are judged on their approach. Next Monday is the time. Unilever has made impressive strides in recent years, and I'm not inclined to dismiss the buzz as hype in advance. We shall see.


Shell amongst firms fined for bribes

Seven companies have been fined $236m to settle charges that they paid bribes to foreign officials for favourable treatment. The companies include Royal Dutch Shell, as well as oil service companies and shipping firms.

India: Bhopal survivors use Obama visit to press case

Campaigners and survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas leak disaster used the visit of President Obama to India to highlight their call for the former head of Union Carbide Warren Anderson to be extradited to face charges in an Indian court.

US: Mixed messages for BP from Oil Spill Commission report

BP was able to take heart that the US government inquiry into the Gulf of Mexico disaster has concluded that it agrees with 90 percent of the company's own conclusions about the event. However, the company is still strongly criciticised, and others have been bitterly attacking the report for letting the company off too easily.

US: Former GlaxoSmithkline executive charged as law targets individuals

The Justice Department has charged a former vice president of pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithkline with obstructing an investigation into illegal marketing of the company's drug Wellbutrin. The move is attracting attention because it signals a shift in government focus from suing the companies to one that targets individual executives.


Five ways for a head of CSR to break in a new CEO

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 9 Nov 2010

Marc Bolland, the new chief executive of leading UK sustainability champion Marks & Spencer, launched his new strategy today. In so doing, he reversed certain things that had been started by his predecessor, Stuart Rose. Certain sub-brands. Positioning in regard to foreign expansion. One thing he didn't change, he mentioned pretty much in passing, was the company's commitment to Plan A - its sustainability programme.

Previous edition - No 170 | Following edition - No 172

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