Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#174 - 17 Feb 2011

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 ask whether companies committed to sustainability can also be committed to growth.

Welcome

People who believe in changing the world get inspired by stories - not by reports of bottom line results. That's why so many of the most admired ethical brands are associated with the role of the plucky challenger - the small firms dedicated to moving fast, motivated often by some charismatic founder(s). These make great stories, because they are very human scale.

But small doesn't change the world unless it becomes big. Can companies committed to sustainability also be committed to growth? Does the simple fact of gaining size turn them into something that, by its inherent nature, cannot be sustainable?

Or you could even turn it around. If a company committed to sustainability chooses to remain small, does that choice of purity over scale devalue its contribution? Is that why almost none of these firms ever make that choice, and why so many inevitably get accused of 'selling out'?

That is the subject for the main feature this time.

News

Indonesia: Major palm oil producer promises to protect rainforest

Golden Agri-Resources Ltd (GAR) has said that it will end deforestation in sensitive areas of Indonesia's forest, and will protect forests and peatlands that have a high level of biodiversity. The move is a major turn-around for the biggest company dealing in palm oil in the country, and second largest in the world.

India: Etisalat vice chairman arrested over telecoms scandal

The vice chairman of Etisalat DB, Andimuthu Raja, has been arrested by federal investigators for alleged involvement in a 2008 scandal that saw some telecoms companies benefit from government corruption.

Ecuador: Chevron fined for major pollution of Amazon

US oil company Chevron has been fined $8.6bn by a court in Ecuador for dumping massive quantities of toxic materials into unlined pits and rivers. The company has condemned the ruling as "fraudulent".

US: Apple suppliers paid kickbacks for secrets

A former Apple supply chain manager has admitted guilt in a fraud case in California. Paul Devine had sold inside information to suppliers, enabling them to negotiate more favourable terms.

Article

Is sustainable growth a contradiction in terms for the ethical company?

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 17 Feb 2011

Every ambitious small company wants the same thing - to grow. And small companies that produce a more sustainable product, or a healthier product, and does it with style can often find that the marketplace rewards them by giving the chance to grow quickly.

Previous edition - No 173 | Following edition - No 175