Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#184 - 26 Jul 2012

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 latest update to the Global Reporting Initiative framework, and we make a small announcement!

Welcome

Those of you that have been on this list for some time - and thank you if that's you, by the way - will recall that I have written from time to time about the Global Reporting Initiative framework. With the latest revision recently released for consultation, it was clearly time to revisit this theme. For good or for ill, the framework has been hugely influential and is used to some degree by many of the companies reporting their social and environmental impacts. So it forms the main feature in this issue.

You'll remember that I mentioned in the last issue that I would be making an announcement next time.

My main reservation with the current state of the art with CR / sustainability reporting - that it is aimed at all stakeholder audiences, but fails to engage many of them because of its 'one-size-fits-all' approach - has not changed over the many years I've been engaging with companies on their reporting.

It seems self evident to me that the pdf reports should be targeted primarily at the investor audiences, along with regulators and NGOs because these audiences are comfortable with reports, want to be able to focus on the data and bring their experience to bear in reading between the lines.

But there are precious few companies yet really understanding that they have the opportunity to engage their key audiences online, using some of the emerging techniques and technologies that marketers are already using to sell product. I really think we should be entering an era of innovation and experiment - where your website, or your mobile app, becomes a tool for engaging your customers as citizens, not just as consumers.

At the very least, you could be finding engaging and interesting ways to encourage people to take in some of the information you've produced for your report. But for companies with real imagination, it could go a lot further.

So with this mission in mind, I'm creating a new business - Daisywheel Interactive - which is a digital agency, providing web design, online video, and the use of digital technologies with a particular focus on CR and sustainability. It will provide websites for organisations and businesses trying to do good in the world - but with a real interest within that for really engaging with audiences.

That's all I'm going to say about that - this isn't meant to be an extended pitch. You can see the new business website at http://daisywheelinteractive.com. If you want to express support for the outline mission above, or just to be kept up to date with new things the company works on, blog posts specific to that mission, or the series of videos I will be releasing over the coming few weeks looking at some companies' sites that use the sort of techniques I'm talking about - you might want to 'like' the Facebook page, or follow the Linked In page.

This newsletter will continue, by the way. And the resources of the new business will at some point get to be utilised to update and refresh the look of both the Business Respect website and this newsletter. Long overdue on both counts!

Soon we will all be forgetting about such things and no doubt rooting for our respective national teams competing in the Olympics. I saw some of the French team arriving on the Eurostar the other day - I'm sure it's going to be a great spectacle - and we hope to see the best of human skill and endurance on display. Have fun!

News

UK: Alcohol advertising under pressure from MPs

The Parliamentary health select committee has said that drinks companies run the risk of "paying only lip service" to the public health needs of reducing the impact of alcohol abuse. It flagged the possibility that new curbs on advertising could be in the pipeline, along with a ban on alcohol-related sports sponsorship.

Japan: Tepco supplier exposed workers in Fukushima crisis

Nine workers for construction firm Build-Up were forced to under-report radiation exposure when they were dealing with the Fukushima nuclear plant crisis. A senior executive at the company order staff to attach lead plates to pocket dosimeters supplied by Tepco in order to keep the readings below government emergency safety limits.

US: GlaxoSmithKline boss promises company has changed after $3bn mis-selling fine

Andrew Witty, CEO of global pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, has expressed his regret over the unacceptable practices of the past which led to the company receiving a record $3bn fine in the US for selling drugs for unapproved uses amongst other breaches.

Article

The Global Reporting Initiative is growing up

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 25 Jul 2012

Regular readers will know that even though I have been a strong advocate of CSR / sustainability reporting I have been a GRI-sceptic for as long as it has existed. Why? Well, in the early days the indicator range was a poorly conceived hotch-potch of measures that really didn't tell you very much.

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