Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#189 - 24 Jan 2014

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 ask whether the exemplar companies celebrated in CSR case studies are actually all that good after all.


What's the point of CSR case studies? At their best, they are there to inspire business leaders to believe that extraordinary things are possible when they commit intelligently and with energy to corporate social responsibility and sustainability. I always think that those awards ceremonies that simply give a namecall to winners without telling the story of why they won are really selling their audience short. In the interests of cramming in as many categories (and category sponsorship often) as possible, they nullify the power of great examples to influence others.

But case studies are also there to inform. To provide at least the outline information that would enable other companies to go some way towards replicating the great results that a company had, both in terms of social impact and also business benefits.

Because, after all, this is a field where everyone benefits if the standards of good practice continue to go up.

To read the majority of CSR case studies, you wouldn't quite believe that these were the objectives they had in mind when writing them. I've written about that a few times. But just as importantly - more importantly to be honest - it's a valid question to ask whether the companies being celebrated actually represent best practice at all. The main feature this time throws a spotlight onto this question.

I shall be in Buenos Aires in the first week of February - running courses on CSR there with Amartya. As always, would be happy to meet up with any readers in that part of the world who would like to connect. Get in touch.


Indonesia: Pulp and paper company APRIL threatened over deforestation

The World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has said that APRIL, a major pulp and paper company in Indonesia, will be expelled from its membership unless it can show that it has ended deforestation.

Switzerland: National Bank to screen shares on ethical grounds

The Swiss National Bank has said that it will sell shares in companies that fall short on ethics, including those that are responsible for human rights abuses or significant damage to the environment.


Be careful whose example you follow

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 22 Jan 2014

Back at the turn of the century, all the talk in business circles was of 'the war for talent'. Indeed, for those of us that were involved in the promotion of corporate social responsibility, the war was particularly interesting - since if the 'talent' concerned was committed to values not just to money, then the adoption of CSR could easily fit into this new mindset and gain strength from it.

Previous edition - No 188 | Following edition - No 190

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