Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#44 - 1 Dec 2002

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.

This issue we review the half term report for the European Campaign for CSR, and we (completely objectively!) preview the launch of the new Business in the Community website.

Welcome

The last couple of weeks have been exceptionally focused ones - to the extent where we should probably apologise to those people who have emailed over the last couple of weeks and still await replies. They will come, we promise. But this has been the last couple of weeks of Mallen's major project for the last nine months - that of preparing and developing the new Business in the Community website.

Now we are nearly there - the site will actually go live the day of the BITC AGM - Thursday 5th December. It is the culmination of an extensive development cycle which sought to bring together some of the world class content producers within an immense organisation supporting a business movement for social responsibility. It aimed to create a CSR website that put the businesses first - that brought some life to the initiatives and stories, and made it easy for the different types of audiences for this material to find what they need.

We asked two excellent UK companies - Flag and Torchbox - to produce a framework for the world class benchmark in CSR websites. We are seeking to provide that technical framework with content to match.

You can rely on us to be utterly objective, of course, as to the outcome of all these high ambitions and long hours. But in any case, we think you'll want to go along on 5th December to http://www.bitc.org.uk to check out the result. And what you find there will grow over the next few months to become a massive resource. Just take a look!

Meanwhile, our own humble website ambles along its own way. The vote, for instance, is now picking up steam. The question was:

"What companies like Nike say in their CSR reporting should be protected by the same free speech rules as those covering their critics". So far, the voting is broadly in agreement. In fact, the figures are as follows:

Agree 90 (60.81%)
Disagree 37 (25%)
Not Sure 21 (14.19%)

148 total votes have been cast to date. But in the week that corpwatch published an article arguing that the fact Nike won't stand by the veracity of its own reports just demonstrates that it's all lies - perhaps there's still time for that overall balance to change!

News

Japan: Snow Brand officials get suspended jail terms

Five former officials of the now-defunct Snow Brand Foods have been given suspended two year prison terms after the fraudulent beef labelling scandal.

Sweatshop campaigners target Gap

Gap clothes stores are being targeted by campaigners who suggested to a conference in New York that they have new evidence that the company is making extensive use of sweatshop labour.

New Zealand: Network for responsible business launched

The Sustainable Business Network has been launched as a result of the merger of a number of New Zealand business networks, including Business for Social Responsibility.

Australia: Senior MP urges end to 'inbred' company boards

A senior Federal MP has called for reform of the business sector, starting with cleaning out 'inbred' company boards.

South Africa: Most companies now have code of ethics

A survey of business ethics in South Africa's top listed companies has found that, although many are falling short on some aspects of ethics management, a picture has emerged that is healthier than some had predicted.

Hewlett-Packard CEO urges CBI to 'restore faith in business'

The CEO of Hewlett-Packard Carly Fiorina told the annual conference of the UK'S Confederation of British Industry that company directors have to lead by example in the wake of the collapse of Enron.

India: Police arrest 100 at Bhopal disaster protest

About 100 protesters were arrested in central India yesterday after they invaded a plant that was the site of the 1984 Bhopal poison gas disaster and demanded its clean-up.

BP ends lobbying on drilling in Alaska

BP has announced that it has pulled out of a lobbying group seeking to open out Alaska to oil production, although the company has not ruled out drilling there if the legal position is agreed.

UK: Toymaker Hasbro fined for price fixing

Hasbro Inc has been fined a record $7.7m by the UK's Office of Fair Trading for preventing distributors from selling its toys and games below prices fixed by the company.

GlaxoSmithKline retreats on pay boost for CEO

GlaxoSmithKline hurriedly shelved plans to grant a huge pay increase for its Chief Executive Jean-Pierre Garnier following an outcry from shareholders and the media.

Bosses 'cannot be trusted'

65% of British people believe that the bosses of large companies cannot be trusted to tell the truth, a MORI survey for the BBC has suggested, with a massive 75% of the view that directors are paid too much.

South Africa: KPMG survey shows reporting becoming mainstream

According to professional services firm KPMG there has been a marked improvement in the number of top South African companies reporting on the non-financial aspects of their performance.

Australia: Philip Morris bans smoking in its own offices

Smoking in all Philip Morris offices across Australia has been banned, with smokers moved to ventilated indoor smoking rooms. Workers have also been offered a one-off cash payment instead of their regular allowance of cigarettes.

Article

A tale of two definitions - the European Campaign for CSR

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 1 Dec 2002

"It Simply Works Better - Campaign Report on European CSR Excellence 2002 - 2003". Report from the European Business Campaign on CSR.

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