Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#46 - 29 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 progress on last year's predictions for the next five years in corporate social responsibility. And we wish all our readers a happy new year!

Welcome

This time last year, we rather foolishly set down no fewer than nine hostages to fortune - predictions on what will happen within the world of CSR during the next five years. Now seemed like as good an opportunity as ever to review those predictions and see how they're holding up!

Hopefully better than last issue's prediction that the next stage of the Nike vs Kasky case was imminent, since the court's decision was postponed to later in January. So the current vote will remain on the website until then. To remind you, the statement is: "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, 240 people have voted, with 150 agreeing (62.5%), 58 disagreeing (24.17%) and 32 not sure (13.33%). Still time to make your views known though!

Having worked rather ceaselessly on the Business in the Community website over recent months, the Christmas break has allowed one or two little enhancements on the website at mallenbaker.net. Most significantly, news items now list other related news stories underneath the main text - making it easier than ever to find items of interest.

The news database has grown over the last two years. It is able to be sorted by topic, by month and by newsletter edition. Now this new enhancement makes it easy to pull out all the items relating to any single company. We think that it has probably become one of the most useful CSR news resources on the web. But if you think it could still be better, let us know how!

Finally - a very happy new year to all our readers.

News

Ecuador: CGC oil workers freed by Indian protestors

The eight workers for Argentine oil company CGC have been freed after being held for nine days by Achuar indians, protesting the company's oil explorations in the Amazon jungle.

Japan: Mitsui implicated in bribes

An executive of a Tokyo-based machinery maker has alleged that he was paid 200m yen to help Mitsui win contracts to build waste disposal facilities.

Canada: Hudson's Bay and Wal-Mart 'sweatshop retailers' of the year

Anti-sweatshop campaigners have named Hudson's Bay and Wal-Mart and 'Sweatshop Retailers of the Year', awarded by the Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN) with voting online by consumers.

Ethics helps win war for talent

Companies could improve their chances of hiring and retaining talented staff if they are supportive of employees' home needs and pay more attention to environmental and community concerns, according to a recent study of over 1,000 workers.

Enron partners exposed to lawsuits

A federal judge in Houston has ruled that banks, law firms and investment houses that helped construct Enron's off-the-books partnerships may be sued by investors seeking to regain their losses.

Australia: Mandatory SRI guidelines on the way

Fund managers would have to give detailed descriptions of ethical investment criteria and processes, under proposals contained in the long-awaited Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) discussion paper on the subject.

Microsoft sued by phone partner

British mobile phone maker Sendo is suing Microsoft for allegedly stealing its technology and passing it to other mobile manufacturers.

Ford settles claims it misled public about SUVs

Ford Motor Co has agreed to pay $51.5m to settle US state government claims that it misled consumers about the safety of its sport utility vehicles (SUVs).

China's toy workers subjected to toxic sweatshops

New research has suggested that the 10 year campaign to improve workers conditions in the toy industry of China has barely begun to have an impact.

Taiwan: Diageo suffers storm over UK poster adverts

Diageo has formally apologised to Taiwan for offence caused by poster adverts used by the company on the London underground following a storm of protest in the country that represents a significant market for some of its products.

Toy industry adopts new standards to stop sweatshops

The international toy industry has agreed to introduce tough new standards to stop sweatshop labour conditions.

Ethiopia: Nestle under fire for debt demands

Nestle has become embroiled in controversy over its demand for $6m from the famine-stricken government of Ethiopia as compensation for the previous nationalisation of its assets.

Article

The next five years of CSR - some progress

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 29 Dec 2002

This time last year, we made a number of predictions about what would happen in the world of corporate social responsibility over the coming five years. It may not be five years later just yet - but it's worth nevertheless fearlessly casting an eye back on each of these to see whether trends since that time suggest the predictions will ultimately hold up or not.

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