Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#56 - 18 May 2003

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 edition, we review the corporate social responsibility issues within the workplace.

Welcome

Apologies to anyone who tried to send us an email or to unsubscribe in the couple of days following the last edition of Business Respect. A glitch with one of our two email providers meant that no messages got through during that key post-issue period. We usually get three or four unsubs immediately following distribution (compared to 60 - 80 new subs every fortnight, I guess we can live with that!). If you're reading this and you didn't expect to, please send us your request again. We've moved the email address to the other provider, and it should be ok next time!

In this issue, we focus on the workplace with a quick canter through the main CSR issues facing HR practitioners. Anything we've missed out? Let us know ...

We're also taking the opportunity to call time on the current website vote - which has been the most successful to date. The conclusion is as follows:

The most important social responsibility a company like Wal-Mart can observe is
Keeping its prices low 100 (16.08%)
Treating its employees well 156 (25.08%)
Minding its impact on local communities 366 (58.84%)

There were 622 total votes. Thanks to everyone who took part.

News

UK: Airports group provokes extra runway controversy

The UK airports company, BAA, has provoked a storm of controversy with its recommendation that a third runway be considered for London Heathrow airport - in spite of a previous promise to the local community.

ILO: Discrimination continues to plague the workplace

While the most blatant forms of discrimination at work may have faded, many remain a persistent and daily part of the workplace or are taking on new, more subtle forms that are cause for growing concern, according to a new study by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

European Parliament seeks full corporate liability for pollution

The European Parliament has approved legislation that would force companies who pollute the environment to pay for the full costs of clean up. It would also require companies to take out insurance to cover the new liability.

US: gun industry survives legal challenge

Handgun manufacturers and distributors have been cleared by a federal jury of allegations that their marketing practices have fueled gun crime, although the final decision still rests with the judge.

Tobacco companies settle over price fixing

Philip Morris and other tobacco companies have reached a $200m settlement over a lawsuit from American tobacco farmers that alleged the companies fixed prices paid to growers at auction.

Italy: Roche to appeal cartel fine

Roche Holding AG has said that it will appeal a $10m fine in Italy for alleged antitrust activity on diabetes tests. The company - one of five fined - insisted that it had not been engaged in wrongdoing.

Major shareholder pushes ExxonMobil on global warming

Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) has recommended that shareholders should vote in favour of two proposals on climate change at the AGM of ExxonMobil in the face of opposition from the board.

China: Prison sentences on worker rights activists denounced

The International Confederation of Free Trade Unionists has denounced jail terms imposed on two Chinese labour leaders who had been found guilty of subversion.

GlaxoSmithKline provokes fire from shareholders

GlaxoSmithKline is thought to be facing what the BBC described as "the biggest shareholder rebellion over boardroom pay ever seen in the UK" over a controversial 'golden parachute' pay package for its CEO.

Japan: Government sets up working group on CSR standard

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is to set up a working group to feed proposals into the International Standards Organisation's project to create a new standard on corporate social responsibility.

McDonald's hits animal welfare milestone

McDonald's has announced that it has reached a significant milestone in its on-site animal welfare audits, with 500 audits of beef, pork and poultry processing facilities completed worldwide.

South Africa: Gold Fields may face $5bn lawsuit

According to South Africa's Business Report, Gold Fields, the major global gold producer, is facing a lawsuit of $5bn for alleged negligence towards its workers.

Article

Managing CSR in the workplace

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 18 May 2003

One of the last bastions of resistance to CSR programmes within corporates often seems to be the HR department. Given the significant range of issues owned here, that can be a real disadvantage. What are the corporate social responsibility issues that need to be managed in the workplace?

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