Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#62 - 7 Sep 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 issue, we review the range of corporate social responsibility issues arising from how companies operate in the marketplace.
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The vote on the website on public policy continues. The issue around public policy has been picked up by Trillium Asset Management, that said on its website that it "will be exploring ways to promote greater transparency in lobbying among our holdings." There have been one or two other stirrings on the issue emerging in other places too.
The vote currently looks like this:
When it comes to lobbying on matters of public policy, companies should:
Lobby away and / or pay donations - legislators are grown-ups
Lobby and / or pay donations - but they must disclose what they do
Do nothing - corporate lobbying should be banned
333 people have voted to date. We will be changing this poll soon, so the next few days are the last chance to make your views known.
By the next issue, we will have attended and taken part at the Asian Forum on CSR - so expect a lot on that next time. Once again, do let us know if you'll be around at either that conference or the following Ethical Corporation do in Singapore - we're always keen to meet Business Respect readers!
Australia: Business Council breaks ranks over Kyoto
Divisions amongst Australia's leading businesses on climate change have become apparent with the announcement of a shift by the Business Council of Australia from a position of hostility to the Kyoto Protocol to one of neutrality.
Australia: Fintrack Financial Services criticised over advertising
Mortgage broker Fintrack has been criticised by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for the accuracy of its advertising - particularly the claim that the company was free of conflicts of interest caused by commission-based selling.
US: Boise Cascade announces zero old-growth wood policy
The paper and building materials company Boise Cascade has announced that from 2004 it will no longer use timber from old-growth forests or from endangered forests.
McDonald's latest obesity suit thrown out
The second major attempt to hit McDonald's with a class action lawsuit over its contribution to obesity suffered by its customers has been thrown out by a federal judge.
Unocal under pressure over Myanmar
Chief financial officers from New York and California have called upon Unocal to withdraw from Myanmar or clearly state that the company operates in line with human rights guarantees.
East European companies growing on CSR disclosure
According to a new survey by the Partners for Financial Stability programme, 48 percent of major Eastern European companies disclose community involvement information on their websites - with a further 22 percent of the companies surveyed giving information on environmental performance.
Dow Jones Sustainability Index - Winners and Losers
AMP, Anglo American, BAE Systems, Gap, and Toyota Motor Corp are amongst the companies that have been added to the Dow Jones Group Sustainability Index with the latest revision announced on September 4th.
WorldCom CEO pleads not guilty
The former WorldCom chief executive Bernie Ebbers has pleaded innocent to charges that he broke securities laws. The event marks the final opening of court proceedings against executives responsible for the company's $11bn accounting scandal.
Petro-Canada blames environmental legislation for refinery closure
Petro-Canada has announced it is to close its oil refinery in Oakville, USA, cutting 350 jobs in the process, as a result of environmental legislation requiring lower sulphur emissions.
Indonesia: Asia Pulp & Paper signs deal with WWF
Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the WorldWide Fund for Nature (WWF) over the management of its forests in Sumatra. The deal also includes the company's fibre suppliers, the Sinar Mas Group forestry companies (SMG).
Lesotho: Bribery charges extend to Spie Batagnolles
French construction company Spie Batagnolles is to become the third company prosecuted for alleged bribery in the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.
Key mining and oil companies pledge to keep hands off protected sites
Royal Dutch/Shell and the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) have stated that they will not lead land explorations in any of the 172 protected areas listed by the World Heritage.
In the market for business responsibility
Author: Mallen Baker, dated 7 Sep 2003
How companies show social responsibility in the marketplace is the key challenge that will come to define the success or failure of CSR over the coming years. When journalists note in passing, as some have certainly done recently, the 'triviality' of much of what passes as CSR, they are usually reflecting the relative novelty with which the movement is getting to grips with issues around core products and services.
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