Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#67 - 30 Nov 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 state of corporate social responsibility in South Korea following its recent International Symposium.

Welcome

A slight one-day delay in getting this issue out - not because Mallen was returning from South Korea this weekend, where he'd been speaking at the International Symposium on Strategic Approaches to CSR there - that was all planned and accounted for. But because of the crumbling, disgraceful transport infrastructure in the UK meaning that the original plan to finish off with the main article for this issue on the train could not be done - since said train was actually a replacement bus!

As for the event itself, it was interesting to get a sense of where things stand for businesses based in South Korea. The Beautiful Foundation, the organisers of the event, were excellent and attentive hosts, and had a really impressive story to tell in terms of the work they have been doing to introduce a sharing culture into Korea. More about this event in the main feature for this issue.

Meanwhile, as you will see in the news stories, PwC have joined the list of companies pulling out of Burma. Funnily enough, by an overwhelming majority on the website vote as it currently stands, you don't think they should have. The current position is:

In countries like Burma or Sudan where there are huge human rights challenges, companies should:
Withdraw - no company with a conscience should do business there - 138 (24%)
Do business there - but use its influence to try to make things better - 396 (69%)
Do business there - and keep out of interfering in politics - 40 (7%)

574 people have voted in total.

In the mean time, we still haven't managed to get our first translated pages actually up onto the website. The things are going at the moment, it may well turn out to be an investment of time over Christmas that does it!

News

Japan: Business federation opposes carbon tax

Nippon Keidanren, the Japan Business Federation, has told the government that a proposed carbon tax designed to help Japan meet its Kyoto Protocol targets would have an adverse effect on business.

European Commission to produce white paper on CSR

Following the recent 'green paper' on corporate social responsibility, the European Commission has announced that it will produce a 'white paper' - firming up policy proposals - in November next year.

Chevron Nigeria wins US State corporate excellence award

Chevron Nigeria has won the US Secretary of State's Award for Corporate Excellence for what is described as "it's exemplary commitment to the well being of the people of the Niger Delta and dedication to the ideals of corporate responsibility".

Petro-Canada urges slower Kyoto implementation

Ron Brenneman, the chief executive of Petro-Canada, has said that the incoming prime minister Paul Martin should slow Canada's implementation of the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions.

UN Global Compact responds to BHP Billiton collective bargaining issue

The UN Global Compact has given a general indication that it supports the points made by labour unions about BHP Billiton's approach to collective bargaining, and is encouraging the company to resolve the issue. The UN has also offered to send representatives from the International Labour Organisation to advise.

US; Alcohol companies targeted for under-age drinking lawsuit

Major drinks companies Brown-Forman and Diageo have said that they intend to vigorously contest a class-action lawsuit alleging that they have deliberately marketed to under-age drinkers.

UK: Work-life balance employers of the year announced

Companies ranging from a small engineering company through to the Central Scotland Forest Trust have been named as Employers of the Year in the 'Parents at Work' awards. The awards are designed to reward innovation and creative thinking in work-life balance.

Australia: Top companies not yet complying with risk management rules

Most top companies have failed to embrace the new risk management guidelines introduced by the Australian Stock Exchange, according to Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

South Africa: Environmental law to make mining more expensive

The cost of mining in South Africa is set to increase significantly, with companies likely to need to pay for insurance cover for directors who are now at risk of personal liability claims against them for environmental offences by their company.

PricewaterhouseCoopers joins the retreat from Burma

PricewaterhouseCoopers has withdrawn from interests in Burma joining the growing list of companies that have pulled out from the regime, according to the Burma Campaign UK.

Japan: Former Chinese slave labourers to sue Mitsubishi Corp

Ten Chinese people who were forced to work as slave labourers by Japan during the war are to sue Mitsubishi Corp, as well as the Japanese Government.

HSBC launches fund for victims of Istanbul tragedy

HSBC has launched a US$1 million staff welfare fund to help the families of staff who were bereaved or injured in the Istanbul bomb blasts. The Group is also establishing a community relief scheme to help local businesses.

China: Government to clean up fireworks industry

The Chinese government has said that it will take measures to improve practices in its fireworks industry, which this year has seen a spate of accidents.

Article

Korea explores the beauty of corporate community investment

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 30 Nov 2003

Corporate Social Responsibility in South Korea remains predominantly defined by philanthropy. The focus of the International Symposium held by the Beautiful Foundation, the fast emerging leading not-for-profit organisation in Seoul, certainly reinforced this.

Previous edition - No 66 | Following edition - No 68

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