Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#76 - 19 Jul 2004

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 outcome of the recent Business in the Community awards and the controversy around Marks & Spencer being named 'company of the year'.

Welcome

A passing reference to one particular industry sector in the last issue prompted a record number of 'bounces' from email filters on corporate firewalls! If you don't get a copy of the newsletter when you're expecting to see one, it may well be worth just checking the website to see the latest version on the site. Sadly, there's not much we can do about overzealous corporate policies on such matters.

The latest Business in the Community conference saw the announcement of the new Marketplace Impact Taskforce - a business leadership group that is being put together to review how businesses should respond to changing expectations around their core products and services. This is a project Mallen is particularly engaged upon, so things have been rather busy in the last few weeks!

Following on from last issue's lead article on obesity, the vote on the website has been attracting some activity. If you remember, it reads:

"The rising obesity problems in many countries will best be solved by:

New legislation to force food companies to reform their ways 27 (12%)
People taking personal responsibility for themselves and their families - we don't need people telling us how to live our lives 76 (34%)
All organisations, public and private sector, working together voluntarily to change behaviour 123 (54%)"

226 of you have voted so far. There is still time to make your views known!

Thanks to those of you that made yourselves known as Business Respect readers to Mallen at the BITC conference. The next big event will probably be the Asian Forum on CSR conference in Malaysia in September. If you plan to be there this year, we would be delighted to hear from you! Sadly, Vanessa probably won't make the Asian Forum this year since she will most likely be moving from Bangkok just the week before!

News

Ford unveils new hybrid SUV

Having frankly admitted last year that it had not made the progress it wanted to on the environmental performance of its vehicles, Ford has released a new gasoline-electric hybrid sport utility vehicle (SUV). It is the US public's fondness for SUVs that has led to the deteriorating performance of the transport sector in terms of emissions.

Corporate governance is now 'a top priority' for Execs

Eighty five percent of senior finance professionals say that the greater focus on corporate governance is here to stay, according to a new survey of nearly 150 companies in the UK, the US, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

US: Pharmaceutical industry issues guidelines for research disclosure

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) has launched new guidelines that call for the release of data from clinical trials, regardless of whether the results are favourable to the company commissioning the trials.

Philip Morris settles smuggling claims for $1.25 bn

Philip Morris International has agreed a $1.25bn settlement with the European Union over accusations of collusion with cigarette smuggling.

De Beers to plead guilty to price fixing

De Beers, the global diamond producer, has agreed to plead guilty to criminal price fixing, according to a report in the New York Times. The move will bring to an end a case that has spanned over a decade.

US: Kerry would bring in new era of corporate responsibility

John Kerry, the Democratic challenger to George W. Bush in the US Presidential election, will prioritise greater measures on corporate responsibility, according to his running mate in the contest John Edwards.

Asia Pacific: Citigroup promotes excellence in NGO sector

Citigroup Foundation, working with Resource Alliance, is promoting a series of Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) awards in the Asia Pacific region in order to encourage excellence in the sector.

Finland ranked top for social responsibility

Finland is the best country for corporate responsibility, according to the 2003 CSR survey by the Copenhagen Centre, with Indonesia coming in as the poorest.

Switzerland: IBM lawsuit on role in holocaust to proceed

Five Gypsies have been told by the Swiss appeals court that they can proceed with a lawsuit against IBM about the company's role during the Nazi era when the company's products allegedly helped facilitate the holocaust.

Namibia: NamPower launches Black Economic Empowerment Policy

NamPower, the Namibian energy company, has launched a Black Economic Empowerment Policy to take a proactive approach to redressing imbalances in the country.

India: Tata Steel to insist on socially responsible suppliers

Tata Steel has said that it will not deal in the future with companies that do not reach a minimum standard of corporate social responsibility.

Anti-corruption principle added to the UN Global Compact

The UN Global Compact, which frames 9 corporate commitments arising from basic globally held principles of the UN charter, has now added a 10th principle around the issue of corruption.

Malaysia: Deputy PM says business must help eradicate poverty

Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, has said that the private sector must be involved in helping the government to eradicate poverty over the next five years.

Australia: More companies producing CSR reports

More Australian companies are producing sustainability or CSR reports, according to a new study by the Department of the Environment and Heritage and others. Of 509 companies surveyed, 116 has a publicly available report.

Article

What's in an award?

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 19 Jul 2004

The annual Business in the Community awards, which took place on July 6th, saw the usual crop of examples of best practice from a range of areas relating to responsible business practice and community involvement. It was however the first time a CSR award made it onto the front page of the Financial Times, with the choice of Marks & Spencer as BITC's Company of the Year just as the takeover battle for the company was reaching fever pitch.

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