Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#84 - 7 Jul 2005

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 look again at the emerging issue of corporate lobbying.

Welcome

It is a sobering thing to be writing this editorial on the first train able to leave London to go to Norwich following the closure of the stations occasioned by the multiple terrorist attacks. Hopefully, none of our readers will have been personally touched by this awful tragedy and, in common with most people in the world, our hearts go out to those people that have been.

The attacks took place the day after Business in the Community's conference and awards, where we saw the coming together of business leaders and African leaders who were attending the Busines Action for Africa conference running at the same time. That was a powerful, optimistic event, celebrating the potential for Africa to achieve its potential, and the best practice of companies in responsible business practice. That, and the small matter on the Wednesday of the UK winning its bid to host the Olympic games in 2012 that had a few good folks very excited.

Now we have to go on, somewhat more grimly. We will not lose sight of the role that businesses can have in addressing world poverty. The Live 8 concerts have focused attention on the continuing tragedy and injustice of it all. They have made all of us, citizens, businesses and - perhaps even - politicians feel that we have tolerated poverty in Africa for too long and it is time to make a decisive start at a solution.

But terrorism reminds us of another reason for action - the ugliness of poverty and injustice provides an ideal breeding ground for extremism. Every person involved in the London bombings personally bears the responsibility of their actions - and we all hope they will be caught as soon as possible. But such extremism will continue to thrive so long as one third of the world lives at a level apparently unattainable by the rest. This should add impetus not only to discussions on Africa, but also climate change, and should spur companies on to address issues around how customers at the 'bottom of the pyramid' can be served.

From the sombre and reflective, to the practical and apologetic.

Technical problems with the last edition of the newsletter meant that its sending out was staggered over five days, and just under 2,000 subscribers didn't get it at all. Apologies for that - it would be too long and tedious to explain what happened. If you didn't get the last issue and want to read it, you can find it at http://www.mallenbaker.net/csr/nl/83.html.

News

Italy: Parmalat executives to stand trial

16 former executives and three financial institutions have been formally charged over their role in the collapse of diary company Parmalat following a major financial scandal.

Alcoa says aluminium industry carbon neutral by 2017

Aluminium giant Alcoa has said that it is now forecasting that the industry will be carbon neutral by 2017. According to its president of Primary Metals Development, Randall Overbey, its greenhouse gas emissions will be offset by the amount of emissions saved by the use of aluminium in the transportation industry.

CSR reporting continuing to grow

There is continuing support for CSR and sustainabiity reporting by the world's biggest companies, according to a recent survey by international accounting firm KPMG.

Halliburton under fire again for 'war profiteering'

US Democrats have stepped up their attack on Halliburton over Pentagon audits that query over $1bn of bills for the company's work in Iraq.

UK: Christian group calls for boycott of UK's ethical bank

The organisation Christian Voice has called on all Christians to boycott the Co-operative Bank, widely known in the UK for its ethical policy, after being told to close its account due to the group's 'homophobic views'.

40 years jail for sweatshop owner

The Korean owner of a garment factory in American Samoa has been sentenced to 40 years in jail for what prosecutors described as "modern day slavery".

Japan: Bank executives found guilty for concealing massive bad loans

A court in Tokyo has found three former executives of the failed Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan guilty of covering up massive bad loans that caused the firm's collapse.

Tyco executives guilty of stealing $150m

The former chief executive and finance chief of Tyco have been found guilty of stealing over $150m from the company, which was used to fund lavish lifestyles.

Shell defends against raft of NGO accusations

Global oil giant Shell has responded to attacks made by the UK's Friends of the Earth, disputing the claimed facts promoted by the group in its 'alternative Shell report'.

China: Legislation will ban sexual harassment in the workplace

The Chinese government has begun moves to ban sexual harassment after surveys showing that Chinese professional women were widely experiencing problems.

Microsoft criticised for 'censorship' on Chinese portal

Microsoft has come under fire upon the revelation that its new internet portal in China, which allows users to set up internet 'blogs', blocks certain uses of terms deemed to be sensitive by Beijing, including words such as 'democracy' and 'human rights'.

New Zealand: Companies under attack for sea-bed trawling

One of New Zealand's leading marine biologists, Dr Steve O'Shea, has added his voice to the controversial campaign by Greenpeace against deep sea trawling - a practice which accounts for something like 80 percent of fish caught in the area.

Article

Corporate lobbying - Rising up the CSR Agenda

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 7 Jul 2005

Anyone with an eye towards where are the emerging issues in corporate social responsibility will have registered the question of corporate lobbying of governments. Indeed, it wasn't that long ago that we last dealt with the question here. Since then things have continued to move significantly.

Previous edition - No 83 | Following edition - No 85

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