Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#85 - 29 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 edition, we note that CSR reporting is approaching a crossroads, and wonder which direction it will take.

Welcome

CSR reporting remains a focus of interest for the social responsibility movement generally, and for this newsletter as well. And yet, although we are starting to see some movement by companies to address the challenges raised here and elsewhere in the past re. the format of reporting, there is a growing tension over how fit-for-purpose current modes of reporting are. We look at this in this edition's article.

Meanwhile, voting has begun on the vote placed on the website following last issue's focus on standards. The current status is as follows:

Management standards for CSR are generally:

A useful tool for my business - 129 (73%)
Something to refer to but not follow in full - 28 (16%)
Not relevant to our needs 20 (11%)

Thanks to the 177 of you that have voted. Still time to make your view known!

Tom Rotherham, from the International Institute for Sustainable Development asked us to point out following that article that the meeting referred to in the first paragraph of that article was not an ISO meeting, but a meeting hosted by an ISO member. The next formal meeting of the ISO working group on ISO 26000 is due to take place at the end of September in Bangkok. We are happy to make this clarification.

We expect that the launching of this edition will be met by an avalanche of auto-responders. Happy holidays to all that are enjoying them.

News

Japan: Asbestos health problems a 'quiet timebomb'

Japan is seeing a rise in asbestos related disease amongst workers, with more and more companies producing lists of those that have died or are receiving treatment, according to an editorial in the Japan Times. Nearly 400 people at 30 businesses have died, and more are expected to follow.

Worldcom's Bernie Ebbers jailed for 25 years

Former Worldcom boss Bernard Ebbers has been sentenced to 25 years in jail for fraud and conspiracy for his part in the $11bn accounting fraud at the company three years ago.

Lawsuits brought on child labour in chocolate

Three companies, Nestle, Archer Daniels Midland Co and Cargill Inc. are being sued under the US Alien Claims Tort Act over claims that they are involved in trafficking, torture and forced labour of children on Ivory Coast cocoa farms.

BHP Billiton under pressure over dam explosion

BHP Billiton has been called upon for greater transparency by the Australian Shareholders Association following the death of a mine worker in an explosion at Olympic Dam.

Take-Two in trouble over hidden scene in Grand Theft Auto

Take-Two Interactive Software has announced that it is being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission following the recent revelation that a locked scene in its best selling computer game Grand Theft Auto violated the rating classification awarded to the game.

Reebok disputes sweatshop claims

Reebok has described as 'inaccurate and unfair' accusations by the National Labor Committee that workers at its Honduras factory work in sweatshop condictions.

US: Gunmakers look forward to protection from gun crime liability

Firearms manufacturers in the US are now confident in the passage of a bill in the Senate that will achieve their long-held ambition of protection from lawsuits holding them liable for gun crime committed with their products.

Motor car fuel efficiency goes backwards not forward

According to an advance copy of a report from the US Environmental Protection Agency, fuel economy in motor vehicles has declined compared to the late 1980s. The message of the report is that the significant development and improvement of motor engines has largely been aimed at faster cars, not more efficient cars.

Japan: Sony named as most responsible Japanese company

According to a new survey released by the business newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Sony is the company that is most active in promoting corporate social responsibility in Japan.

Kenya: Tobacco advertising under fire

Tobacco advertising that aims to promote social messages has come under fire as a loophole being exploited for the advertising and promotion of tobacco.

Article

CSR Reporting faces its next challenge

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 29 Jul 2005

There is some discussion that a number of the people in the leading companies - the pioneers, the CSR enthusiasts, the committed - are getting pretty fed up of being on the hamster wheel of churning out annual CSR reports. They spend most of their time collecting data, and not coming up with new ways to improve business practice. Revolt is in the air.

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