Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#96 - 4 Jun 2006

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 consider whether the best respected badge for sustainable forestry is covering up bad practice in Uruguay

Welcome

In this age of difficult dilemmas in the supply chain, customers have precious few pointers they can use to help them to support the businesses that are doing the right thing.

One of these pointers, on the issue of sustainable timber, has been the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification process. There has long been controversy over whether this process should be extended to mono-culture plantations, but now a recent report has raised questions that go to the heart of the integrity of the certification process itself. We review the issues and the report in this edition.

It's worth mentioning that I have given up even trying to respond to some of the various student research queries I get about CSR as a result of the website. People that have done their homework and are asking for a specific comment related to an area that I have covered in an article or on the website will always get responses. But more often I get the 'here is my essay title - please give me your thoughts' questions. This is lazy research, and with the best will in the world no-one has time to respond to these sorts of queries. I have thought about putting an FAQ onto the website to cover some of the most common queries, but ultimately all the information any student could want is out there for the finding - it just takes a little time and thought.

Voting on the new poll on the website has been taking place. The current position stands as follows:

Companies that trade on their ethics such as the Body Shop should:
Stay independent at all costs to preserve their brand 63 (29%)
Accept offers from responsible buyers that may help the company to move forward 122 (56%)
Operate purely by the logic of the market, it's a brand not a religion 33 (15%)

Thanks to the 218 people that have voted so far. There is still time to make your views known!

News

Shell to appeal Niger Delta fine

Shell has appealed against a court ruling in Nigeria fining it $1.5bn for environmental damage in the region caused by its operations.

Enron: Lay and Skilling found guilty

After a spectacular trial, former Enron bosses Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling have both been found guilty on charges including massive fraud and conspiracy.

Liberia: Firestone accused of profiting from illegal rubber

According to a new report by the Liberian government and the UN, Firestone is one of three companies that is benefiting from rubber that is obtained from plantations that are illegally occupied.

Switzerland: Credit Suisse to go carbon neutral

Credit Suisse has announced that it aims to make its domestic banking operations carbon neutral during this year.

Dow awarded for leadership in energy management

Dow has been recognised for outstanding leadership in energy management by the annual Industrial Energy Technology Conference, citing the companies success in pursuing aggressive energy efficiency goals.

Japan: Livedoor corruption trial begins

Four former executives from the internet firm Livedoor have gone on trial facing charges of falsifying accounts. The company's founder Takafumi Horie will face court at a later date.

Korea: Daewoo founder jailed for 10 years

The founder of Daewoo Group, at its height one of South Korea's largest industrial firms, has been jailed for 10 years for embezzlement and accounting fraud.

Portugal: Inditex investigating reports of child labour

Spanish firm Industria de Diseno Textil SA has said it is investigating allegations made in Portugal's Expresso that one of its suppliers in northern Portugal has employed children as young as 10.

Malaysia: Rimbunan Hijau accused of 'golden chainsaw' assault

Greenpeace activists have said that they were assaulted by employees of the Malaysian logging company Rimbunan Hijau when they turned up at the firm to present it with a symbolic 'golden chainsaw' for what they described as 'achievements in forest destruction'.

L'Oreal wins court verdict on discrimination

L'Oreal has had charges of discrimination in its recruitment practices thrown out for insufficient evidence. The result comes amongst widespread unease about the attitudes prevalent in the French job market.

UK: Journalist union calls for Yahoo boycott

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has called upon its 40,000 members to boycott Yahoo products and services in protest at what it describes as the company's collusion with the Chinese authorities.

Article

Forest Stewardship Council - Facing a Crisis of Confidence?

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 4 Jun 2006

One of the longest established and best respected initiatives on business and sustainable development is the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The growth over the last decade of FSC certified timber has been one of the positive signs about how collaborative standards can be set and change business practice. Now, a critical report of practice in Uruguay has attacked FSC accreditation of plantations there as covering up socially and environmentally unsustainable practice.

Previous edition - No 95 | Following edition - No 97

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