Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#103 - 17 Sep 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 look at climate change as a key issue in corporate social responsibility.

Welcome

Corporate social responsibility may mean different priorities for different kinds of businesses. However, the one issue that seems to apply to all is that of contribution to climate change. In this issue we review some of the current developments in this area.

It's been a bit of a miserable couple of weeks for Hewlett Packard, with the enquiry into the board level leaking of information resulting in the demise of the company's chair, and a series of stories that the founders of the HP Way would have found immensely depressing. The question that is often most relevant in establishing whether a company is genuinely a responsible business is whether its values would survive a change of leadership at the top. HP still retains the elements of a values based business that put it in as one of the case studies in the Collins and Porras 'Built to Last' study of enduringly great companies, but it has suffered from real problems of leadership in recent years. Here's hoping that the company can emerge again to show that values-based businesses can survive temporary episodes of difficulties at the top.

There will be another three week gap between issues next time around, due to the fact that I will be attending the Asian Forum on CSR conference in Manila, and then going on to do meetings in Hong Kong and China during the few days following. If you're going to be at the Manila conference, don't forget to say 'hi' if you see me around.

News

China: Foxconn drops libel case

Foxconn has dropped its libel case against the two Chinese journalists that claimed that workers at a plant producing iPods were subjected to difficult and degrading conditions.

US: BP savaged at Congress hearing

BP has been attacked for having policies "as rusty as its pipelines" at a US Congressional hearing into the partial closure of the Prudhoe Bay oil field.

Wal-Mart introduces sustainable fishing label

Wal-Mart has said that it is to introduce Marine Stewardship Council labelling on ten of its fish products in stores across the US. The move represents the latest move by the retail giant since it declared its intention to embrace environmental concerns back in February.

Germany: Lufthansa settles price fixing suit

Airline Lufthansa has agreed a payment of $85m to settle over allegations of price fixing, ending a series of class action lawsuits that were pending over the company.

India: Coca Cola and Pepsi fight back in Kerala

Coca-Cola and Pepsi have mounted a challenge to the state government of Kerala's ban on the production and sale of their products following recent controversies over pesticide residues.

Genocide lawsuit against Talisman Energy falls

A lawsuit targeting Canadian oil company Talisman Energy over alleged assistance to genocide in Sudan has been thrown out by a judge in New York after the church group behind it failed to find evidence that was able to be used in court.

China: Disney suppliers criticised

A report by a Hong Kong NGO has suggested that three factories in southern China which supply Disney pay workers below the minimum wage and require overtime beyond the legal maximum.

Honda announces breakthrough on bio-ethanol production

Honda's research and development arm and the Research Institute of Innovated Technology for the Earth (RITE) have announced that they have succeeded in producing ethanol from soft-biomass, potentially increasing the supply of what is considered to be a carbon-neutral fuel.

Europe: Market for socially responsible investment worth 1 trillion euros

Up to 1 trillion euros are now managed through socially responsible investment (SRI) funds in Europe, according to a study by the European Social Investmnet Forum (Eurosif).

China: Procter & Gamble denies claims of harmful products

Procter & Gamble has said that claims the company added harmful materials to one of its high-end cosmetic brands, SK-II, are false.

Article

Creating the climate for change

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 17 Sep 2006

It's been out for a while in the US, but in the UK we have just had a first pre-screen viewing of Al Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth'. It has been a timely reminder of how much the issue of climate change continues to dominate a key aspect of the agenda for corporate social responsibility.

Previous edition - No 102 | Following edition - No 104

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Special Feature

photo of cash

Social responsibility and finance - on the precipice

In a recent article, the BBC's economics editor Robert Peston highlighted the fact that in 2012 the chances are that the economy - punch drunk as it is from the various flavours of debt crisis it has been pummelled with over the course of the year - will be hit by the collapse of a major bank and / or government.