Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#124 - 31 Mar 2008

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 ask whether the banks can ever treat customers fairly.

Welcome

We know that sometimes companies are caught out by the logic of their own business model - ultimately, you are rewarded in business by selling more stuff. The more you sell, the more profit you make. With sustainability issues knocking at the door, we already know that sometimes the imperative to sell more stuff, by making it the fashion to replace things every year for instance, can be problematic.

One of the hardest things to do for firms in such sectors is to work out how the model could be reshaped so you get financially rewarded for the best social outcomes.

This doesn't just happen in relation to the environment - this issue we look at the challenges of the financial sector and the demands that such companies 'treat customers fairly'. It's not about bashing the banks - it's about trying to get a clear-eyed view about the dynamics that tend to make them operate the way they do. You may have views you may want to share!

News

Air New Zealand labelled 'flying sweatshop' over treatment of Chinese staff

Air New Zealand has been attacked for sharp differences in how its staff are paid, with Chinese crew members receiving just over a quarter of the salary of those from New Zealand.

Russia: Police raid offices of BP joint venture

Police have raided the Moscow offices of BP and its joint venture TNK-BP without giving information currently on the reason for the search.

Bangladesh: Government action on CSR in the pipeline

The government of Bangladesh is to undertake an initiative to promote corporate social responsibility, according to its Special Assistant to the Chief Advisory for Industries Mahbub Jamil.

Australia: Call for lower taxes to cope with climate change

Australia's business group has called for reductions in company tax rates to enable firms to meet the cost of tackling climate change.

US: Governments seeks to revise criminal tax shelter case against former KPMG partners

The US government has appealed against the verdict of the court that it had violated the rights of former KPMG partners when it allegedly pressurised the company to refrain from paying its former partners' legal fees, as part of an attempt to reinstitute the criminal case against them.

Malaysia: Tesco to investigate claims over migrant worker claims

UK retailer Tesco has launched an inquiry into claims that some migrant workers in its Malaysian stores endure poverty level conditions, with 80 hour weeks and low wages.

Germany: Lidl accused on snooping on employees

German retailer Lidl has been accused of excessive surveillance on employees, recording personal details in an operation that has been likened to the Stasi former East German secret police.

Article

Will banks ever treat customers fairly?

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 31 Mar 2008

I am a great believer of the notion that if you serve customers well, your business will thrive. And yet most people that are customers of the financial services continue to complain about not being well served - and at the same time those providing such services are more profitable than some of the high profile flashpoints for social responsibility debates such as retail - so what's going on?

Previous edition - No 123 | Following edition - No 125

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The Business Respect email newsletter has been produced since 2001 to give news and commentary on CSR worldwide

 

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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.