Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#132 - 20 Jul 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 look at the gap between CSR programmes and ethical behaviours, and we review surveys of how staff really feel about the values of their company.

Welcome

To some, the question about whether corporate social responsibility has become removed from business ethics is a pretty dry, academic debate. At the recent debate held at the UK's House of Lords courtesy of Business Respect sponsor Good Corporation, it was certainly anything but - and I thought it was worth just looking at the remarkable fact that, whilst many of the top companies have very active CSR programmes, they nevertheless end up in headlines associated with malpractice. The key difference is between programmes designed to have an outcome, and day to day behaviours. This is the focus for the lead article this time.

In case that's still too theoretical for you, there is a second article this time around two recent surveys which have looked at the impact of CSR on employees, and MBA graduates.


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Thank you for your response to the Business Respect readers survey. There have been a good number of responses in so far, with the survey remaining open for another week to get the best response possible. Having reviewed some of the responses very quickly, there is some extremely good, complimentary but also frank feedback - exactly what I was hoping for. So thank you for taking part, and I look forward to spending more time reviewing the results.

The analysis of the results, by the way, is being carried out by Userviews - which normally carries out participation and consultation with the users of public services in the UK, specialising in hard to reach groups. Perhaps one of your stakeholder groups falls into that category? If so, you can see their website at http://www.userviews.co.uk and thanks to them for their support.

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In case you missed them, the invitations to take part in the Business Respect readers survey went out last Wednesday, as promised in last issue's editorial. If you're reading this, then you didn't get around yet to completing this, or if you started you didn't yet finish. It is genuinely really helpful to the future development of the website as a free resource that will hopefully meet your needs if you could take the ten minutes it would take to fill in. In case you lost the email (or an aggressive corporate policy filtered it out!) here's the link again:

http://www.mallenbaker.net/newsite/survey.php?surveyid=

There will be one last reminder on Wednesday next week if you haven't quite managed to get around to it yet - I hope you won't mind this gentle attempt to make it as easy as possible for those that are willing to take part to do so.

The analysis of the results, by the way, is being carried out by Userviews - which normally carries out participation and consultation with the users of public services in the UK, specialising in hard to reach groups. Perhaps one of your stakeholder groups falls into that category? If so, you can see their website at http://www.userviews.co.uk and thanks to them for their support.

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The vote on the website will close soon, by the way. It has been one of the closest I've run, between the real optimists and the kinda optimists! The current state of play:

In the face of an extended economic recession companies will:
keep CSR as a priority - 402 (39%)
cut budgets, but still focus on key issues - 437 (43%)
drop CSR as an unaffordable luxury - 187 (18%)

Thanks to the 1026 people that have voted so far. Next time, a new vote. Happy holidays to those that are due to take them before then!

News

Coca-Cola defends Olympic sponsorship

The chairman of Coca-Cola has hit back against critics of the Olympics games sponsors in an interview with the BBC, where he said that Coke supported the credo of the Olympic movement which was a good thing for the world.

EU: European Parliament agrees tighter rules against misleading air flights advertising

The European Parliament has agreed with proposals to ban airlines from giving headline fares in advertising that fail to include additional charges, such as taxes or baggage charges.

Iran: Total sees too great a risk following missile tests

The head of French oil company Total has said that it would hold off on further investments in Iran in the short term because of the growing political risk following the country's test-firing of a series of missiles.

UK: Tobacco price fixing fines for six firms

Six companies including retailer Asda Walmart and tobacco firm Gallaher have agreed to pay fines of up to 173 UK pounds following a probe over unlawful pricing practices. An inquiry into other major companies is ongoing.

South Korea: Ex-chairman of Samsung guilty of tax evasion

Lee Kun-hee, the former chairman of Samsung, has been found guilty of tax evasion and given a three year suspended jail sentence and a 110bn won fine. He was cleared of another charge of breach of trust.

India: Pharma firm Ranbaxy denies quality defects

Indian drug firm Ranbaxy has hit back against allegations by US prosecutors that the company lied about the quality of its low-cost drugs, including those aimed at treating HIV.

Botswana: Mine Workers Union dismisses Tati Nickel's approach to CSR

The Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) has attacked Tati Nickel for applying corporate social responsibility as window dressing designed to cover up corruption and mismanagement at the firm.

Wal-Mart joins programme to eliminate illegal logging

Wal-Mart has said it is to work with the Global Forest and Trade Network in a programme to avoid products created through illegal and unsustainable logging for all of its own brand furniture.

US: Post-Enron legislation may be dealt major blow by court ruling

A challenge to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that was introduced to set in place more stringent financial accounting rules following the demise of Enron, has been described as likely to succeed in bringing the measure grinding to a halt.

Article

Making employees into allies

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 20 Jul 2008

According to a new survey of employees, most are enthusiastic about the principles of corporate social responsibility, and they are keen to work for a company that shares their values. But they are finding barriers at work to finding ways to express this enthusiasm.

Can you have social responsibility without ethics?

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 20 Jul 2008

For some people, corporate social responsibility is about programmes. Stuff that you do where you can describe what you're trying to achieve, what approach you've taken to achieve it, and whether it worked. But it needs to include the other aspect - how you and your staff behave on a day to day basis. You could label this element straight business ethics - my version is that it's about what you do when you think that nobody's looking.

Previous edition - No 131 | Following edition - No 133

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