Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#134 - 17 Aug 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 review what should a socially responsible company be doing about genetically modified crops.

Welcome

Into the heart of the holiday season. All I can say is that if you're on holiday at the moment, I hope you're not doing it in the UK. Miserable, wet and, if not cold, then not exactly warm!

Some of you will have read recently that a small flurry of debate kicked off again on the issue of genetically modified crops, following comments by the UK's heir to the throne that received considerable interest for the strength of their invective. I thought it would be a good opportunity to see what the lens of corporate social responsibility brings to the debate - the answer is it's one of the trickiest ones out there. The issue makes up the main feature for this edition.

News

Israel: Nissan attacked for portrayal of Arab sheikhs in electric car ad

Car maker Nissan has provoked fury for a TV ad made by Israeli advertiser Inbar Merhav Shaked which portrays a group of violent Arab oil sheikhs attacking the company's new electric car.

China: 'Gyoza' poisonings hushed up

Pesticide contamination which caused a food poisoning outbreak earlier this year in Japan had already caused an outbreak in China which had been kept quiet in advance.

UK: Innocent smoothies attacked over green claims

Innocent drinks, which have created a brand identity based on its ethical and environmental credentials, has been accused of misleading consumers about how its fruit is transported around the world.

Canada: Greenpeace breaks into site to protest tar sands

A group of campaigners from environmental NGO Greenpeace broke into a site owned by Syncrude Canada Ltd, a consortium of different oil companies, in Alberta to protest against the company's involvement in new oil sands developments.

Australia: Bosses told to end bullying in workplace negotiations

Australia's Workplace Ombudsman has said that bosses should understand that swearing and bullying should not be a feature in discussions about employees wages and condition.s

South Korea: Disgraced business leaders pardoned

The South Korean president Lee Myung-bak has pardoned some of the country's most senior business leaders who had been convicted of various crimes over recent times.

Uzbekistan: Major retailers call for end of child labour in cotton

A coalition representing the US major retail and clothing companies has called on Uzbekistan president Islam Karimov to tackle the endemic presence of child labour in the country's production of cotton, saying that the current situation is 'totally unacceptable'.

US: Disneyland demonstration over hotel worker benefits

Protesters dressed as Disney characters were arrested during a demonstration protesting the company's proposals to reduce benefits for around 2,300 hotel workers.

Ghana: Call for companies to help clear up electronic waste

A spotlight has fallen on technology companies over the problem of the growing amounts of electronic waste in Ghana, with the government being urged to strengthen environmental legislation and the international community called upon to prohibit the export of e-waste to Africa.

US: American Airlines accused of safety breaches

The Federal Aviation Administration has said that American Airlines is guilty of major safety failures, including keeping planes in the air that were known to be in need of repair.

US: Fraud will cost firms $994bn this year

According to a new report, US companies lose up to 7 percent of their revenues to fraud, which potentially equates to $994bn across the whole economy.

India: Rising protests against factory building

Farmers and other campaigners are stepping up protests against a number of proposed factory developments across India, affecting companies such as Tata Motors, POSCO, and Vedanta Resources.

Canada: Wal-Mart has union contract imposed

A Wal-Mart store has had a labour contract imposed upon it, making it the first time for any such deal involving the company in North America.

Article

How can companies resolve the dilemma of GM crops?

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 17 Aug 2008

If you ever wanted an example of how difficult it can be to interpret what you should do in the light of what your stakeholders think, you only need to consider the current state of play in relation to genetically modified (GM) crops at the moment.

Previous edition - No 133 | Following edition - No 135

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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.