Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#142 - 8 Dec 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 recommend stimulating reading for the Christmas break, and we review CSR Europe's new toolbox website.

Welcome

Thinking about what you might read over the Christmas holiday? Want to read something that will get your mind going on corporate social responsibility issues, without it feeling like taking your work home with you? If so, you might find the book recommendations in this issue to be of interest.

These are all books I've read this year, and which have moved my thinking on in some way. They are good reads - nothing heavy going or academic. And none of them, but none of them, are explicitly about CSR. Probably none of them even use the phrase. It's down to you to make conclusions and draw the links. See what you think.

I would be interested to hear your own recommendations in the same spirit!

If you are working on an active CSR project in the mean time, you could do worse than head over to CSR Europe's newly launched toolbox. The website has some teething problems, but there's some rock solid content to be found there. See the review below.

Two articles in one issue! Christmas must have come early this year!

News

US: Fashion designers and retailers hit with fur lawsuit

Fashion designers and retailers, including Macy's, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, have been targeted by a lawsuit from the Humane Society of the United States alleging that the companies falsely advertise and label fur products.

US: Bayer to settle bribery suit on diabetes drug

German medical firm Bayer is to pay nearly $100m to settle a lawsuit alleging that the company bribed suppliers of medicines for diabetes into switching from competitor's products.

Greece: BP and Shell fined for anti-competitive behaviour

BP and Shell have been fined around 50m euros for price fixing, according to Greece's Competition Commission.

UK: Tiger Beer 'disrespectful ad' pulled

A print campaign for Tiger Beer that uses provocative imagery referring to a ladyboy as 'the third most desirable Asian export' has been banned by the UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

South Africa: Police investigating BAE Systems over bribery allegations

South African police have visited the offices of defence contractor BAE Systems in pursuit of an investigation by the British authorities into allegations of bribery and corruption at the firm.

China: Kader settles labour dispute after violent protests

Kai Da, a leading toy manufacturer in Guangdong, has agreed to renew labour contracts with employees following violent protests against its plans to terminate them.

Nigeria: Poisonous chemicals in teething mixture killed 28 babies

The number of children that have died from the 'My Pikin' teething syrup has reached 28, as Nigerian health officials are testing other brands of medicine for potential contamination.

Nigeria: Chevron cleared of human rights abuses

Chevron has been cleared of human rights abuses in an incident ten years ago when protestors boarded an offshore platform and were shot by Nigerian police. The suit was brought against the company in the US by groups that held the company was responsible for the shootings, whilst Chevron said it had no control over tactics used by the police.

UK: Five companies to be prosecuted over oil depot fire

Total UK will be one of five companies prosecuted for the massive oil depot fire three years ago that created a mini-fuel supply crisis and counted as the biggest blaze in Europe since the second world war.

Malaysia: HSBC action on palm oil criticised by government

HSBC has announced that it is to stop lending to some palm oil projects in Malaysia and Indonesia due to environmental concerns, and it expects as a result to pull funding from 30 percent of its current clients in the industry. The move has been attacked by the Malaysian government as being misguided.

Japan: President of Tanaka Works arrested for 'lethal' toy guns

Police have arrested Yoshimoto Tanaka, chairman of Tanaka Works, for allegedly selling and possessing toy air guns that have not been altered to prevent their use as a lethal weapon.

US: Toy companies settle Chinese toy lawsuit

Nine toy companies have settled a lawsuit over toys containing lead for a sum approaching $1.8m, according to Californian state officials.

Bangladesh: Primark and other UK retailers accused of suppliers paying 'starvation wages'

Primark, the cut price retailers recently voted as the 'least ethical high street retailer' was under fire again with protests around its AGM making claims of supplier's workers being paid as little as 7 UK pence per hour and denied union representation.

US: Business groups lobby Obama over Cuba embargo

Business associations have published on open letter to President-Elect Barack Obama urging him to remove the economic embargo on Cuba.

Jamaica: State-owned bus company owns up to corrupt procurement practices

The board of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) has said that there were incidences of corruption in the company's procurement practices over recent months. It has outlined a series of measures aimed at preventing problems recurring in the future.

Article

A new resource on corporate social responsibility in Europe.

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 8 Dec 2008

CSR Europe has launched its website toolbox on different aspects of corporate social responsibility. It is a huge resource for companies seeking information, standards, policies and practices in a number of key areas of responsible business practice.

Looking for a book to read over the holidays?

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 8 Dec 2008

There are a lot of books out there about corporate social responsibiity. You should certainly read some of them. But if you only ever read works produced by people who embrace the concept and the language of CSR, you will only ever follow the received wisdom.

Previous edition - No 141 | Following edition - No 143

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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.