Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#151 - 20 Apr 2009

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 what the recent survey of Global Compact companies tells us about what they are doing on social responsibility.

Welcome

A week's delay in the newsletter to accommodate the Easter break.

Things are crazy busy at the moment, with several projects on the go, a backlog of emails piling up (be patient if you've not heard back - you will!) and meanwhile the welcome spring sunshine has appeared!

The UN Global Compact has just produced its latest annual report, and there are a few interesting insights in the survey of its members that it reports. That is the focus for the main feature this time around.

That's it. Who says you never get short and snappy editorials?!

News

US: Former KPMG executives jailed for tax fraud

Two former executives with accounting giant KPMG have been sent to jail for 8 and 10 years for their part in a billion dollar tax evasion scam. The judge said that the two had been heavily involved in a tax shelter that was well across the line into illegality.

Australia: Coca-Cola issues corrective ads after misleading 'myth busters'

Coca-Cola has been told by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission that ads it ran that claimed to dispel myths about the product making them fat and rotting their teeth may have given consumers a misleading impression.

US: Widow paid over $60m as Philip Morris appeal thrown out

The US Supreme Court has said that a woman widowed twelve years ago when her partner died of lung cancer can collect the large financial award she was previously granted, tersely dismissing the appeal by tobacco giant Philip Morris USA.

Australia: Fortescue facing conflicting claims on Chinese agreements

Fortescue and its CEO Andrew Forrest are facing claims from a former employee that its public announcements over the status of talks with Chinese project financiers were false. Forrest, who got agreement last year from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to promote aborigine employment, faces being banned as a director if the case against the company is proved.

US: High-carbon gambles will not pay off, businesses told

The US lead negotiator on climate change, Todd Stern, has warned industry that money spent on high-carbon infrastructure is likely to be wasted within a few years as such business becomes untenable in the light of future global agreements.

France: 45 percent support workers who kidnap bosses

An opinion poll has shown that 45 percent of French citizens believe that radical action by workers facing pay cuts or redundancies to kidnap their bosses to force concessions is acceptable. 50 percent believe it to be unacceptable.

India: Satyam founder charged

Founder of Satyam Computer Services, B Ramalinga Raju, has been charged with criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery along with eight other executives. The maximum penalty would be life imprisonment.

Tajikistan: Central Bank audit reveals fraud

The chairman of the Central Bank in Tajikistan paid over $850m to his own family's company during his twelve year tenure, according to an audit carried out by Ernst & Young and published online by the bank.

Egypt: Case against company that broadcast anti-government protests dropped

The North Cairo Appeals court has overturned the ruling against the Cairo News Company that was accused of illegally owning broadcast equipment when it distributed footage of anti-government demonstrations.

UK: Google criticised for tax avoidance

Google has been added to the list of companies facing growing criticism for arranging their tax affairs to pay very little tax on their operations in the UK. According to the public accounts records, the company paid only 600,000 UK pounds in corporate tax on revenues of 1.25bn pounds.

Article

What companies tell the Global Compact they are doing

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 20 Apr 2009

The United Nations Global Compact has just released its latest progress report. After a year that has seen journalists the world over asking whether the recession means that companies will put CSR on the back burner, it is worth reviewing what the Global Compact tells us about trends in responsible business.

Previous edition - No 150 | Following edition - No 152

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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.