Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#160 - 3 Nov 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 whether world leaders in CSR are failing to use the web properly to talk with us about what they're doing.

Welcome

This month looks like it will turn out to be the month that nearly happened ... but not quite.

I was nearly on Radio Five Live this morning to discuss whether or not climate change should be considered by an employment tribunal to be akin to a religious belief. But some bigger news happened, and the item got pulled.

I nearly took part in some great events lined up in Kiev, Ukraine including some inaugural CSR awards and a CSR masterclass. But the government declared a national quarantine in the face of swine flu, and all public events got cancelled.

Still, for every door that closes, another one seems to open. The week affected by the Ukraine cancellation is already part filled, for instance.

But hopefully none will get so completely filled as to cause further delays in the publication of this newsletter!

In the mean time, discussion continues on the state of the art of CSR / sustainability reporting. Lundquist have produced a report suggesting that even the CSR leaders are not using the web effectively for their communications. We look at that report, its conclusions, and some of the assumptions that were made in reaching them.

This is really a two part narrative. Next edition, we will look at one company reporting website where an attempt is being made to do what few others achieve - getting real inroads into the internal employee audience. Stay tuned.

I will be discussing all this, and more, at the forthcoming Ethical Corporation conference on reporting in London, by the way. If you plan to be there, why not make a point of saying 'hi'?

News

Zimbabwe: Nestle to stop buying milk from Mugabe family

Nestle has said that it will no longer buy milk from a farm that was siezed from white farmers which is now owned by the wife of Robert Mugabe.

US: Smart choices food label collapses

The Smart Choices food label, which numbered amongst its advocates companies such as Unilever, Kellog and Kraft, has been halted following controversy over whether it set the bar too low on how it rated foods.

US: Anheuser-Busch savaged for unequal pay by former head of PR

The brewer of beers such as Budweiser, Anheuser-Busch, is being sued by a former top executive for sex discrimination. According to the suit, the company encouraged a "frat party" corporate atmosphere, and maintained serious gender disparities in pay.

Jamaica: Company sues government over import block on mace

Future Services International is suing the Jamaican government for blocking the import of mace for pepper spray to help protect its employees against violent crime.

Peru: Firm accused of torture is hit by armed attack

British mining firm Monterrico Metals has said that gunmen have attacked its copper mine leaving at least two of its workers dead. The company is currently the subject of legal action accusing it of complicity in the torture and killing of protestors.

UK: Sustainable palm oil ads banned for the second time

A magazine advert that promoted the sustainability of Malaysian palm oil has been banned by the UK's advertising watchdog for untruthful claims.

US: BP challenges record fine for explosions in Texas

Oil giant BP has said that it will challenge a record fine of over $87m levied for failing to correct problems that led to the explosion in 2005 that killed 15 workers.

Article

Are global CSR leaders failing to use the web effectively?

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 2 Nov 2009

A new report has suggested that global leaders in sustainability are failing to make the most of the potential of the web for their CSR reporting and general communications. It names ENI as the global leader that does the best. Many points are criticised across the board for not being up to scratch.

Previous edition - No 159 | Following edition - No 161

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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.