Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#169 - 15 Sep 2010

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 respond to the anti CSR article recently carried in the Wall Street Journal.

Welcome

This edition has been delayed rather unexpectedly by a trip to Argentina. The venue was supposed to have broadband internet - in the end it came down to a 3.5g modem that dropped connections rather often. Simply not good enough to be able to send out a newsletter to over 10,000 subscribers.

So the main feature this time, focusing on a response to the recent anti-CSR article in the Wall Street Journal, has been joined since it was written by quite a few others. Still, it always does good to remind ourselves of the arguments for and against, and this piece at least covers a couple of points I haven't seen elsewhere.

Hopefully there shouldn't be any further interruptions during 2010!

News

UK: Gap, Next and Marks & Spencer respond to Indian worker abuses

Major retailers Gap, Next and Marks & Spencer have responded to evidence of working rights abuses at factories in India. Workers have been forced to carry out excessive overtime with pay that is below the legal minimum wage, according to the Observer newspaper.

Apple suppliers in bribery charges

The two Apple suppliers named as having benefited from bribery allegedly received by its procurement executive Paul Devine have responded to charges. Devine has been accused by the company of having received more than $1m from Asian suppliers in return for confidential market information.

Russia: Microsoft tries to sidestep crackdowns on political groups

Microsoft has announced that it is instructing its Russian business not to take part in software piracy actions. The move follows criticism that the security services in Russia had been using alleged software piracy as an excuse to harrass and suppress opposition groups.

Germany: Deutsche Telekom CEO in bribery investigation

Deutsche Telekom chief executive Rene Obermann and seven others are being investigated by the German authorities over allegations of bribery, according to the company.

US: Hershey accused of child labour in cocoa sourcing

A report from a coalition of NGOs has said that Hershey trails some of its competitors on human rights, with forced and child labour present in some of the cocoa plantations it sources from.

Article

Reply to the Case Against CSR - The Latest Version

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 26 Aug 2010

The Wall Street Journal recently carried a piece by Aneel Karnani, associate professor of strategy at the University of Michigan's Stephen M Ross School of Business. Karnani was the author some years ago of a thoughtful and trenchant critique of the 'Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid' work of CK Prahalad, which I wrote about at the time. Now he has turned his attention to an attack against corporate social responsibility generally.

Previous edition - No 168 | Following edition - No 170

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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.