Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#172 - 12 Jan 2011

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 take a sober look at the scale of the challenge as we enter 2011.

Welcome

From time to time I get messages from various sources asking if I will trade links, or carry news feeds, or join the pool of someone's cast of bloggers.

I do get the power of social media to join things up, and create communities of like minded people. But by and large, I say 'no' to such requests.

I try to give Business Respect a specific focus and feel. It is not just 'CSR' in some broad definition, but a particular take on responsible business as a core of how companies make their money. This is against the backdrop of a huge sustainability challenge for the future, the scale of which we still don't fully understand.

So to suddenly incorporate third party newsfeeds that take press releases of every company that runs a community project - well, it would dilute that focus - without disparaging the good work those releases describe.

And if I see content I think relevant to that focus, and of good quality, then I will generally just link to it. If somebody finds something I write to be relevant and interesting, they can do the same. I'm not generally minded towards reciprocal deals - they may encourage Google to rank pages higher, but in my mind it reduces the value of those links to the readers.

In any case, I get a lot of news feeds and email newsletters. As far as I'm concerned, the fact that so many of them are now duplicating the same articles by the same people reduces the impact. I now routinely scan and dismiss things much more quickly because I see a whole bunch of content I've already seen. I probably miss the bits that I haven't yet seen in the process. Don't blame the customer, here.

So whether it's good 'SEO' logic or not, I prefer to keep the content in this newsletter and on the website tightly focused on my particular perspective. Those that find it useful, will know what they get here. Ethical Corporation also re-use some of the content here on their website, but it's here first.

Is that short-sighted? Does it give you a poorer service? Let me know if you want it to change.

News

McDonald's CEO attacks the rise of 'the food police'

In an interview with the Financial Times, McDonald's CEO Jim Skinner has defended the company's 'Happy Meals' against the growing number of critics that link McDonald's with the epidemic of childhood obesity.

UK: Ethical consumers buck the recession

Spending on products that carry a green or ethical label has grown by almost a fifth over the last two years, in spite of the recession, according to the latest report by Co-operative Financial Services.

Japan: Astrazeneca settles claims over cancer drug side effects

Astrazeneca will settle with 15 people who brought a suit against it and the government claiming that the company hadn't taken enough measures in the face of major side effects from its cancer drug Iressa.

AA1000 standards board collectively resigns

The Standards Board that oversees the AA1000 standard has announced that it has collectively resigned over loss of trust between it and the directors of Accountability. This had arisen following changes to the business model of AccountAbility and how this leaves the standard as a 'public good' shaped by stakeholder governance.

Article

2011 - This is the scale of the challenge

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 12 Jan 2011

The World Economic Forum has just published its Global Risks 2011 report, which suggests that global governance cannot cope with more shocks to the system, but that we should expect that such shocks will nevertheless be delivered.

Previous edition - No 171 | Following edition - No 173

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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.