Business Respect - CSR Dispatches No#176 - 23 Aug 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 look at the implication of the recent UK riots for responsible businesses.

Welcome

Businesses will be most productive and successful when the society within which they operate is healthy. That is pretty much a given.

So a lot of business leaders were shocked in the UK by the wave of riots that hit London and other key cities. For all that politicians and other commentators quickly dismissed the participants as opportunist villains, there is an uneasy feeling in the air that some rather large chickens are coming home to roost.

The main feature this time looks at some of the implications of events such as these for your business.

Hopefully, most of you will be enjoying a good holiday at the moment, with such worrisome matters far from your thoughts. That's good - enjoy the break. The issues will still be waiting for you when you get back to the office! You know you love a challenge ...

No holiday for me at the moment - I'm working on a redesign for the mallenbaker.net website. Should be live in a fortnight when the next newsletter goes out (yes, really!)

Have fun.

News

UK: Topshop pulls super-thin model from online advertising

Retailer Topshop has withdrawn images of 18 year old model Codie Young following criticisms over the use of 'size zero' models encouraging unhealthy body stereotypes and fuelling eating disorders.

Peru: Mining firm pays out to shot and tortured protesters

Monterrico Metals has paid compensation to 33 protesters who were allegedly shot at, beaten and tortured by police during a protest against the company's Majaz mine in 2005.

UK: Energy companies dodgy sales tactics pressure customers

A parliamentary select committee has said that energy companies are using sales trickery to push people into switching energy suppliers on the doorstep. It called for the firms to compensate people who were mis-sold gas and electricity contracts.

Brazil: Zara held responsible for subcontractor's sweatshop

Fashion chain Zara in being investigated by Brazil's ministry of labour following the removal of 15 workers from a factory claimed to be operating as a sweatshop. The factory was subcontracted by AHA, which is responsible for 90 percent of Zara's production in the country.

US: Sweatshop protests damage Hershey's sweet reputation

Student protests have highlighted the plight of 400 students who paid up to $6,000 to join the State department's cultural exchange scheme, which led to them working long hard shifts at a factory providing Hershey for which they were paid a pittance. The incident has put Hershey on the defensive, and raised issues around corporate supply chain practices.

Article

What should companies do when the riots break out?

Author: Mallen Baker, dated 10 Aug 2011

In the UK, the 1980s saw a wave of inner-city riots as the growth of long-term unemployment and urban deprivation meant that frustrations boiled over into an orgy of violent protest. There was nothing much noble or well articulated about the riots - but people in government and business recognised that they were a response to a situation that had to be addressed and remedied.

Previous edition - No 175 | Following edition - No 177

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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.