Knowledge Centre:
News Digests

Stay abreast of what’s happening internationally with developments in corporate public affairs. Here is news that you may find useful and interesting:

Reputation on the lineND


Gerry McCusker, Business Review Weekly, 6 December 2007

Companies are increasingly utilising new media tools such as blogs, podcasting and social media websites, and need to manage their online reputation. With media using blogs as a research source, NGOs launching worldwide online campaigns, and other key influencers using online sources, it has become critical for companies to manage their online reputation. For more information, see www.brw.com.au

Responsibility paysND


Matthew Kirdahy, Forbes, 13 November 2007

Companies such as Starbucks see budgeting for programs and resources to grow the business also budgeting for CSR in effect. This trend towards a strategic business and investment approach to CSR reflects the search for business opportunity. The majority of CSR spend in US companies appears to be on research and development, and the least spend on philanthropy and marketing. For more information, see www.forbes.com

Care to the commentND


Murray Armstrong, The Guardian, 5 November 2007

Consumers’ perceptions about the need for companies to tackle environmental concerns have evolved considerably since 2001. Ipsos Mori’s 2007 survey shows that 45 per cent of respondents think CSR should now be the ‘highest priority for business’. Eight out of ten respondents affirm that a company’s environmental reputation would affect their purchasing decisions. For more information, see www.guardian.co.uk

Good company ND


Liza Ramrayka, The Guardian, 5 November 2007

Grayson, director of the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility at Cranfield School of Management, has authored a recent ‘dialogue paper’ mapping developments in responsible business and Business in the Community’s role over the last 25 years. According to Grayson, companies will be forced to balance global and local thinking to address issues such an ageing population in the UK and climate change. For more information, see www.guardian.co.uk

Doing good, do it rightND


Mark Vernon and Craig Mackenzie, Management Today, 29 October 2007

Twenty tips covering management, organisation, communications, reporting and strategy to help companies implement effective CSR policies are presented in this article. Among these are keeping CSR relevant to the company’s products and activities, involving the board, and being aware that CSR is more than just charity or a marketing tool. Tips include the establishment of special board committees of non-executives by companies such as GlaxoSmithKline and Shell, ‘to keep the executives on the ball’. For more information, see www.managementtoday.co.uk

Asia study: CEOs trustworthy, bloggers lack credibilityND


ChinaCSR.com, 27 October 2007

Harris Interactive conducts an annual Asia Pacific Stakeholder Study on the most trusted institutions and the most credible spokespeople. While government is still the most trusted institution in Asia Pacific, non-governmental organisations have lost footing since the previous study. CEOs have the highest credibility rating (51 per cent) while bloggers have only 12 per cent. For more information, see www.chinacsr.com

How values embraced by a company may enhance that company’s valueND


Herb Greenberg, The Wall Street Journal, 27 October 2007

In their study entitled ‘Is Doing Good Good for You?’ Baruch Lev and Christine Petrovits of the New York University Stern School of Business and Suresh Radhakrishnan conclude that companies in ‘consumer sectors’ that make charitable contributions also see a notable increase in revenue. For more information, see www.wsj.com

Environmental, human rights recognition can improve investmentsND


Peter Hannam, The Age, 22 October 2007

In a recent study, HSBC has found investments that take environmental and human rights issues into account can yield above-average returns. Results were released at a meeting of the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative. For more information, see www.theage.com.au

Companies increased giving by 4.8% in 2006ND


Nicole Lewis, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 18 October 2007

According to the Giving in Number 2007 report, the median corporate donation in the US — including funding and in-kind — was $33 million. Health and social services (31 per cent of donations), education (25 per cent) and community and economic development (14 per cent) organisations received the bulk of donations. For more information, see www.philanthropy.com

Boards turn greenND


Business Review Weekly, 11 October 2007

BRW reports on a recent poll of Australian company directors that found 94% agree that climate change strategy needs to be part of Boards’ agendas. The poll also found that 89% expect more pressure to be place on Boards to disclose climate change policies, and 51% expect the risk of class action against directors on climate change issues to increase. For more information, see www.brw.com.au

Lessons from the Mattel crisisND


Richard Levick, Corporate Responsibility, 10 October 2007

The recent recall by Mattel of potentially harmful toys sparked a consumer backlash with many now seeking recourse in the US courts. However, faith can be restored with more open and honest dialogue with audiences, including consumers, parents, retailers, and regulatory bodies. For more information, see www.thecro.com

CSR: Just do itND


Catherine Fox, Financial Review Boss, October 2007

Nike’s initiatives to improve its corporate image through CSR programs can be a lesson to other companies looking to improve their reputations. Nike’s strategy has gone from being reactive to proactive by integrating CSR into the company strategy and culture. They have constructed a CSR team, which reports to the CSR committee of the board of directors, and the head of the CSR team reports directly to the CEO. For more information, see www.afrboss.com.au

Corporate strategies need to be redefinedND


Prue Moodie, The Australian Financial Review, 26 September 2007

Corporations may look at their own reporting criteria to make headway in environmental reporting. Terence Jeyaretnam, managing director of Net Balance Foundation, in conjunction with the UK Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, produced a study that argues that companies with good reports addressed less than 75 per cent of their assessment criteria. Sustainability reports tend to be better if the company has been producing such reports for a longer period of time and cater the reports to a wider audience, beyond shareholders. For more information, see afr.com

Directors take issues on board in enlightened self-interestND


Ann-Maree Moodie, The Australian Financial Review, 26 September 2007

Companies such as Westpac and BHP have integrated their sustainability approach with company policy by creating sustainability committees in their board structures. The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Finance Services has investigated such sustainability approaches and determined three ways of interpreting directors’ duties. The ‘self interest interpretation,’ which allows companies to take shareholder views into account and views investments in sustainability as part of a company’s long term sustainability strategy, seems to most suit sustainability approaches. For more information, see afr.com

Corporate emissions reporting can be just a bit of greenwashND


Prue Moodie, The Australian Financial Review, 19 September 2007

Many Australian companies are engaging in greenhouse emissions reporting. However, reporting standards differ from company to company. The Australian Greenhouse Office provides national emissions standard guidelines for businesses interested in reporting their greenhouse gas emissions. For more information, see www.afr.com

Decisive management the key to greener futureND


Alexandra Cain, The Australian Financial Review, 19 September 2007

The New South Wales Department of Environment and Climate Change is encouraging businesses that want to go green to start with their senior management. The Department suggests companies place someone in charge who is committed to assist the company in reaching its goals, as it sees that taking action to green the workplace also translates into financial rewards. For example, using more efficient technology can save money on energy bills. For more information, see afr.com

Greening the supply chainND


Kate Burgess, Business Review Weekly, 13-19 September 2007

The information technology industry has been pushing for a more environmentally-friendly supply chain and is keen to emphasise this move as a cost saving strategy. However, it has faced difficulty convincing clients to spend more for greener hardware. This article includes success stories from EDS and Macquarie Telecom. For more information, see www.brw.com.au

The business of givingND


Leo D’Angelo Fisher, Business Review Weekly, 13 September 2007

Non-profit organisations require much of the skill set of private companies. Non-profits have managed to blend these characteristics with their own unique working environments and cultures, fuelled by the ‘desire to make a difference’. This article includes a brief profile on Mary Anne Stephens, the chief operating officer of Children’s Cancer Institute Australia and former chief financial officer of Lumley General Insurance. For more information, see www.brw.com.au

Values addedND


Leo D’Angelo Fisher, Business Review Weekly, 13-19 September 2007

Most companies engage in some method of community involvement. However, it is increasingly becoming a case of long-term investment in an extension of the corporate culture. The chief executive of UBS Investment Bank of Australia stated his and his colleagues’ reasoning as wanting to ‘operate in societies not economies.’ This article cites key statistics from a 2004 survey by Cavill & Co and Seek Group, which found that 48 per cent of its respondents would look for companies that are actively involved in the community. It also borrows statistics from the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs’ 2007 study, Corporate Community Investment in Australia. For more information, see www.brw.com.au

Tracking the gap between societal expectations of companies and perceived CSR performanceND


Femke de Man, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, September 2007

Following up on its 2005 CSR survey, GlobeScan conducted a similar report in 2007 on citizens’ expectations of companies’ CSR activities. The second survey found that, while people in developed and developing nations have high expectations of companies, those in developing nations are more likely to hold companies responsible. Overall expectations have plateaued at a very high level. For more information, see bcccc.net

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