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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:

China tightens censorship on mobile messaging apps ND

Charles Clover and Song Jung, Financial Times, 7 August 2014

The Chinese government this week intensified its suppression of China’s blogosphere and popular social media Apps. The new requirements announced by the State Council Information Office forbids the publishing of political views without prior consent. It was revealed also this week that a number of foreign chat services have been blocked, with Beijing citing the use of such services to incite terrorism. For more see:

The digital tipping point ND

Josh Gottlieb and Paul Willmott, McKinsey and Company, August 2014

The digital revolution has instigated massive transformations of the organisational structure. CEO’s are increasingly acclimatising by devising policies and injecting funds to facilitate adaptation to this transition. A recent study by McKinsey and Company indicates that what organisations are doing may be insufficient to reap the transformative benefits that digitisation offers them. The study analysed how companies spend on digital, their goals and the challenges they face such as a scarcity of adequate talent. For more information see:

Creating partnerships for sustainability ND

Marco Albani and Kimberly Henderson, McKinsey and Company, July 2014

The role business plays in addressing social and environmental issues is evolving. Societal expectations increasingly anticipate business will play an active and engaging role in addressing societal challenges. How corporations go about confronting these challenges can create difficulties. The terrain which organisations can find themselves is often foreign thus presenting an inability to effectively achieve desired goals. The role of partnerships—with governments, investors, local communities, NGO’s among other organisations—can often present the best option. Collaboration in a socially desirable project should be entered into with genuine interest, not solely for the appeasement of an expectant society. This article offers seven methods to achieve a successful collaboration. For more information see:

Sustainability’s strategic worth: McKinsey Global Survey results ND

Sheila Bonini and Anne-Titia Bové, McKinsey & Company, 31 July 2014

This article by McKinsey and Company analyses a 2014 global survey of company leaders and their insights to sustainability. The survey results suggest that a number of challenges raised by senior practitioners and heads of function at Centre for Corporate Public Affairs roundtables over the past year are common across many corporations: while sustainability is core to business strategy, there remains a gap between how the company is managing decisions and resources to generate value, and what most senior management may see as value. The survey results confirm that corporate reputation remains a key driver of sustainability: and that despite at least a decade of corporate responsibility evolving from being a collection of 'programs' to how companies make decisions and engage with their stakeholders to generate mutual benefit and corporate longevity, there remains a perception among senior leaders in organisations that sustainability remains a 'program driven' management approach. For more information see:

Social value: a sustainability buzzword without a meaning?ND

Adrian Henriques, Guardian Professional, 23 July 2014

Determining the contribution to society that social investments make is ever more sought after and can now be accurately achieved. The appeal in measuring this value is that economic valuation techniques can be used thus providing added certainty to results. Measuring the added value from a particular investment does however present challenges, such as measuring the marginal difference a project makes, and what value it adds. For more information see:

Social media in government: Five key considerationsND

Hootsuite Enterprise White Paper, July 1 2014

Governments are increasingly looking to leverage social media to better engage their stakeholders, improve public services, and achieve greater efficiency. Until recently governments have relied on traditional means of stakeholder engagement. However, the exponential rise of social media has made it critical for government agencies to develop sound social media policies. This article offers five key considerations for government agencies using social media. For more information see:

Charities and social enterprises: invest responsibly or lose public trustND

Asheem Singh, The Guardian, 29 May 2014

Charities can find themselves in an ethical dilemma when investing. Choosing a solid financial investment and ensuring alignment with an organisation’s core mission can be tricky. The ethical and responsible investment marketplace is complicated, large and developing. There is $12 trillion world-wide in ‘ethical’ stocks, and $34 trillion subscribing to the UN Principle of Responsible Investment. These stocks may not however be aligned with the mission of a particular charity. For more information see

Does race or gender matter more to your paycheck? ND

Deborah Ashton, Harvard Business Review, 28 May 2014

Income disparity between genders is extensively reported and commonly acknowledged. American women earned 82 cents to every dollar made by a white male, up from 79 cents and 77 cents respectively, in 2012. What is less universally understood is whether race or gender is a greater determinant of income dissimilarity. This study offers an interesting insight into income disparities and the correlation between gender, race and educational attainment. For more information see

The terrible math of employee engagementND

Nigel Miller, Edelman, 1 May 2014

Organisations struggle to actively engage their employees. Deloitte’s recent Human Capital Trends study indicated that 80 percent of companies fail to satisfactorily engage their workforce. This inability can have a detrimental effect on every aspect of an organisation. Only 13 percent of employees globally are actively engaged at work and double that number are so disengaged that they are likely to spread their discontent to others. This article delves into this pervasive issue. For more information see:

Why a Quarter of Americans Don’t Trust Their Employers ND

Gretchen Gavett, Harvard Business Review, 28 April 2014

This article provides an interesting insight into the psychological state of the American workforce. It analyses general satisfaction in the workplace, feeling valued at work, trust and lack of, stress, and the profound interrelation between them. Dr. David Ballard, the head of American Psychological Association’s Centre for Organisational Excellence, helps unravel the intricacies associated with employee satisfaction and accentuates the importance of attaining effectual employee engagement. For more information see

Japanese messaging App Line gains traction abroad ND

Eric Pfanner, Wall Street Journal, 21 April 2014

The success of Japanese mobile phone application Line continues to impress. Line is achieving striking growth outside of Japan, making inroads into markets such as Spain, where users are attracted to minimising the costs associated with staying connected. Line has begun to penetrate the Latin American market, demonstrating success in Brazil and in Mexico. Recently, a foray into the US market has been made, initially targeting its Spanish speaking population. Line boasts 175 million users globally. For more information see:

Weibo’s US debut underwhelms ND

Charles Clover, Financial Times, 18 April 2014

China's Twitter-like micro blogging platform Sina Weibo went public on the Nasdaq stock exchange on Thursday. The stock did initially raise less than expected however rallied in late trading, closing at $21.24. Weibo did enter a turbulent technological market; however this is not believed to be the sole challenge to its launch. An increase in government censorship has seen Weibo's user rate decline. Tens of thousands of Weibo user accounts have been deleted, with dozens of high-profile users jailed for "rumourmongering". For more information see:

How to get employees to be more entrepreneurial ND

Deborah Ancona, CNN Money, 15 April 2014

Organisations today are faced with an increasingly competitive and changeable environment to compete. Increasingly, a more collaborative approach is adopted by organisations, subsequently altering the traditional organisational structure. To facilitate this transition, leaders should foster an inclusive environment, where those in less esteemed positions feel comfortable and welcome to offer opinions and input. For more information see:

Japan and Australia ‘beef up’ relationsND

Aurelia George Mulgan, East Asia Forum, 15 April 2014

The recent trade deal between Japan and Australia (JAEPA) has been lauded as a significant gain for Australian beef exporters and its agricultural industry. The lack of an agricultural restructuring element from JAEPA highlights Japan’s successful protection of some of its most revered commodities. The trade deal also facilitates Shinzo Abe’s security strategy, reflecting his desire to strengthen security initiatives with Japan’s key partners. For more information see:

How to avoid a social media fiasco ND

Gerald C. Kane, MIT Sloan Management Review, 8 April 2014

The importance of generating a governed approach to the use of social media should not be underestimated. Companies have and will continue to experience mixed results when engaging with social media. Having a prepared response to a social media crisis can avert the issue spiralling out of control, as the cost of not being prepared can be difficult to contain. For more information see:

All you need to know about business in China; the one hour China book ND

Jeffrey Towson & Jonathan Woetzel, Mckinsey & Company, April 2014

Conducting business in China is often approached with a degree of uncertainty. Misconceptions and presumptions can be warranted, however are often overemphasised. The enormity of China’s manufacturing industry, the rapid growth of its middle class, its shadow banking industry and the immense increase in China’s brainpower continue to impress. For more information see:

How government can promote open data and help unleash over $3 trillion in economic value ND

Michael Chui, Diana Farrell, Kate Jackson, Mckinsey & Company, April 2014

The immense amount of data becoming available in recent years is only a share of what is out there. There continues to be a substantial amount of data trapped in paper records, which if released, can add immense economic value to the global economy. The role government can play in unlocking this wealth is underestimated. For more information see:

Corporate philanthropy: The transformative power of givingND

Leo D'Angelo Fisher, BRW, 1 August 2013

Philanthropy has emerged as a major source of funding for cash-strapped universities at a time when successive federal governments have dramatically reduced funding. Philanthropy has become an important component of universities’ funding models. The director of development at the University of Sydney, Tim Dolan, says interest in giving to universities will keep growing as long as universities make sure of two things: that projects match the interests and passions of potential donors, and that universities deliver on their promises. “The driver of the big gift has everything to do with trusting that the university is going to deliver on its promise,” Dolan says. “The unique advantage universities have is that they drive change. Donors don’t talk to us because they want to make up shortfalls in government funding, they want to be involved in something that’s transformational and that’s what universities are good at." For more information see

The benefits of sustainability-driven innovationND

Kiron, Kruschwiz, Reevs and Goh, Sloan Management Review, Winter 2013

According to the 2012 global executive survey on sustainability, an important factor in linking corporate sustainability with profits is business model innovation. Managers who say that their company’s sustainability activities have added to the company’s profits are more than twice as likely to say that sustainability has caused their organisation to change their business model than not. Certain combinations of sustainability-related business model changes appear to have a bigger link to profitability than others. Respondents whose companies changed both target segments and the value chain, for instance, are more likely to say their sustainability activities add to profit than respondents whose companies changed other combinations of business model elements. Sustainability-Driven Innovators often do more than just change their business model. They are also more likely than other survey respondents to have a business case for sustainability, to work closely with key stakeholder groups on sustainability issues and to have the attention of top management focused on their sustainability efforts. For more information, see

A balancing act in corporate citizenshipND

Luke Johnson, Financial Times, 23 July 2013

In this opinion piece, the author queries whether consumers really support companies that are responsible or whether corporate citizenship is ‘just politically correct hot air’. He compares Marks and Spencer which has undertaken significant efforts to be a good corporate citizen and low-cost retailers that have had booming sales despite using suppliers based in Bangladesh and involved in the recent factory collapse. He suggests that suppliers care more about prices rather than where products are sourced, but then concludes by saying ‘business can be both self-serving and ethical’. Companies rarely survive in the long run if they offer bad quality products and service and treat employees, suppliers and other stakeholders badly. For more information, see

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