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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:

Integration of corporate responsibility in Australia and New ZealandND

ProBono News, 19 May 2010

A new research paper from the Centre for Social Impact at the University of NSW shows that corporate responsibility is, on the whole, well integrated into the way that leading companies in Australia and New Zealand are doing business. This is confirmed by company approaches to leadership and governance as well as management practices. However, few companies incorporate a comprehensive measurement framework in Corporate Responsibility reporting by identifying key performance data and changing their progress against targets. For more information see

Risk returnsND

Alison Kahler, AFR BOSS, 14 May 2010

Risk management has undergone a major change because businesses realise that unexpected events can damage business. Risk managers have experienced a growth in influence on senior executive boards. While the top 200 ASX companies have the key aspects for successful risk management in place, not all risk plans are created equally. Scenario planning and successful adaptation for catastrophic events is essential. The role of the risk manager involves developing a culture that takes risk management into consideration during daily decisions. For more information see

The workplace of the futureND

Catherine Fox, AFR BOSS, 14 May 2010

By 2020, there are five major global forces that will fundamentally re-shape the way we work: technology, demography, society, low carbon and globalisation. Flexible working conditions are becoming more commonplace and teams that do not see each other constantly undertake projects. Technology is a mixed blessing since it benefits working productively yet also provides distractions and increases the amount of workload. The future of work is collaborative, where more coaching and mentoring are important rather than rating individuals. In addition to this people continue to work for longer after they ‘age’ which has both become a necessity and a desire by younger generations. For more information see

China’s listed polluters made public ND

Olivia Chung, Asia Times Online, 17 April 2010

Chinese citizens are protesting against companies committing gross environmental violations, whose effects have rendered the a large percentage of their water supply poisoned, as well as causing large amounts of air pollution. Pressure is being directed at the Hong-Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx), who runs the local stock exchange, to amend listing rules to promote more environmental disclosure by locally listed companies operating on the mainland. Hong Kong-listed companies have been responsible for approximately 750 environmental violations as of March 2010; subsequently there are hopes that the HKEx will enhance transparency and thus accountability for companies operating on the mainland. For more information see

Business as the engine for social change ND

Mindy S. Lubber, McKinsey Quarterly, 13 April 2010

Social entrepreneurs work with companies and investors to transform vision into integrated sustainability. The best performing companies in the future will be those that step forward and initiate change. Sustainability needs to be integrated across the whole business model. This will soon become the new business environment norm; aligning business models with investment strategies and investor practices that will allow successful companies to advance over their competitors. For more information see

Fresh approach to business advocacy ND

Natalie Toohey, Australian Financial Review, 22 March 2010

Today’s prevailing anti-corporate culture poses many obstacles for business associations; as ministers and the public reject their self-interested philosophies and businesses feel less incentive for joining in collective activity, preferring to engage with more nuanced and credible positions privately. Business groups should critically review their structures and strategies so that they contribute positively to policy outcomes, and readdress their current lack of credibility and effectiveness. For more information see

Big brands can be inept at defusing blog storms over recalls ND

Bernhard Warner, The Washington Post, 7 March 2010

Big brands must be prepared to respond to concerned consumer and media groups as product recall hysteria continues to sweep the US. Traditional issues management approaches, such as hiring professional spokespeople, media coaching executives or remaining silent on an issue are no longer effective in the age of social media and online activism. Companies must use their existing online channels to speak with and respond to their stakeholders. For more information see

Managing reputation in New Zealand ND

Senate Communication Council, 5 March 2010

A survey by the Senate and Baseline Consultancy have conducted a review of how reputation is regarded and managed by companies in New Zealand, finding that 92 per cent of business executives considered reputation a prime business asset. The report provides 10 recommendations for companies, focusing on investing, researching and insuring their reputation, approaches to strategic communication and media strategies, and monitoring competition and the external environment. For more information see

Poverty alleviation as a CSR activityND

Edward Probir Mondol, Financial Express, 4 March 2010

Companies need to adjust their social performance indicators to recognise the unique needs of the developing world. CSR remains too focused on ‘development’, and too little on helping poor or marginalised people in countries such as Bangladesh, where poverty alleviation initiatives offer the best solution to existing social problems. Companies can apply the UN’s Millennium Development goal to reduce global poverty by helping people meet basic needs in housing, food, education, employment and health. For more information see

Car makers find ‘safety in numbers' with recallsND

Barrie McKenna, The Globe and Mail, 3 March 2010

Toyota’s safety crisis poses both positive and negative effects for the automotive industry. Management experts believe that Toyota’s plight has created ‘safety in numbers’ for other companies to come clean about defects. Yet the Toyota’s recalls, in addition to over zealous recalls by other companies (such as GM) for minor defects or those occurring after warrantee, have roused calls for tighter regulations, which may stifle innovation within the industry. For more information see

CR announces 100 best corporate citizens listND

Corporate Responsibility Magazine, 03 March 2010

The 2010 list of best corporate citizens list ranks HP, Intel, GM, IBM, Kimberly Clarke, Abbot Labs, Bristol-Myers, Coca-Cola, gap and Hess Corp in the top ten. Companies were assessed using publicly available information relating to the areas of Environment, Climate Change, Human Rights, Philanthropy, Employee Relations, Financial Performance, and Governance. Some companies were issued ‘yellow cards’ for pending legal action or investigation, while one was eliminated for proven illegal activities. For more information see

Scrutiny of firms in China mountsND

Dan Levin, International Herald Tribune, 2 March 2010

US companies doing business in China are under scrutiny, following Google’s move to resist the government’s demands on censorship. Thirty IT companies including Amazon, Apple, eBay and Verizon have been summoned to a hearing on global internet freedom in US. So far, Microsoft, Yahoo and Google, have voluntarily signed onto the Global Network Initiatives’ code of conduct, which offers members’ evaluation and accountability mechanisms to judge and encourage responsible practice. For more information see

The credit crunch choked off funding for good causesND

Tara Loader Wilkinson, The Wall Street Journal, 1 March 2010

The global recession has significantly affected philanthropic donations by different groups in varying degrees. Contributions from the general public in the UK and US remain stable, but are expected to drop as people start to feel the recession bite. Wealthy individuals are carefully cutting back donations and asking for more accountability and transparency of recipient organisations. Corporate donations have fallen the most, by around 8 per cent in the US and 20 per cent in the UK. For more information see

Don't delete the e-messengerND

Aparna Nancherla, T+D, February 2010

A communication ROI study has found that a majority of companies recognise the competitive advantage of social media over traditional print forms, and plan to increase their use in 2010. Further, the key reasons other companies fail to adopt social media can be attributed to insufficient resources, knowledge, capability and support by senior management or the legal department, rather than a lack of desire to do so. For more information see

Engagement still stable in spite of pay cut trendND

Claire Churchard, People Management, 11 February 2010

A survey reveals that UK companies retain high levels of staff engagement and satisfaction. Employees feel better about their companies and have improved relationships with managers despite reduced or frozen pay. This may be an effect from businesses’ efforts to contribute to local communities and the environment, and to allay employee fears of redundancies in uncertain times. For more information see

Toyota fights to save reputationND

Kenny Lim, Media, 11 February 2010

Experts observe that Asian markets will be minimally affected by Toyota’s recent recalls, with consumers likely to regard it as a temporary slip-up against the brand’s lifetime reputation of quality and reliability. Accordingly, rather than adding to the news, Toyota should not make additional communication efforts to manage this crisis. However, other car brands may take advantage of the situation by seeking to plug the need for a reliable automotive brand in Asia. For more information see

Partnerships in three different settings — Do you know what kind of cross-sector partnership you are in? ND

Motoyo Kamiya, CSR Asia, 10 February 2010

The nature and relationship features of a partnership change according to the setting under which the partnership takes place. ‘Policy making’, ‘gift giving’ and ‘operation/implementation’ settings focus primarily on different concerns, such as decision-making powers, philanthropic donations and strategic sponsorships, or multiple collaborations to achieve a common goal. Classifying the partnerships into their correct setting type may help to clarify confusing cross-sector relationships. For more information see

Old rules still apply to social mediaND

Natalie Toohey, Australian Financial Review, 9 February 2010

Businesses must apply the traditional rules of good corporate communication to social media, as they mature into a mainstream tool for stakeholder and reputation management. Corporations must be strategic, and be able to identify and selectively target their core stakeholders groups. At present, many Australian businesses are either too controlling or fail to properly moderate and maintain their social media presence, resulting in unconvincing corporate messages that do not resonate with online audiences. For more information see

Corporate philanthropy shifts ND

Ainslie Chandler, BRW, 04 February 2010

A recent report by the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs reveals that, in light of the economic downturn, Australian companies will likely aim their philanthropy towards community investment, employee engagement and volunteering activities, and away from marketing-related sponsorships. The focus on deeper, long-term relationships, built on explicit mutual obligations is underlined by key performance indicators and highlights business’ efforts to avoid reputational damage in current tight economic times. For more information see

Morale is priority for France telecomND

Ruth Bender and Max Colchester, The Wall Street Journal, 4 February 2010

Unions have blamed France Telecoms’ negative corporate culture for a spate of employee suicides. Many companies are under pressure to slash costs in the face of decreased demand for fixed-line phone services in Europe and have introduced employee redeployment and worsening working conditions. France Telecom’s new incoming CEO promises to address staff morale and keep site closures at a minimum in order to show goodwill towards workers and unions. For more information see

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