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:

Emissions reduction targets of largest companies fail to meet scientific standards ND


Robert Kropp, SocialFunds, 25 August 2009

A study of the world’s largest 100 companies by the Carbon Disclosure Project has found that current reduction targets are insufficient to meet scientific guidelines. While 73 per cent of companies report on reduction targets, more than a quarter fail to disclose any figures at all. The report recommends that companies should set reduction targets, targets that include clear baseline and target years, and be guided by the scientific findings of the IPCC. For more information see www.socialfunds.com

Government relations in a CSR contextND


Richard Trabert, BCCC, 17 August 2009

CSR professionals increasingly recognise the impact of government on their community and corporate involvement activities. Good government relations, partnerships, and social advocacy programs will heighten the likelihood of a successful CSR initiative. Companies can build effective social advocacy programs by identifying the key issues, ensuring their credibility and expertise, and committing sufficient resources over time to influence public policy. For more information see www.bcccc.net

Why be an ethical company? They’re stronger and last longerND


Vivek Wadhwa, BusinessWeek, 17 August 2009

Companies should adopt a sense of higher purpose that can be filtered down into strategy and risk management. Survivors of the recent Wall Street collapse are typically ‘straight shooter’ companies with a strong focus on responsibility, value for high-net worth individuals, and transparent cultures. Post-crisis, businesses should resist the temptation of reverting to short term goals, and learn from the financial crisis by developing a moral compass that incorporates all voices within the organisation. For more information see www.businessweek.com.

Twitter forcing a strategy switch for businessND


Julie Johnson, Chicago Tribune, 16 August 2009

Market research reveals that open dialogue between companies and their stakeholders through social media platforms is here to stay; yet only 26 per cent of surveyed companies currently use social media. Companies such as Mars and JetBlue have begun experimenting with ‘Interweb’ promotions, which were able to overcome an initial bombardment of negative responses to attract mass followings. While the unpredictability of new technology poses the biggest challenge, the potential opportunities are also there for the taking. For more information see www.chicagotribune.com

Is employee volunteering the management tool of the 21st century?ND


Bea Boccalandro, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, 10 August 2009

Employee volunteering and community involvement programs are a powerful and efficient way for businesses to make meaningful connections with their stakeholders. Large companies are recruiting employees to match their ethical branding and are developing volunteering initiatives in the wider community. This enables them to develop better products, stay globally competitive, as well as solve daily business challenges. For more information see www.bccc.net

Stay on message, show respect and keep your coolND


Patrick Durk, The Australian Financial Review, 29 July 2009

As executives are preparing for the upcoming reporting season, some of the considerations include safety issues at AGM meetings, communication strategies as well as developing CEO’s personal appeal. Communication experts advise that companies should prepare for difficult questions from shareholders; many of which may be hostile or extremely experienced, with detailed knowledge about the contents of the annual report. Consultants predict that the key issues this year will include cuts in dividend payments and capital raisings, executive remuneration, shareholder returns and workplace safety. For more information see www.afr.com

Why Tweets have got bosses all a-TwitterND


Ben Woodhead, The Australian Financial Review, 28 July 2009

Employers are increasingly concerned about how best to manage the content and time spent by employees on social media. Many companies accept that sites such as Twitter and Facebook have already become part of employee’s daily lives, and are focusing on strategies to extract benefits, as well as developing overarching social media policies. Not all employers are responding to this trend however, with some believing the social media craze is only transitory, and smaller organisations being unprepared to respond appropriately. For more information see www.afr.com

Carbon accounting — Emissions disclosure stacking upND


Oliver Balch, Ethical Corporation, 21 July 2009

While major companies are increasing their carbon disclosure activities in response to demand from various stakeholder groups, current practices fail to apply consistent accounting methods or disclose the full story, including poorer results. Organisations and international bodies are working to provide tools and frameworks to enable companies to provide a holistic picture of their GHG emissions’ impact and ensure comparable results that are in line with international standards. For more information see www.ethicalcorp.com

Report urges more link-ups between firms and charitiesND


Roland Gribben, The Telegraph, 21 July 2001

A report by the Cabinet Office has urged the third sector to develop programs to channel their requests for aid from business, as well as recognise that business can offer more than simply monetary support. Local charities should move away from traditional donor-recipient approaches by fostering cross-sector collaboration and partnerships with business. The government has provided funding and several initiatives to assist unemployed people to take up charitable work. For more information see www.telegraph.co.uk

Time out to help less fortunate is its own rewardND


Rhymer Rigby, Financial Times. 20 July 2009

Workplaces are driving the increase in skilled professional volunteering. A social enterprise unit, which is supported by concessions from the company and its employees, for example, may support development projects while breaking even financially despite reduced client fees. Aside from the community good produced, overseas employee deployment will foster leadership skills and exposure to developing markets, while local projects are equally able to produce the good effects of staff development, motivation and retention. For more information see www.ft.com

Business and the swine flu threatND


Roberto Romulo, The Philippine Star, 17 July 2009

The threat of a swine flu pandemic should remind businesses that crisis response activities should be implemented in order to safeguard their functions during natural disasters. Business may prepare for such crisis scenarios in the areas of response planning, managing key external and employee stakeholders, encouraging prevention practices, and provide guidance through education and communication in order to minimise impacts on business operations. Businesses should also engage in community collaboration and share best practices with other organisations in order to improve community response efforts. For more information see www.philstar.com

Twenty ideas that could save the worldND


Ian Katz, The Guardian, 13 July 2009

In a joint initiative by the Guardian and Manchester International Festival, prominent scientists, entrepreneurs and think thanks were asked to present their most novel ideas for an ingenuous solution to climate change. A panel of experts considered a range of the most cutting edge, lateral ideas, offering solutions from fields like science, psychotherapy and agriculture. All the entries can be supported or viewed online. For more information see www.guardian.co.uk

Twittering about work gives firms the jittersND


Serene Luo, Straits Times, 9 July 2009

Clear company guidelines on the use of social media such as Facebook, blogs and Twitter will ensure that employees do not inadvertently violate existing codes of business ethics or rules. Clear rules — such as restricting comments to personal matters, reminders not to divulge privileged product or client information, gaining approval from relevant groups before posting, and self identification — will ensure that social media does not become a liability for the company. For more information see www.straitstimes.com

Companies make effort to create greener work environmentND


Prenatal Prachyakorn, Bangkok Post, 8 July 2009

Some companies are investing in green building projects as a practical means of demonstrating corporate responsibility, concern for the environment and support for new government policies. Renovated corporate offices will produce environmental benefits by decreasing energy consumption, business savings on running costs; and promote staff well being from improved workplace environment. For more information see www.bangkokpost.com

Innovation key to staying ahead in ESG gameND


Sophia Greene, Financial Times, 5 July 200

Global investment trends indicate that ESG may soon become a viable element of the investment process, and is an improvement to traditional CSR reporting, which does not sufficiently account for quantifiable results. Many investment banks are also developing standard frameworks to allow comparison between ESG values and performance across the board. A recent survey reveals that ESG innovation provides performance advantages, as stock prices tend to stabilise once they enter the mainstream. For more information see www.ft.com

Anthony Bolton: Rules of engagementND


Anthony Bolton, Financial Times, 3 July 2009

Bolton, the president of investment at Fidelity International, advocates that board composition and strategy are the main drives behind investor engagement. Companies that provide access and information on the chief executive roles, concentrated shareholder listings, and information on key strategies will be favoured by active investors seeking engagement to give their funds a competitive advantage over more passive investors. For more information see www.ft.com

Corporate Social Responsibility: much more talk than action ND


Eric Riddleberger and Jeff Hittner, Forbes, 1 July 2009

IBM’s survey of senior executives reveals that while corporates are recognising the value of CSR for long-term business sustainability, they are unable to attain their own sustainability. This is due to a failure to understand information needs, collect and analyse feedback on program performance, and understand stakeholder concerns. The article provides some key actions to address the information gaps required to incorporate CSR into business strategies. For more information see www.forbes.com

Financial institutions fail to manage their ESG risks, global survey findsND


Greenwire News Agency, 30 June 2009

An Ethical Investment Research Service survey finds that only a quarter of companies are adequately managing their ESG risks, with Japanese companies showing the biggest improvement, and Australian and New Zealand counterparts improving during 2005-2008. The survey assessed over 2,200 companies, including FTSE listed companies, on their board responsibility, risk management systems and identification of ESG risks, liabilities and opportunities. The researchers stress that various global UN initiatives will apply increased pressure to push ESG issues on the investment agenda. For more information see www.greenwire.com

CR watch — more stakeholders need to get involvedND


Pornnalat Prachyakorn, Bangkok Post, 26 June 2009

Companies should invest in the CR issues that are most relevant to their core business and immediate local stakeholder groups in Asia to maximise impact and avoid unnecessary activities. For example, large brands such as BMW openly communicate both success and failures of CR through constant reporting, which the author regards as the best method for winning stakeholder trust through tough economic times. For more information see www.bangkokpost.com

Conquering the challenge of business-education collaboration ND


Tim Wilson, BCCC, 24 June 2009

A complex collaborative effort between Cisco, Microsoft and Intel to solve global educational problems is currently underway. While the partnership relies on three core universal characteristics that are common to all education systems, it is an ambitious project that will challenge international groups of academics, countries, and corporations to work together, identify and share skills for collaboration, innovation, and knowledge utilisation. For more information see www.bccc.net.au

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