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:

Excessive bonuses to be banned in war on greed ND


Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, The Independent, 28 September 2009

Leaders of the G20 largest industrialised nations have agreed to introduce new laws to ban exorbitant corporate handouts and the automatic payment bonuses on a per annum basis. The measures are a response to the financial crisis and seek to ensure long-term performance by company executives. Politicians urge that companies show voluntary restraint with this year’s bonuses in anticipation of the new laws, to be in forced next year. For more information see www.independent.co.uk

China CSR rank released in Beijing ND


China CSR, 25 September 2009

The China CSR Research Centre has released rankings of the top 100 companies for CSR, including case studies of the best and worst examples, ranging from model programs to unethical corporate scandals in 2009. The report suggests that Chinese enterprises lack understanding of the importance of CSR, with over 100,000 businesses failing to fulfil their charity obligations. For more information see www.chinaCSR.com

Sustainability: It's not about light bulbsND


Dov Seidman, BusinessWeek, 23 September 2009

Leading companies such as Proctor & Gamble, McDonald’s and DuPont realise that simply ‘going green’ will not ensure sustainability. Sustainability should be an overarching mindset that will allow businesses to forge deeper connections with employees and customers. Rather than promoting sales volume as evidence of success, businesses should emphasise shared values and collaboration with the community in order to be sustainable. For more information see www.businessweek.com

Green rankingsND


Newsweek, 21 September 2009

Newsweek has awarded HP the top position in its environmental rankings of America’s largest 500 companies. HP was praised as a leader on GHG emissions reduction. Other technology companies Dell, Intel, IBM and Applied Materials also feature in the top 10, along with industry leaders Johnson & Johnson, State Street, Nike, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Starbucks. The rankings adopted a ‘green score’ based on companies’ environmental impact, polices, performance and reputation. For more information see www.greenrankings.newsweek.com

Entrepreneurs 'Tweet' their way through crises ND


Sarah Needleman, Wall Street Journal, 15 September 2009

Twitter allows companies to communicate and explain themselves directly with their stakeholders. This is especially effective during reputation crises or when their main website has been disabled or vandalised by protesters. Companies can also monitor Twitter comments to predict and prepare for potentially negative reactions. However, business must have built trust with stakeholders through regular contact on social media first in order for Twitter to be effective during times of crisis. For more information see www.online.wsj.com

A new job is just a tweet awayND


Sarah Needleman, The Wall Street Journal, 8 September 2009

Companies have begun using Twitter as a cheaper and more effective method for finding and attracting new candidates. Twitter offers job hunters a level of interactivity with the company prior to their official application, while companies are able to attract active candidates with ready made social media skills. Job tweets help recruiters overcome the problems with online job forums related to ‘over saturation’, high maintenance and costs. For more information see www.wsj.com

Pro bono work helps firms fight economic slumpND


Raymund Flandez, The Wall Street Journal, 1 September 2009

Companies are offering pro bono services as a means to occupy employees in the face of decreased workloads, and to cultivate new relationships under the economic downturn. Pro bono work generates good will and positive relationships with local communities, increases visibility and creates opportunities for future business. Companies should consider providing budgeting for volunteer work over traditional advertising in order to build relationships with local communities. For more information see www.wsj.com

Pay attention to employer brandND


Stephan Stern, Financial Times, 31 August 2009

The employer brand is a valuable asset for retaining and attracting talent. Stern warns against businesses compromising their commitment to attracting new graduates in light of the recent economic climate, which will negatively affect their employer brand in the long term. Establishing an employer brand requires consistent actions, sustain communications and leadership in order to promote the organisation’s values and attitudes in a coherent and attractive way. For more information see www.ft.com

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

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