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:

The financial crisis and CSRND


Bob Flemming, Business Times (Singapore), 23 March 2009

Present CSR activities should be carefully evaluated based on their impact on the threefold of revenue, community and environment. A distinction is made between corporate philanthropy and CSR as a business strategy. As such, CSR activities that are essential to a business’ core offerings, reputation and community standing should be identified and protected against cost cutting, while the non-essentials should be removed to increase effectiveness. For more information see www.businesstimes.com.sg

Capital fightND


The Deal, March 2009

The article argues that a new Government and changes in the global political environment have catalysed a flurry of corporate lobbying activities — particularly as the two biggest issues currently facing the government, climate change and the global financial crisis, impact on a wide range of businesses across various industries. The increased interaction between corporations and Canberra indicate that strong relationships are most valuable during tough times, with many hired lobbyists appearing to have experience in the government, and business with traditionally contractual relationships seeking to re-engage with government as a potential client. For more information see www.theaustralian.news.com.au

The business of collective thinkingND


Rebecca Turner, The Deal, March 2009

The article presents the debate on the value of web 2.0 technologies in business. On one hand, new media democratise the organisation by breaking down traditional hierarchies, increasing innovation and co-operation between suppliers. Others on the other hand warn of negative impacts on diminishing management’s powers, confusing the decision making, intellectual property concerns and the risk of overestimating the judgement of online communities over professionals. Either way, web 2.0 technologies are set to challenge current conventions and values on the business hierarchy. For more information see www.theaustralian.news.com.au

Nonprofit squeeze: donations down, volunteers upND


Dan Kadlec, Time, 19 March 2009

The recent change in the nature of donor support — from providing funding to volunteering time — is seen to pose several challenges for nonprofits unprepared for the historic influx of volunteerism. Where volunteers are not provided with adequate training or are turned away, negative experiences may lower retention and return rates as well as alienate potential future donors. The challenge remains on finding the most efficient way to utilised volunteers in the face of decreasing financial certainty. For more information see www.time.com

Reform the architecture of regulationND


Henry Paulson, Financial Times, 17 March 2009

A complete reform of the current regulatory architecture is called as a response to the financial crisis. A consistent and objective-based approach should be adopted to ensure that all businesses are subject to the same standards regulations irrespective of the particular form it takes. It is argued also that the Federal Government should have more authority and access to information to all organisations to keep track of risk across the financial system. For more information see www.ft.com

From ranks of jobless, a flood of volunteersND


Julie Bosman, The New York Times, 16 March 2009

Nonprofits in the US are reporting an increase in volunteer numbers as newly unemployed professionals seek to volunteer their skills, fill up time and explore new opportunities. While smaller organisations are struggling to accommodate this recent influx of manpower and fears mass desertion once the economy recovers, there are hopes that such volunteering experiences will create an appreciation and support for philanthropic activities by career professionals after they return to paid work. For more information see www.nytimes.com

Soon: A social stock exchange? ND


Lin Yanqin, Today (Singapore), 16 March 2009

Yanqin argues that a social stock exchange should be introduced as social ventures begin to achieve high growth and organisational capacity. This would help the public define and assess the value of individual companies, as well as improving accountability and trust. At present, South Africa has a Social Investment Exchange while the UK will set up its own version later this year. However, social enterprises must avoid the risk of diluting their social mission when faced with such business-profit based assessment criteria. For more information see todayonline.com

Yes, CEOs should Facebook and TwitterND


Mathew Fraser and Soumitra Dutta, Forbes, 11 March 2009

Social software has the potential to boost productivity and should be adopted into business practice rather being support for short-term marketing campaigns only. Web 2.0 enables CEOs to connect directly with employees and customers, companies to their stakeholders, and to gauge the public perception. However, the social media should be introduced through an open and transparent corporate culture. For more information see www.forbes.com.

100 best corporate citizens 2009ND


The CRO, 10 March 2009

The article marks the release of IWF and the CRO’s tenth annual corporate responsibility rankings. Based on the principles of transparency and efforts to secure stakeholder loyalty, the rankings were derived from publicly available information. It is observed that the lists have gained increasingly high attention by the public, mainstream media as well as companies themselves. For more information see www.thecro.com

Corporate social responsibility is vital for business survivalND


Roger Trapp, The Independent, 10 March 2009

Trapp argues that recent economic tough circumstances should lead businesses to take on a sustainable rather than strictly profit driven approach. Organisations such as the UN and the EU commission are beginning to establish new guidelines on ethical business principles. CSR should not be seen as atheistic to business but rather a support for the bottom line and a means of enhancing social accountability. For more information see www.independent.co.uk

Survey finds Internet most trusted media outlet in AustraliaND


Duncan Riley, The Inquisitr, 9 March 2009

An Australian Communications and Media Authority survey has found that the Internet is the most trusted media outlet in Australia, followed by newspapers, television and radio. Students, the higher educated and people under 30 are the most confident Internet users, while privacy and security concerns are the most salient issues. The report recommends government and industry action to build online trust and continue to raise awareness and education. For more information see www.inquisitr.com

A social solution without going the nonprofit routeND


Marci Alboher, New York Times, 4 March 2009

Profit driven business approaches are more effective in solving social problems; they assist traditional non-profit organisations in terms of strategic planing, management, while assisting the business cause by attracting broad public involvement and support. While it is acknowledged that not all businesses are appropriate to the for profit model, the trend of business ventures that are driven by social missions is observed to be on the rise. For more information see www.nytimes.com

CSR and social enterprises: combining profit and philanthropy in times of crisisND


The Jakarta Post, 4 March 2009

Common CSR models — in-house, outsourcing and collaboration require NFPs to compromise funding needs and control over strategy and accountability for their social causes. Instead, Social Enterprises, either the ‘plow-back profit’ or ‘subsidised services’ model may overcome such limitations and should be explored as funds for CSR dry up. Grameen Danone, Mercy Corp and Sampoerna Foundation are seen as prime examples of the SE model. For more information see www.thejakartapost.com

Moon shots for corporate citizenshipND


Brad Googins, BCCC, 2 March 2009

Googins suggests that businesses should respond to the economic crisis by embracing corporate citizenship (CC) and integrating it into their management systems. The CC community should band together and take initiative to support this change, by integrating and aligning citizenship with business ideals, branding corporate citizenship, and building effective stakeholder relationships. For more information see www.bccc.net

Companies and NGOs have a lot to learn from each otherND


Gib Bulloch, Times Online, 27 February 2009

Bulloch argues that the need for NGOs to engage in multi-sector partnerships has become more pertinent as worsening global economic conditions is predicted to seriously impact developing countries. Collaboration with the public and private business sectors is the most effective way to use and maximise the diverse skill and resources available. For more information see www.businesstimesonline.co.uk

Valuing corporate social responsibility: McKinsey Global Survey ResultsND


The McKinsey Quarterly, February 2009

Survey results reveal that while business leaders acknowledge the value of ESG (social, environmental and governance) programs, opinions differ on the amount and nature of the stakeholder value created. The report argues that the indirect nature and lack of data on ESG program contributions hinder the use of formal evaluation metrics and frameworks. For more information see www.mckinseyquarterly.com

Not just for profitND


Marjorie Kelly, strategy+business, 26 February 2009

Kelly advocates for alternative business models, such as stakeholder-owned, mission controlled, cooperatives and public private hybrids, as alternatives to current short-term, profit-driven approaches. Public-private hybrid designs, either as ‘for-profit philanthropy’ or ‘for-benefit’ businesses, including the exemplary Grameen Danone model, seek to pursue profit while being guided by higher social causes. For more information, see www.strategy-business.com

Sweet to tweetND


Richard Waters, Christ Nuttall and David Gelles, The Financial Times, 26 February 2009

Twitter, the current online social media phenomenon, is speculated to be more than just a passing fad. As a micro-blogging service, Twitter is able to capture the mood of the virtual world in real time. Additionally, new technologies such as the development of organisational tools drawing on data from Twitter may pose new potential opportunities for business. For more information see www.ft.com

Business demands CSR flexibility to stay competitiveND


The Jakarta Post, 25 February 2009

A debate has ensued between the Indonesian government and business groups on a new law that imposes mandatory CSR contributions for businesses in the natural resources sector. A number of companies have filed for a judicial review, arguing that mandatory requirements disadvantage them against foreign companies, while the government holds that by forwarding an exact profit percentage, business can safeguard themselves from criticism as well as uphold their CSR responsibilities. For more information, see www.thejakartapost.com

Goodbye Gucci. It’s the age of co-op capitalismND


Noreena Hertz, The Times, 25 February 2009

Hertz advocates ‘co-op capitalism’ based on the principles of collaboration, cooperation and collective interest. The public anger at big business, an increased mandate for government intervention, the establishment of new global financial regulatory systems, the emergence of new geopolitical forces, and recent views in behaviour economics on human beings as fundamentally caring individuals, marks this new ideological shift. For more information see www.timesonline.co.uk

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