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:

CSR Watch — momentum still good despite poor economy ND

Pornnalat Prachyakorn, Bangkok Post, 11 April 2009

A 2009 CSR survey by the Thaipat Institute reveals that a majority of companies will either expand or maintain their current CSR activities, with the top issues being education, the environment, and the society. However, over half of the companies surveyed are yet to consider CSR or sustainability reporting, which has prompted calls to raise awareness and know-how on the competitive strategic advantages of CSR programs for businesses within the region. For more information see

Employee engagement — let the champions reignND

Andrew Bold, Ethical Corp, 8 April 2009.

‘Champions’ of corporate responsibility are employees who take proactive initiative on promoting ethical behaviours within their own organisations. It is suggested that companies should establish formal networks and systems to harness growing staff enthusiasm for in-house CSR practices. Current examples adopt a combination of champion networks, individual role models, and international buddy systems, as well as both financial and non-financial incentives. For more information see

It doesn’t take long to find the cynicND

Mark Jones, The Australian Financial Review, March 2009

Web 2.0 technologies such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs merge the roles between customer care, marketing, PR and communications, allowing companies to be more flexible and engage more directly with real customers. Despite privacy concerns, it is observed that large progressive companies who have invested in experimental social media programs, are beginning to reap the benefits as the technologies gain mainstream recognition. For more information see

20 years on from Exxon Valdez: what progress for corporate responsibility?ND

Adrien Lopez, Ethical Corp, 27 March 2009

Lopez finds the legacy of Exxon Valdez’s 1989 oil spill to be bittersweet. On one hand, the incident triggered a wave of socially responsible initiatives including the Valdez Principles, the founding of Ceres and the creation of GRI, and the promotion of CSR ideals. Yet Exxon’s refusal to accept full responsibility and its neglect of the victims to provide a timely settlement has not seemed to affect its current exceptional financial performance, thus undermining much progress reported to have been made in CSR values. For more information see

Four ways in which enterprises are using TwitterND

Gartner Inc, 26 March 2009

Gartner has identified four methods for companies to harness the Twitter technology. Twitter may function as a direct marketing channel, supporting official corporate communications; may benefit the company indirectly, as consequence of positive remarks by employees who are good twitters; as an internal communications system — though this is not highly recommended, and for inbound signalling through the twitter streams and search tools. Gartner advocates caution; citing concerns with brand impostors, confidentiality and other limitations of the technology. For more information see

CSR: firms these days have to do good to do wellND

The Nation (Thailand), 24 March 2009

It is argued that online social media should be harnessed to maximise the value of CSR in creating positive experiences, goodwill and trust. Social media is able to promote CSR programs to groups who are traditionally outside their direct reach, and in a more trustworthy information source as it is passed personally between users. Companies are recommended to concentrate on and build a strong presence in one network, and use social media ‘super stars’ help promote their programs through informal networks. For more information see

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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