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:

Structure and strategies: Profile of the practice 2008ND


Peggy Connolly, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, 18 January 2009

This Center report reveals that while the management of a company’s social role is becoming a formal part of the business structure and strategy, there remains a lack of consensus regarding the identity, position and role of corporate citizenship within the firm. Companies with strong citizenship performances are those that internalise citizenship values, incorporating them into existing organisation structures and management mechanisms. For more information see www.bcccc.net

Microsoft launches a policy blogND


Aarti Shah, PRWeek US, 16 January 2009

Targeting public affairs and other related stakeholder groups within and related to the technology industry, Microsoft’s ‘On the Issues’ blog seeks to engage global public policy debates on technology issues. The company believes that the blog will provide a platform for voicing its perspectives on public issues. For more information, see www.prweekus.com

Next benefit to face the ax: matching giftsND


Shelly Banjo, Wall Street Journal, 14 January 2009

Many US companies are reported to be cutting back on their matched giving programs, under which corporate funds are donated according to donations from employees or the number hours volunteered by employee. Non-profit organisations in communities where companies are hardest hit by the recession are expecting to feel the effects of lower contributions. Likewise, increased mergers between financial institutions will result in decreased funding for corporate giving programs. Not all companies are cutting their matched giving programs however. GE has announced it will double its matching program for certain organisations. For some companies, it is a chance to realign their programs to focus on those hardest hit by the downturn. For more information see www.online.wsj.com

Surviving ‘India’s Enron’ND


Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Far Eastern Economic Review, 14 January 2009

India’s fourth largest IT company, and one reputed for its strong performance has been accused of falsifying corporate figures. This article argues that the Satyam scandal should prompt scrutiny of current corporate governance regulations, the government’s response in addressing the highlighted shortcomings, and analyse the reasons behind the Satyam’s actions. Such reflections are needed as India seeks to move from traditional business practices to professional management models, and particularly as foreign investment into India comes predominantly through stock purchases. For more information see www.feer.com

Rating corporate good citizensND


Shanghai Daily, 13 January 2009

The Shanghai National Accounting Institute (SNAI) has created an index for measuring the CSR performance of businesses on the Chinese stock markets. While the calculations are based on international standards, their accuracy is questionable due a lack of disclosure by some Chinese businesses. Additionally, the Shanghai Stock Exchange has introduced a social contribution indicator. It is hoped that such measures will encourage more transparency and CSR behaviour. For more information see www.shanghaidaily.com

Chance for social enterprise to be more enterprisingND


Mark Barber, The Times, 9 January 2009

It is observed that most social enterprises (SEs) in the UK operate as small businesses, and thus lack the credibly and are ill equipped to take on public sector contracts. Accordingly, the UK government is proposing a financial loan program to help SEs build their profile and capabilities. The Social Return on Investment Project provides a standard framework for measuring social value, enabling SEs to prove their worth and social investors to make rational purchasing decisions. For more information see www.business.timesonline.co.ok

India socially more responsibleND


Dayananda Meitei, DNA (India), 9 January 2009

A study by Pennsylvania State University has revealed that American consumers attribute profit for shareholders, ethical business practices, public and consumer welfare to CSR related activities, while Indian counterparts considered employment for the needy and poverty alleviation. According to the article, the study also finds that 93% of Indian consumers, compared to only 53% in the US are aware of CSR. For more information see www.dnaindia.com

Measuring the impact of corporate citizenship ND


Jason Saul, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, 9 January 2009

In Jason Saul’s recent blog entry, he states that producing measured results that are aligned to business outcomes is the best way to demonstrate the business value of social impact activities. Saul suggests that corporate citizenship departments should start focusing on outcomes rather than programs, shift from the post-hoc focus of program evaluation to pre-hoc measuring practices, move from compliance reporting, which is based on the need of others, to performance reporting, and define the outcomes for success by engaging with key stakeholders. For more information see http://blogs.bcccc.net

Gujarat’s new industrial policy makes CSR optionalND


Asia Pulse, 5 January 2009

The new Industrial Policy titled ‘Wealth for Social Health’, by the Indian Ministry of State for Industries allows for flexible arrangements for CSR activities. The policy refrains from imposing mandatory contribution requirements on private entities for CSR programs, as with for state-run public enterprises. Instead, the new framework seeks to support optional initiatives between the state and businesses at the district level. For more information see www.asiapulse.com

Making the case for investing in corporate citizenshipND


Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, December 2008

Advice is offered that when faced with potential budget cuts, practitioners should empathise the business case, including the long-term strategic advantages and short-term savings produced by corporate citizenship programs. In addition, building internal knowledge and support among co-workers from the bottom up, and highlighting the current strengths of the company’s citizenship program against the competition, may ensure continued management support for CSR programs during tough times. For more information see www.bccc.net

Through CSR, firms help improve imageND


B Gunawan, The Jakarta Post, 18 December 2008

Under Indonesia’s Limited Liability Company Law, it is now mandatory for natural resources companies to allocate funding for CSR activities. This article advocates for a separate department and management roles to oversee CSR activities and for collaboration between business, government and NGOs to deliver real results. Companies may either fund their own foundations such as with Cola-Cola or Danamon, or support programs such as the Sampoeran Foundation. For more information see www.thejakartapost.com

Ailing firms still willing to help charitiesND


Yoo Soh-jung, The Korea Herald, 16 December 2008

The majority of companies surveyed by the Federation of Korean Industries expressed an intention to maintain and further expand their CSR activities despite the recent economic turmoil. The survey found that the significance of CSR within companies is influenced first by the CEO, followed by social moods and consensus among employees. Business philanthropy is currently directed towards young children and adolescent groups, the elderly and the physically challenged in that order. For more information see www.koreaherald.co.kr

Are Indian firms looking to build sustainable practices?ND


Taryu Bahl, Mint (Delhi), 12 December 2008

Firms appear to be shifting their approaches from societal-based CSR activities to environmental sustainability issues as concerns mount over public reaction towards land acquisition and the need to provide tangible and practical results. Such solutions include JSW Steel’s ‘intelligent growth’ initiative, which provides education and training to locals for improving their farming capabilities. Improved institutional systems, manpower and standard criteria for assessing business environmental programs are needed. For more information, see www.livemint.com

Climate change challenges for Hong Kong: An agenda for adaptationND


Richard Welford, CSR Asia and Hong Kong University, 12 December 2008

The report advocates that Hong Kong must take anticipatory adaptation measures against climate change in order to maintain its competitiveness. The business community should undertake risk assessments, develop strategies and build continuity plans on climate change. Key recommends include adopting public education and community-based planning measures, business incentives, and the need for a government contravened task force to begin planning for climate change adaptation. For more information see www.csr-asia.com

Hard times may make nicer firms good betsND


Anna Stablum, Reuters, 9 December 2008

It is argued that CSR concerns such as climate change and social issues will remain relevant to businesses, irrespective of any immediate macro economic circumstances, and are a good indication of companies’ long-term sustainability. Considering the recent economic turmoil, investors are urged to include social, moral, ethical and environmental considerations when measuring performance and focus on long-term value over short to medium term gains. For more information see www.reuters.com

A look at changing worker expectationsND


Anjali Prayag, The Hindu Business Line, 8 December 2008

The article presents findings from a study on the criteria used by university graduates for evaluating and selecting a company for a career. The findings on future workforce expectations reveal that company image and reputation, as well as active CSR initiatives and volunteering work opportunities were the most influential factors. The results may prove useful for companies when developing strategies for attracting talent. For more information see www.thehindubusinessline.com

The future of corporate philanthropy ND


Alyson Warhurst, Business Week, 8 December 2008

The author predicts that a tighter economic climate will lead to a decline in corporate CSR activities that are based on philanthropic donations, and advocates for more strategic, business-orientated investments instead. Socially responsible activities help companies to manage their long-term risks, responsibilities and reputations and should be aligned with bottom line objectives in order to be sustainable. Partnerships with NGOs and supporting sophisticated development programs are seen as being more effective in delivering pragmatic solutions and real outcomes. For more information see www.businessweek.com

Anti-corruption — getting rid of graftND


Rajesh Chhabara, Ethical Corporation, 5 December 2008

According to the latest Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, Asian countries remain the most corrupt in the world. Asian multinationals are not required to comply with anti-corruption laws like their counterparts in Europe and the US and often resort to bribery in order to shape policies and regulations. While many Asian companies have signed up to the UN Global Compact, the program does not have a mechanism to enforce compliance to anti-corruption pledges. While some companies are starting to develop anti-corruption policies, business leaders confirm that only strong political will is effective to make the change. For more information see www.ethicalcorp.com

Time off for good behaviourND


Sarah Needleman, The Wall Street Journal, 2 December 2008

Even though many US companies may not have formal volunteering programs, they are generally very flexible in supporting their employees’ volunteer efforts. This is particularly true during bad economic times, as the costs of supporting volunteering are low while the benefits (such as enhancing a company’s image, improving recruitment and retention) are substantial. Many US companies are working with matching not-for-profits to provide volunteer opportunities. For more information, see www.wsj.com

Clarity is crucialND


Martin Wolf, Financial Times, 1 December 2008

It is argued that a consistent global policy framework is required to tackle the climate change problem. Despite unequal starting points, developing nations must commit to emissions reduction with their western counterparts and should be encouraged to do so through rewards systems that pay for positive results. Policy must co-ordinate regulatory standards and subsidise the development of new technologies rather than simply impose carbon prices and taxes. For more information see www.ft.com

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