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:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Socially responsible profitsND

William Baldwin, Forbes, 25 February 2009

The theory of blended values is not based on socially conscious investments, but rather on the convergence of selling an ethical idea — such as environmentalism, or Goggle’s ‘do no evil’. Wall Street has taken up the blended values approach. A new hedge fund based on the promise of social responsibility to attract investors may generate a re-assessment of traditional business perceptions on value of philanthropy. For more information see

Five features of great socially responsible leadership ND

Mallen Baker, Ethical Corporation, 24 February 2009

This article looks at what it takes to be a great leader in a socially responsible business: ‘(1) Being prepared to challenge the logic of your industry (2) Doing something because it is the right thing to do, and then working out how to make it pay (3) Understanding that leaders set incentives and sometimes the bottom line is the wrong incentive (4) Understanding when to follow the rules, and when to use common sense in the face of unintended outcomes (5) Knowing that just because people around you see you as a leader, it doesn't mean you're a good one.’ For more information, see

Toolkit for a tough economy — New tool for membersND

Colleen Olphert, BCCC, 23 February 2009

In response to the two most salient issues voiced by its members, the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship will produce two toolkits to guide practitioners to overcome budget cutting concerns and help identify new opportunities within the current economic context. Other anticipated topics include issues of revenue, internal collaboration, volunteerism, communication, employee engagement, as well as partnership and transparency issues. For more information see

Pots of gold: As a French multinational and Bangladeshi villagers join forces to help people work their way out of povertyND

Liam Black, The Guardian, 18 February 2009

Progressive social business initiatives in Bangladesh are regarded as a reminder to the western world of the CSR ideal. The cited example of Danone Communities applies a cross-subsidy business model based on partnerships with social entrepreneurs, based on trust and nurturing genuine growth rather than quick returns. Social ventures usually take a longer investment time frame, but help businesses to build the quality of their brands and products more effectively than through private start ups. For more information see www.

Credit crunch heralds a new moral economy ND

George Pitcher, The Telegraph, 16 February 2009

It is hoped that the structural changes brought about by the new economic environment will promote more accountable corporate behaviour. While in the past, managers and companies seeking to promote ethical business practices have been oppressed by the bottom line asset-driven mentality, company executives are shifting their focus from generating prosperity to the survival, as such stakeholder concerns are critical for the sustainability of their business and industry. For more information, see

Responsibility is still good for businessND

Christopher Flavelle, The Washington Post, 15 February 2009

Considering that CSR continues to be promoted by businesses, even by those whose profitability is not specifically hinged upon on changing consumer opinions, CSR is predicted to survive the current economic pressures. For more information see

Will corporate giving suffer in the crunch?ND

Mary Braid, The Times, 15 February 2009

Charities are uncertain of how the economic crisis will impact on the amount of corporate donations they will receive. While many expressed faith that CSR has already become embedded in major companies, the fear is that the major donors — being predominantly from the banking sector — will have significantly lowered capacity for philanthropy. The current situation may prompt businesses to engage in some soul-searching on the direction of their CSR departments, as well as for other industries to step up their CSR commitments. For more information, see

CEOs speak out about economic crisisND

Peggy Connolly, BCCC, 12 February 2009

Connolly supports the view that the financial crisis is an opportunity to reshape the current economy and change the mindset among business leaders. A new corporate culture is required to support future growth. Emphasis should be placed on de-leveraging the economy, restoring confidence and growth through innovation and productivity. Recent speeches by Paul Otellini and Steve Ballmer are recommended for reading. For more information see

Engaging a worried workforceND

Stefan Stern, Financial Times, 09 February 2009

Reassessing current approaches to employee engagement, Stern advocates that it is the fundamental principles of honest and open communications — not expensive corporate outings or novel high-tech programs, that will be the most effective in generating employee goodwill and settling anxieties over job insecurity during tough economic times. For more information, see

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