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 green equationND


Kate Burgess, Business Review Weekly, 30 October 2008

Business’ sustainability reports must provide more selective, targeted and quantifiable information given carbon price and emissions trading concerns. Kate Burgess argues that non-financial data should be aligned with business objectives, acting as a supporting component of the business model rather than as a separate entity. For more information see www.brw.com.au

The state of CSR disclosure in Asia 2008 ND


CSR Asia Business Barometer, October 2008

The research report indicates that companies in Hong Kong are performing best in CSR disclosure, followed by their counterparts in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore in that order. Overall, companies scored best in disclosing business codes and policies and worst on indications on workplace and people. The results indicate that there is no correlation between business size and CSR rankings, speculating that it is strategy rather than size that effectively delivers sustainable business models. While a handful of companies are progressively improving transparency and business responsibility, the report calls for all companies within the region to vastly improve their existing CSR reporting practices. For more information see www.csr-asia.com

Financial crisis: Social investment — Crunch time for ethical investing ND


Jon Entine, Ethical Corporation, 28 October 2008

The recent financial crisis has been attributed by some as a result of businesses failing to maintain transparent and accountable standards. The authors of this article argue that in the past, ethical investors have prioritised social and environmental issues and neglected key governance and business concerns. The SRI community must acknowledge and balance primary business concerns such as wealth management and job creation, along with social and environmental responsibilities. For more information see www.ethicalcorp.com

Reviled firms lead responsibility listND


Juliette Jowit, The Guardian, 28 October 2008

Some of the most commonly criticised companies in Europe have also been identified as the leaders in CSR reporting. Controversial companies such as those in the tobacco and petrol industries are taking the CR 2.0 approach by addressing the most complex issues facing their businesses. However, scepticism remains over the measures used to judge CSR performance. For more information see www.guardian.co.uk

Helping ‘green’ products growND


Sheila Bonni & Jeremy Oppenheim, The McKinsey Quarterly, October 2008

Consumer’s concerns for the environment do not appear to influence their ultimate purchasing behaviours. A lack of awareness, distrust in the quality and ‘green’ integrity, the costs as well as the efforts involved, deter consumers from buying eco-friendly products. Businesses must educate, promote and improve the quality of their ‘green’ products in order to help consumers change their purchasing behaviour. For more information see www.mckinseyquarterly.com

Wal-Mart plans a crackdown on Chinese suppliers ND


Dexter Robers, Business Week, 24 October 2008

Following the recent product quality scandals in China, Wal-Mart will require its suppliers to certify compliance with environmental and labour laws in efforts to improve product standards. Auditing procedures in China are notoriously corrupt and lack transparency. Wal-Mart will expand its self-auditing measures and consolidate the number of its global suppliers in order to ensure compliance. For more information see www.businessweek.com

Microsoft sets the tone for topics and tracks at the 7th Asian Forum on Corporate Social Responsibility to be held in SingaporeND


ACN Newswire, 21 October 2008

Microsoft’s global CSR mission is to deliver technological benefits to the economically disadvantaged. By aligning technology, business and CSR work, Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential program has delivered results in education, innovations and employment. The company will be discussing this at the upcoming Asia Forum on CSR. For more information see www.newsonjapan.com

New media — Online reporting’s virtues and pitfalls ND


Kathee Rebernak, Ethical Corporation, 17 October 2008

Online sustainability reports are environmentally friendlier and have a broader reach than their printed versions. Publishing information online can also allow for more interactive data, increased readership engagement and feedback. Challenges arise in appropriately organising, presenting and prioritising information, however the trend for online reporting is set to continue. For more information see www.ethicalcorp.com

Sustainability and the stock market ND


Jeff Zelkowitz, The CRO, 17 October 2008

Incorporating sustainable environmental, social and governance (ESC) values into mainstream corporate strategy allows businesses to secure buy-in from shareholders, achieve maximum valuation and overcome long-term liabilities. Sustainable values can be quantified by developing systems and metrics for reporting non-financial factors, and should be factored into the investment equation. For more information see www.thecro.com

CSR doesn’t pay ND


David Vogel, Forbes, 16 October 2008

The author argues that CSR does not necessarily deliver financial advantage, as consumer decisions remain focused on product and price, and shareholders on financial performance. Business records on CSR are rarely consistent, making it hard to identify truly responsible. While some global firms have genuinely internalised CSR strategies, Vogel suggests this is not pervasive in the wider business environment and should not be generalised. For more information see www.forbes.com

Regaining trust will ensure sustainable green managementND


Maeil Business Newspaper, 16 October 2008

Companies’ response to the recent financial crisis should rest on the basics of innovations, relationship management, and prioritising projects. Business decisions should incorporate socio-political considerations in order to regain public trust. This follows consumer calls for ‘green growth’ and an increase in legal and regulatory obligations for managing corporate social contracts. For more information see news.mk.co.kr

Day of the minnowND


Patrick Butler, The Guardian, 15 October 2008

Triodos, Europe’s largest social bank, demonstrates that investment in CSR may minimise the effects of the current financial crisis on the banking industry. Banks should realign corporate values with public expectations and incorporate environmentally and socially sustainable policies into organisational practices. For more information see www.guardian.co.uk.

Global financial woes may impact corporate social responsibility in ChinaND


China CSR, 14 October 2008

The recent financial crisis may see businesses in China reduce parts of their CSR budgets. However budgets for supply chain and manufacturing type initiatives are expected to remain as companies are expected to maintain ethical operational standards. The authors of this article also expec that CSR initiatives will be seen by domestic Chinese businesses as a means to resonate and strategically communicate their mission to the West, and will continue to be adopted despite the economic downturn. For more information see www.chinacsr.com

Unethical companies suffer in the long runND


Sophia Grene, Financial Times, 12 October 2008

A company’s share price is negatively affected by bad publicity on environmental and social issues. Companies require more information on the relevant sustainability issues in order to decrease reputational risk. One example is HSBC Global Markets’ climate change research facilitation program, which allows managers to research climate change issues. For more information see www.ft.com

Corporate citizenship meets financial meltdown: threat or opportunity?ND


Brad Googins, Boston College Centre for Corporate Citizenship, 8 October 2008

Brad Googins, director of the Boston College Centre for Corporate Citizenship, discusses the new form of capitalism that is to emerge from the global financial crisis. Future markets must seek to eliminate current laissez faire attitudes without stifling innovation. Active leadership is required to deliver corporate responsibility values in business and recognise their potential contribution to social sustainability. For more information see www.bcccc.net

‘Dramatic’ rise in number of companies measuring staff wellbeingND


Sian Harrington and David Woods, HR Magazine, 8 October 2008

Employers are increasingly publicising their commitment to employees’ health and wellbeing. Many current initiatives do not to reach all parts of the organisation, addressing only those employees who are already fit or interested in health and wellbeing issues. These problems may be addressed with simple performance indicators. For more information see www.hrmagazine.co.uk

Opinion: Putting your money on thinking for the futureND


Bjorn Stigson, Financial Times, 8 October 2008

The current financial crisis can be attributed to prevailing unsustainable business models. In order to regain public trust, the finance industry must embrace the new business values of environmental sustainability and delivering social value. Global businesses have the capacity to deliver positive actions on the key concerns of the climate, resources and energy, and innovation. For more information see www.ft.com

Sustainability: Who leads? Who knows how to?ND


Tony Pearson and Isabel Rimanoczy, The CRO, 1 October 2008

Leadership training develops the new skills and mindsets necessary for managing an organisation’s cultural shift towards sustainable practices. CSR leadership development programs should emphasise organisation wide engagement, practical skills, spreading lessons learned and measuring results. For more information see www.thecro.com

Chinese firms’ attitudes toward CSR changingND


Shanghai Daily, 29 September 2008

Following recent changes in the regulatory environment, foreign companies such as KPMG are leading in establishing sound CSR strategies in China. New CSR guidelines by the Ministry of Commerce and clauses in Chinese Company Law are aimed at international investors who may apply their global experience to shape domestic CSR standards. Engaging CSR activities help to develop good government relations. For more information see www.shanghaidaily.com

Rivals Microsoft and Google take top honours in AsiaND


Chris Prystay, Wall Street Journal, 26 September 2008

Google and Microsoft are among the most admired multinationals, wining the top award for Innovation and Top Overall Company respectively in the 2008 Wall Street Journal Asia Reader Survey. These results reflect that consumers in the emerging Asian and Chinese markets highly value technological innovation. Future investments must be directed towards the emerging Internet market, innovation and product localisation. For more information see www.wsj.com

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