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:

Building the web 2.0 enterpriseND


McKinsey Quarterly, July 2008

A 2008 McKinsey survey found that companies are increasingly adopting web 2.0 technologies into broader business practice. The new technologies are transforming how companies organise and manage themselves internally, as well as their methods of interaction with external customers, suppliers and experts. Conversely, unresponsive corporate cultures, resistant business leaders and the failure to see the potential financial returns are the main obstacles in realising web 2.0’s benefits. For more information see www.mckinseyquarterly.com

GRI looks to supply chain transparencyND


The CRO, 24 July 2008

The GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) Action Network for Transparency in the Supply Chain will encourage suppliers of multinational firms to disclose their sustainability track record. GRI’s members — including a network of governments, NGOs, universities and foundations — are to nominate suppliers to undergo a GRI-certified training that will improve their sustainability and transparency. For more information see www.thecro.com

Three ways to prove sustainability’s relevance in tough timesND


The CRO, 24 July 2008

Corporate Responsibility Officers can increase a company’s competitive advantage during tough economic times by ‘pruning, planting and preserving’. These involve assisting cost cutting measures by identifying new sustainable initiatives; capitalising on marketplace opportunities such as the development of ‘green’ products and services that are currently growing in demand, and providing continued value and risk management support. For more information see www.thecro.com

Crisis plans: Take control with speed and compassionND


PR News, 23 July 2008

Responsibility, leadership and compassion are the key elements of a successful crisis plan. This involves maintaining communications between the employees, management, the public relations and legal departments; the constant monitoring of news and being responsive to new developments; adherence to a crisis communication plan; and establishing a crisis team to disseminate accurate, informative and timely information. These proactive steps will ensure a company retains control of the message should an unavoidable crisis unfold.

Education initiatives and CSR strategiesND


Maria Lim-Ayuyao, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 19 July 2008

Comments from the 2008 Asia Pacific Corporate Social Responsibility conference highlight that companies are turning to education related CSR programs. Education is a complex issue, and successful programs must be carefully planned to produce genuine results — as demonstrated by the Hongkong Shanghai Banking Corp’s successful Read-With-Me initiative, which set reading diagnostics and learning goals based on the standards set by the local Department of Education. For more information see www.media.inquirer.net

Corporate social irresponsibilityND


Business Week, 8 July 2008

US companies’ philanthropic donations have decreased within the last 25 years. This article suggests that organisations wishing to become good corporate citizens should commit a set percentage (a minimum of 1%) of pre-tax resources to CSR initiatives. Some large companies donate as much as 5% of their pre-tax earnings to CSR programs. For more information see www.businessweek.com

Shift in climate for responsible companiesND


Financial Times 8 July 2008

BITC (Business in the Community), which provides CSR strategies for companies, proposes a new ‘talent challenge’ agenda for businesses to improve their competitiveness. A ‘talent map’ identifies untapped pools of potential workers, and provides the education, employment and training required for their work placement. BITC will also target private equity firms and small to medium firms to develop more socially responsible policies. For more information see www.ft.com

Why companies and campaigners collaborate ND


Financial Times 8 July 2008

Despite having their own separate constitutions and interests, collaboration between campaigners and businesses can be mutually beneficial. NGOs can provide companies with intelligence, credibility and improve employee morale. Businesses can provide monetary, skills and personnel support for NGOs. Their collaboration enables both parties to overcome a common disenchantment over the ability of governments to co-operate across national boarders. For more information see www.ft.com

The business case for more sustainabilityND


Financial Times, 3 July 2008

Sustainable business practices not only promise to reduce a company’s carbon footprint but may also cut operating costs and improve efficiency. Large companies such as Google and General Electric are able to gain competitive advantage by being proactive and responding to consumer demand. However, most executives still perceive sustainable business investment as counterproductive to the business bottom line and are unwilling to implement what is seen as overly idealistic proposals. For more information see www.ft.com

Australia unveils CSR planND


Ethical Performance, July 2008

The Australian government will fund a project on expanding responsible business practices based on the key sustainability and climate change concerns raised at the 2020 Summit in April 2008. The project will seek to draw in small and medium size businesses, facilitate information sharing between companies on CSR best practices and include changes to the Annual Corporate Responsibility Index. The project will be managed by the St James Ethics Centre and is expected to become self-funding and continue beyond the initial three years proposed. For more information see www.ethicalperformance.com

CSR Awards launched to encourage transparency for stakeholdersND


The Jakarta Post, 27 June 2008

The National Sustainability Reporting Awards 2008, held by the Indonesian Institute of Management Accountants (IAMI) and the National Centre for Sustainability Reporting (NCSSR), is a new initiative seeking to promote transparency in CSR reporting. The awards will assess companies’ CSR reports and commitments based on the guidelines set by the Global Reporting Initiative. The initiative is an opportunity to promote good corporate governance practices, an issue made more salient following the enactment of the 2007 Companies Act, which stipulates CSR directives for business in Indonesia. For more information see www.thejakartapost.com

Engagement through social responsibility at IBM, PfizerND


Mark Schoeff, Workforce Management, 23 June 2008

Company sanctioned employee volunteer programs are an effective way to enhance social responsibility, develop human resources and connect with the local community. IBM India’s On Demand Community program matches service opportunities with employee skills, allowing them to personally contribute in areas such as education and technology skills mentoring. Likewise, programs such as IBM’s Corporate Service Corps and Pfizer’s Global Health Fellows Program sends employees abroad in developing countries to work with local organisations on development needs. For more information see www.workforce.com

Get in the business of being greenND


HR Magazine, June 2008

The corporate sustainability movement sees more companies investing in environmental programs in the US. Environmentally responsible workplaces attract younger workers and improve worker retention. HR professionals can support company sustainability strategies by providing training, education, and rewarding employee eco-friendly behaviours. For more information see www.shrm.org

Philippines: Philippines, Indonesia are only models for CSRND


Thai News Service, 20 June 2008

Initial findings from the ASEAN Foundation indicate that the Philippines and Indonesia have the most developed business CSR programs among the ASEAN member countries. The ASEAN foundation will conduct a study measuring the contributions of CSR programs for growth and provide recommendations to assist successful implementation of programs for countries within the region. Leading companies also emphasise that their CSR commitments exceed mere financial investment, but also less measurable investments such as kind services and employee involvement. For more information see www.einnews.com/thailand

Marriage of mission and best practicesND


The CRO, June 2008

A successful corporate social engagement model requires a customised program that reflects the missions, values, and long-term goals of an organisation. Effective programs should also be holistically integrated, embrace diverse perspectives within the organisation, and involve participation by management. For more information see www.thecro.com

Doing their partND


Bao Wanxian, China Business Weekly, 9 June 2008

China is becoming part of the Cargill’s global citizenship network. Cargill China’s 2008 World Earth Day campaign launched a series of environmental protection activities in 24 major cities across the country. The programs not only demonstrate Cargill’s commitment to environmental CSR, but also their acknowledgement of the Chinese government’s concerns over energy conservation and emissions. The activities, which necessitated cooperation with the local governments and citizens, also provided an opportunity for Cargill to build relationships with its local communities. For more information see www.chinadaily.com.cn

Oil and gas industry renews commitment to do CSRND


Benget Besalkico, The Jakarta Post, 4 June 2008

Discussions from the Indonesian Petroleum Association’s (IPA) Convention and Exhibition stress that community development projects allow businesses to become legitimate members of the society. International petrol conglomerates such a s Chevron, ExxonMobil and BP recognise that while developed countries value rights, ethics and regulation related CSR, programs that address the main necessities of life such as health, education and infrastructure are more salient in developing countries. For more information see www.thejakartapost.com

Future supply chains will need extensive collaboration: report ND


GreenBiz, 29 May 2008

The ‘Future Supply Chain 2016’ report calls for companies to reassess the environmental impact of their supply chain operations. External factors such as resource scarcity, urbanisation and sustainability regulations highlight a need to reform the transportation methods used by urban retailers. Improved operation methods would reduce the carbon footprint and costs for companies. For more information see www.greenbiz.com

Scepticism grows over claims on ethicsND


Financial Times, 27 May 2008

While consumers are increasingly favouring ‘ethical’ brands, there is growing public scepticism on the level of ethical credibility by companies. This highlights a need for businesses to back up their CSR marketing claims with solid evidence. Changing consumer ethical priorities — concerning health, environment and fair-trading issues, also hold ramifications for globalised businesses. For more information see www.ft.com

Swapping over to green suppliers is a fair tradeND


Emily Ford, Times Online, 22 May 2008

Companies are increasingly concerned with issues relating to their supply chains; especially human rights, environmental impact and bad governance. Instead of threatening or ‘punishing’ suppliers for not meeting high standards, forward-looking organisations work with their suppliers to help them advance in responsible business practices. For more information see www.timesonline.co.uk

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