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:

Seeking the sweet spot, where financial and social returns convergeND


Judith Maxwell, The Globe and Mail, 8 September 2008

Companies in Canada are recognising that CSR issues present both risk and reward opportunities for their medium to long-term prospects. Corporate leaders are beginning to strategically assess their environmental, social and government risks based on accurate information systems. Additionally, the capacity of intermediaries that work to converge corporate and community goals should be further developed. For more information see www.theglobeandmail.com

Perfect pitchND


Tony Blackie, BRW, 21 August 2008

Small to medium businesses may influence political decision-making by adhering to a few basic rules. Lobbyists should develop relationships with local MPs, understand the workings of government, and how their issues relate to wider public policy goals. Having a clear message, realistic expectations and viable solutions increase message persuasiveness. Joining industry groups may overcome resource and experience limitations. For more information see www.brw.com.au

Big companies can make it harder for employees to help for greenND


Greenbiz, 19 August 2008

Companies in the US and UK need to do more to support eco-friendly business practices internally. In the UK, employees in small to medium sized firms are more likely to adopt environmentally conscious behaviour such as energy conservation and recycling than in large firms, where similar efforts are felt to be hampered by excessive bureaucracy. US employees often consider that environmental responsibility efforts by their companies are aimed at external publicity rather than a genuine desire to change internally. For more information see www.greenbiz.com

The big fix ND


BRW, 17 August 2008

Experts at the annual Big Issues roundtable discuss the top ten issues facing the Australian economy. Water sustainability, the future of climate change and energy technologies, and education and skills reform were the top three concerns. Other topics on the agenda included labour skills, the environment, transport, productivity, governance, emerging industries and health. For more information see www.brw.com.au

Carbon loadingND


BRW, 14 August 2008

The Australian Federal Government's National Carbon Reduction Scheme will add to the existing accountability and reporting requirements Australian businesses face. New standards will require businesses to monitor and report their carbon emissions by 31 October each year. Those companies with emissions greater than 125 000 tonnes will be required to have their carbon accounts independently verified. Companies will need to strategise for these new requirements in order to avoid excessive disruption and cost. For more information see www.brw.com.au

Global moaningND


BRW, 14 August 2008

Companies are increasingly concerned over the negative effects of online user-generated content on their brand reputation. Fearing that negative blogs are influencing consumers’ purchasing behaviours, companies are beginning to monitor their online reputation, which can be done using free online tools, manual searches, or professional monitoring services for large scale projects. For more information see www.brw.com.au

Suite charityND


BRW, 14 August 2008

A growing trend in corporate philanthropy in Australia is the prescribed private fund (PPF). PPFs allow businesses, families, and individuals to make tax-deductible donations for making grants to tax-exempt charities. Driven by employee demand, new wealth and capacity building, businesses are taking a more strategic hands-on approach to philanthropy rather than simply donating money. For more information see www.brw.com.au

In control of spinND


BRW, 31 July 2008

Good media relations require an understanding of how the media and PR industries work. Companies embarking on media campaigns should first clarify their objectives, form realistic expectations and establish the terms and costs with their PR advisers. The use of targeted media releases, an informative website and setting a point of contact for journalists are all good media relations practices. For more information see www.brw.com.au

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

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