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 wind of changeND

Andrew Cave, Telegraph, 2 March 2008

The British government hopes to reduce business carbon emissions through a three-prong approach — regulation, support, and information. Energy-intensive businesses can receive discounts on National Insurance contributions if they enter Climate Change Agreements. Non-intensive businesses follow the new Carbon Reduction Commitment initiative, a mandatory emissions trading scheme. For more information see

New report on Global Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability CommunicationsND

Center for Corporate Citizenship, February 2008

The report ‘Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Communications: Who’s Listening? Who’s Leading? What Matters Most?’ addresses the importance of transparency as a key indicator of a responsible businesses, the growing expectation for companies to lead on issues instead of just managing risks, and the importance of current and prospective employees and socially responsive investors on impacting a company’s bottom line. For more information see

Telling a compelling storyND

Center for Corporate Citizenship, February 2008

Stories, rather than abstractions make messages memorable according to Chip Heath, author of ‘Made to stick: Why Some ideas Survive and Others Die’. Heath also advices that companies should set goals instead of resolutions by adding publicity and accountability, changing their mental environment and keeping an eye on their social environment. For more information see

Why China will define the future corporate citizenshipND

Christopher C. Pinney, Center for Corporate Citizenship, February 2008

China’s success or failure in corporate citizenship will have enormous implications for the global economy and environment. The national and regional governments are already encouraging corporate citizenship initiatives under the concept of ‘harmonious society’. The introduction of a national company law and a new labour contract law, along with a broad variety of regional business initiatives show that China is determined to make corporate citizenship part of its future. For more information see

Good governance pays better than badND

Kate Burgess, Financial Times, 27 February 2008

Research from the Association of British Insurers shows that well-governed companies achieve better operating performance and share price returns than poorly-governed companies. The study compared returns over a four year period and showed that well-governed companies had share price returns that were 18 per cent higher than poorly-governed companies. For more information, see

Investors still don’t get accountabilityND

Alyson Warhurst, Businessweek, 26 February 2008

A recent survey shows that most fund managers do not factor ESG initiatives into their investment decision. They do though factor proficiency in risk management. The author argues that these are two sides of the same coin, and that investors can have a good idea of a company’s risk management proficiency by looking at sustainability indices like the DJSI and FTSE4Good. A suggestion is also made that companies should explain their ESG initiatives using risk management language. For more information, see

Doing good for doing wellND

Thanh Trung, Saigon Times Weekly, 23 Feb 2008

Foreign companies are adopting more strategic, defined and focused approaches to their CSR programs in overseas countries such as Vietnam. Unilever Vietnam’s Doing Good for Doing Well fund has been helping women through specific projects in health and hygiene since 2004. Likewise, The General Electric Foundation seeks to bridge the gap between company and community through defined scholarship and donation drives. Mascot International Vietnam seeks to improve workplace safety for employees by setting a target of 200 0000 working hours without injury, while Telecoms promises to reach a target of 20 percent energy consumption reduction by 2010. For more information see

The side-effects of doing goodND

The Economist, 23 February 2008

Leading players in the field of global health are concerned that big humanitarian organisations, like the Gates Foundation, are distorting research priorities and keep the best scientists occupied exclusively with their cause. This may also lead to cases of near-monopoly that discourage smaller rivals and competition. For more information see

Guide to health and well-beingND

Sarah Jane North, People Management, 21 February 2008

Employee health and well-being has a direct impact on a business’ productivity, growth, retention and employer brand. Businesses can benefit from proactively monitoring and tackling sickness absence by promoting staff well-being and providing support for employees with health problems. These actions can help reduce the costs associated with working days lost to ill health. For more information, see

The reputation questionND

Jennifer Pellet, Chief Executive, Jan/Feb 2008

Research increasingly supports reputation as a valuable component of a company’s financial prospects. However, companies have mixed results in translating their responsibility efforts into strong reputation. Programs that fit a company’s brand, culture and people are the most effective, if followed with relevant communication to interested stakeholders. For more information, see

It’s not easy being greenND

CJ Prince, Chief Executive, Jan/Feb 2008

The popularity of the green movement has CEOs wondering what their approach should be — and whether this approach will contradict financial prosperity. But environmental and financial sustainability can go hand in hand. First, it’s important to separate hype from reality, and then find the appropriate strategy. For more information, see

Top executives slow to adopt climate change strategyND

John Willman, Financial Times, 19 February 2008

A UK survey found top executives think climate change is a significant issue, but very few of them have a strategy to deal with it. Responses were mixed on the level of understanding of the issue, with much criticism on the government’s climate change education efforts. The top measures already adopted by companies were recycling and the use of recycled products. For more information, see

The age of cyberspace offers aids for givingND

Sarah Murray, Financial Times, 12 February 2008

The web is changing philanthropy by providing a channel of shared information and problem-solving ideas to not-for-profit organisations, as well as providing a new source for fundraising and awareness activities. It also makes it easy for donors to find their desired charity, and track the progress of their contribution. For more information, see

Corporate responsibility is not quite deadND

Michael Skapinker, Financial Times, 11 February 2008

Corporate social responsibility might seem outdated as a term, but not as a premise. However you wish to call it, companies still need political stability, and social welfare to thrive, and it is to their best interest to gain society’s approval. What happens in society defines threats and opportunities, two terms that have always been relevant to a company’s strategic outlooks. For more information, see

A new mindset for corporate sustainabilityND

David Grayson, Zhouying Jin, Mark Lemon, Miguel Angel Rodriguez, Sarah Slaughter, Simon Tay, BT and Cisco, January 2008

The paper advocates that corporate sustainability has to take into account corporations’ obligations not just to investors, but also to the community and the environment. The authors call this approach ‘Shareholder and Social Added Value with Environment restoration’ (S2AVE). They argue that corporate sustainability strategies would lead to innovation for the entire business. The report includes case studies and tools to refer to. To download the paper, see

Suppliers pushed on their green credentialsND

Fiona Harvey, Financial Times, 20 January 2008

Multinationals such as Dell, L’Oréal, Pepsico, Hewlett-Packard and Reckitt-Benckiser have announced they will ask their suppliers to measure and disclose their carbon footprint. This will allow them to compare suppliers amongst peers and work to eliminate practices that waste energy. For more in formation, see

A stitch in time: How companies manage risks to their reputationND

The Economist, 19 January 2008

Why do business leaders embrace CSR? Many of them have had to face the consequences of public embarrassment and lawsuits. Companies have to also consider their suppliers approach to CSR. Many industries have started to collaborate on supply chain inspections. The most striking recent trend in CSR is that companies are agreeing on codes of conduct, in consultation with governments, UN agencies and NGOs. For more information, see

The next question: Does CSR work?ND

The Economist, 19 January 2008

The article claims that CSR is now integrated in companies’ strategy. Nevertheless, executives too often struggle to take CSR decisions. There is a “shared value” for both business and society. A positive connection exists between sustainability and financial performance but CSR indexes remain insufficient to precisely measure this connection. For more information, see

Business scandals teach lesson few in Japan learnND

Jochen Legewie, The Japan Times, 14 January 2008

Scandals and crises have been frequent during 2007. The author discusses the crises of the Japanese food industry due to many scandals about mislabelling products, or selling food after its expiry date. Scandals also touched governments. Companies tend to make the same mistakes despite the long scandals history year after year. For more information, see

Making talent a strategic priorityND

Matthew Guthridge, Asmus B. Komm and Emily Lawson, The McKinsey Quarterly, January 2008

The article argues for companies to see talent management as a business priority requiring the attention of top-level management and substantial resources. Successful talent management calls for senior executive time in developing employee value propositions to attract, motivate and retain talent at all levels, and additional capabilities for HR to develop effective solutions. For more information, see

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