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:

Green leaders: a guide to the world’s greenest companiesND


Karen Attwood, The Independent, 1 June 2007

The Ethical Investment Research Services provides a ranking of the top ten greenest companies based on management systems, waste production, water use, improvements related to climate change, renewable energy use, incidents of environmental damage. It researched almost 3,000 companies to choose the top ten leaders. The top ten global leaders are Vestas Wind Systems, Svenska Cellulosa, ABN-Amro, MTR, Ericsson, Westpac, Kingfisher, Phillips, BT Group, Matsushita (share 10th position), Sanyo (share 10th position), ABB (share 10th position). For more information, see www. independent.co.uk

The impact of technology on the ethics of business (special report)ND


Ethical Corporation, June 2007

Ethical Corporation has released a report on how technology is changing corporate responsibility — including its impact on reporting, supply chain monitoring, consumer interaction and employee engagement. The report also covers how companies are using blogs, online games and e-learning to achieve their CSR objectives. For more information, see www.ethicalcorp.com

The new activist giversND


Richard Morais, Forbes, 1 June 2007

For the past ten years and the decade ahead, about US$1.9 trillion to US$2.6 trillion will be dispensed as philanthropic capital by a new breed of ‘activist’ philanthropists. The ‘Give Now’ movement — which totals approximately 35 per cent of all philanthropic capital — focuses on results, extensive networks, and bottom-up entrepreneurialism. For more information, see www.forbes.com

HSBC boosts green credentials with $100m donation to charitiesND


David Prosser, The Independent, 31 May 2007

HSBC has contributed the largest charitable donation by a British company to its ‘Climate Partnership’ (incorporating Climate Group, the Earthwatch Institute, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and WWF). It has pledged US$100m over the next five years to help some of the world’s biggest cities respond to climate change. The funds will also support the creation of worldwide field research, forest experimentation and environmental protection projects. For more information, see www.independent.co.uk

Unilever’s CEO: Social innovation and sustainability the only game in townND


Tobias Webb, Ethical Corporation, 30 May 2007

CEO of Unilever, Patrick Cescau, suggests that ‘social innovation’ — the creation of new products and services conciliating consumer’s functional needs as well as their values —is not only central to business strategy, but will also be the driver of growth over the next few decades. In particular, Cescau sees the potential of social innovation in emerging economies. For more information, www.ethicalcorp.com

Look who’s talking nowND


Agnes King, Business Review Weekly, 24-30 May 2007

Telstra has been engaging its shareholders and employees using a grassroots campaign, its nowwearetalking blog, to communicate its plans for broadband. The blog uses Web 2.0 technology to produce a more cost-effective public relations campaign. According to Telstra, the blog attracts more than 100, 000 visitors a month, invites feedback from shareholders, customers and critics and acts as a valuable yardstick on public sentiment. For more information, see www.brw.com.au

Singapore plans S$500m Asian development fundND


John Burton, Financial Times, 17 May 2007

The Singapore state investment company, Temasek Holdings, is establishing a S$500m fund (Temasek Trust) in a bid to ‘institutionalise (its) corporate citizen role’ and blunt criticism about its buying of strategic assets. The fund will finance regional development in areas of education, healthcare and disaster relief and promote an improved state regulatory environment in Asia. For more information, see www.ft.com

Extractive sector stakeholder engagement – the big lessons from derailed projectsND


Daniel Litvin, Ethical Corporation, 10 May 2007

Two project failures in the extraction industry in 2006 have highlighted the following lessons: stakeholder pressures are not limited to reputation concerns, the broader context of social and sustainability issues must be considered and standardised corporate responsibility/sustainability responses are inadequate. An integrated and holistic approach that understands the linkages between projects and local sustainability issues, and of stakeholder perceptions and its relationship to core business activity (and vice versa) is needed to not only shape CSR programs but also the way core business is conducted. For more information, see www.ethicalcorp.com

The hired hand can also be a giving oneND


Wall Street Journal, 30 April 2007

Employees — and not company founders or heirs — have been described as a ‘new force in philanthropy’. CEOs who have set up personal foundations are Terry Semel (Yahoo), John Chambers (Cisco Systems) and Eugene Isenberg (Nabors Industries). Having a foundation carries social prestige, helps unite families as members help with foundation governance and may defuse criticism of CEO salaries. For more information, see www.wsj.com

Battling boycottsND


Saleh Alshebil, Abdul A. Rasheed & Hussam Al-Shammari, Wall Street Journal, 29 April 2007

Due to high political and religious tensions internationally, an increasing number of boycotts relate to the company’s country of origin rather than its policies or actions. The framework of response offered in this article is based on two dimensions: brand visibility and boycott intensity. A few suggested strategies are to emphasise connections to the local community, adopt a low profile, counter misinformation with public relations campaigns and engage in charitable acts. For more information, see www.wsj.com

Crisis management for a vindictive ageND


Richard Evans, Financial Times, 24 April 2007

Authors of the book ‘Crisis management for a vindictive age’ argue that high profile corruption scandals have created an anti-corporate atmosphere where ‘the public, media are motivated more by vengeance than (by) justice’. Eric Dezenhall and John Weber claim that business leaders should rarely (if ever) admit guilt and need to counterattack each accusation. Fore more information on the views contained in this book, see www.ft.com

New allies on the AmazonND


Marc Kaufman, Washington Post, 24 April 2007

An unusual partnership between McDonald’s and Greenpeace has resulted in a two-year moratorium on the purchase of any soy from newly deforested areas in the Amazon. This partnership could be an important model for addressing environmental and social problems in the future. For more information, see washingtonpost.com

Web attackND


Michelle Conlin, BusinessWeek, 16 April 2007

Discontented stakeholders are using online media such as fake ads, employee sites, MySpace, blogs and comment rooms to ‘engage in a webified dialectic’. This phenomena has become such an issue for companies that some companies (including Lenovo Group, Southwest Airlines and Dell) have specialists dedicated to engaging their critics. For more information, see www.businessweek.com

MBA toolkit for CSR: corporate communicationsND


Bill Valentino, China CSR, 12 April 2007

William Valentinto, head of Bayer’s corporate communications function in China, discusses the role that corporate communications plays in a company’s activities – especially CSR-related activities. Aligning CSR and corporate communications in the MBA’s toolkit is about forming perceptions through a company’s CSR activities, and translating a company’s business into actions that have a beneficial impact to both society and business. For more information, see www.chinacsr.com

Corporate responsibility a good business strategyND


Wayne Burns and Coral Kee, Business Times (Singapore), 5 April 2007

The Centre for Corporate Affairs offers international best practice learnings on corporate citizenship and establishing a corporate foundation in this article. The foundation should focus on two to three areas of community investment, have clear objectives and a transparent governance structure. The company’s stakeholders should be consulted before the foundation is established. For more information, see www.businesstimes.com.sg

Online communications – Corporate social responsibility 2.0ND


Solitaire Townsend, Ethical Corporation, 5 April 2007

Web 2.0’s potential for corporate social responsibility communications includes setting up a corporate responsibility blog and asking contacts to join in (Ford, Nike and HP all have blogs), building a viral game about corporate responsibility, getting involved in online debates and harnessing staff as advocates. The author suggests that CSR is the only corporate theme with the potential to fully exploit the peer-to-peer world because it has the power to be personal. For more information, see www.ethicalcorp.com

UN Millennium Declaration – At half time, who’s scored the goals?ND


Kate Nicholas, Ethical Corporation, 5 April 2007

Kate Nicholas, associate director and head of communications at World Vision UK, argues that there remains much to be done to achieving targets of the Millennium Development Goals on health and education. July 2007 marks the ‘half-time’ point to 2015 – the target year for poverty to be halved – but the latest UN assessment shows that progress in the Sub-Saharan region is off-track. Goals such as educational inclusion and quality of schooling are issues for companies recruiting employees now and in the future. For more information, see www.ethicalcorp.com

Rising to the challenge?ND


John Elkington, The Guardian, 28 March 2007

The influence environmentalists have had on political debates and business practices is explored in this article. The writer describes four ‘social pressure waves’ that occurred since the 1960s which has resulted in increased regulation and green political agendas. The emerging fourth wave is seen as involving innovative social and environmental entrepreneurship supported by venture capital. For more information, see www.guardian.co.uk

Pollution violators in China are cited by nonprofit groupND


Jane Spencer, Wall Street Journal, 21 March 2007

A not-for-profit organisation, the Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), has launched an online campaign to encourage consumers globally to consider boycotting companies with poor environmental records in China. IPE compiled thousands of government environmental records into a publicly accessible online database as part of this campaign called ‘Green Choice’. Seventy multinationals and nearly 5,000 Chinese companies have been cited on the list. For more information, see www.wsj.com

America’s most admired companiesND


Anne Fisher, Fortune, 19 March 2007

Fortune has published its annual survey of corporate reputations for 2007. General Electric (GE) topped the list for the seventh time in a decade while Starbucks and Toyota ranked second and third respectively. Fortune’s ranking criteria is based on eight areas of leadership: innovation, people management, financial soundness, quality management, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, long-term investment and quality of products/services. For more information, see http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune

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