Weekend CSR Roundup

These are some of the articles and blogs that jumped out at me this week - food for corporate social responsibility thought...

<a href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/bad5c664-548d-11de-a58d-00144feabdc0,dwp_uuid=9b...">It's an ill wind...</a>
-At Unilever, there is no longer even a corporate responsibility budget. “If you’re still approaching this with a traditional central budget that is headed ‘corporate responsibility’, that’s very vulnerable to attack,” says Mr Neath. Prof Grayson agrees. “Businesses that recognise this isn’t about having a project or a programme – it’s about how you run the business – are not going to abandon this.”-

<a href="http://www.multinationalmonitor.org/mm2009/032009/interview-montague.html">Burden of Proof: The Precautionary Principle</a>
-The precautionary principle applies these same ideas more generally. Using the precautionary principle, decision makers can ask whether products or projects are being done in the least-harmful way possible, and they might ask the proponents to reveal who's going to get the benefits and who's going to be saddled with the harm. A side benefit of this approach is that we can assess the fairness of a proposed activity. Conceivably, precaution could lead to a really fundamental question, such as, "Do we need this at all? Does it provide any real benefits to anyone?"-

<a href="http://www.apesphere.com/blog/29/2009/05/30/Has_CSR_become_a_code_word_f...">
How "CSR" became a codeword for "profit trumps ethics"</a>
-If on the other hand the "profit is king" advocates denigrate CSR as a drain on shareholder resources, using that term helps them to avoid being seen to suggest that more ethical paths should routinely come second to maximizing profit. No one wants to be seen to be discussing whether they can afford ethics, but they are happy to debate whether they can afford CSR.-

<a href="http://www.csrdigest.com/2009/05/nigerian-csr-legislation-good-news-or-bad/">Nigerian CSR Legislation: Good News or Bad?</a>
-In actual fact, a recent definition given by the EU states that CSR should consist of “actions that appear to further some social good, beyond the interests of the firm and that which is required by law”, thus supporting the idea that compliance is the lowest form of contribution towards CSR. On the other hand, it could be said that the bill is offering a chance to get the country’s severe infrastructure under greater development. This includes the improvement (and establishment) of education and health systems, the construction of proper roads, and the provision of utilities, such as electricity and gas. Why should it matter that the CSR is only on a level of compliance to begin with, if such good can come from it?-

<a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/organgrinder/2009/jun/08/advertising-luc...">Companies go fishing for a new image</a>
-If the film results in the kind of public outcry about unsustainable fishing the film-makers are aiming for, then supermarkets and food manufacturers are going to have to act fast. By tying up with the film, Waitrose has already proved its credentials to its customers, because there is presumably no way the film-makers would have got into bed with the supermarket chain unless it was squeaky clean. This film is the best bit of CSR I have seen for some time.-

<a href="http://ethicist.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/08/dont-sell-hummer-kill-it/?s...">Don't Sell the Hummer - Scrap It</a>
-Determining what products are too hazardous to market  fen-phen? bite-size toys? Stinger missiles?  should be a matter of public policy, not a series of moral conundrums left to individual companies to resolve. And while it is not the place of government to micromanage a company’s lawful operations, it is appropriate for public officials to promote the general welfare; that’s the rationale for the G.M. bailout. The collapse of G.M. provides an opportunity to reconsider transportation policy, including from a moral perspective. Such an analysis urges not merely discontinuing the Hummer but also significantly reducing our reliance on the private car.-