What’s coming up in our September edition

Here’s a quick summary of what we’ll be publishing in the September edition of Ethical Corporation magazine:

EthicsWatch analysis

Australian prime minister switch
• Kevin Rudd tried to tackle climate change, then was ousted when taking on the mining sector.
• But was he just unpopular?

Peter Davis, politics editor

Wal-Mart in court
• Wal-Mart has spent $1m+ fighting a $7k fine for negligence following an employee being trampled to death in November 2008.
• Why are they doing this?
• Does the charge stick that while Wal-Mart is doing good things with supply chains and with their customers, there is work to do on how they employees are treated by the company.

Jeni Bauser in New York

Protests around the G20 meeting in Toronto
• What’s special about the Black Bloc style protests?
• Are cities beginning to avoid being hosts of G8/G20 meetings?
• Are the protests just anti corporate? Is anti globalistation making a comeback?
• Is this a whole new style of protesting?

Abandoned oil wells
• Are the thousands of old, abandoned and (possibly) leaking oil wells the next potential environmental catastrophe?
• What is the potential scale of the problem?
• Apart from the Gulf of Mexico, how are the oil majors approaching decommissioning in the North Sea?

Low-emission aircraft
• EADS have launched an all-electric aircraft
• Solar powered planes are proving a possibility.
• Algae-powered engines being developed.
• Are we seeing a realistic future for air travel?

CEOs say sustainability more important
• New Accenture survey suggests that top CEOs are taking sustainability more seriously – and that in tough economic times it becomes more important.
• Sustainability is now regarded as a source of cost efficiencies, the report says.
• Consumers still driving the agenda, and 58% of CEOs said they are most important stakeholder.
• What are the report’s key findings, and what are the challenges for CEOs to embed CR/sustainability in their businesses?

Briefing: clean technology

1. Overview
Intro to what green technology can achieve and why it needs to achieve it.

2. How technology is helping companies reduce their resources use
What are the key strategy elements required?
How can technology make business processes more efficient?
Including 2-3 boxed case studies of companies using green tech to cut emissions and costs.

3. Focus on green energy generation
Where is the cutting edge in developing low carbon efficient energy generation?
What are the energy sourcing options for big companies?

4. Focus on green transport
Assuming people and goods have to travel, what are the best options?
What are the latest technological developments?
Electric trucks?
Relative benefits of rail vs road vs air travel.
When can carbon offsetting work (if at all)?

Briefing: Canada

1. Overview/intr
• What is the history of corporate responsibility in Canada?
• How does it differ from elsewhere?

2. The big CR issues
• In which companies and sectors is a corporate responsibility and sustainability agenda most developed?
• Boxed case studies of at least three leading companies.

3. NGO and corporate body viewpoints
• Success of NGOs – international and domestic.
• Which voluntary initiatives are most relevant?
• What is the role of business associations?

4. Analysis of government/politics influence on sustainable business
• How does Canada’s government and legislation affect corporate responsibility?
• What about influence of international authorities?
• Are companies or the authorities more progressive?


BP and how CR has failed

Corporate responsibility is not a nice add-on. It must be embedded throughout a company.
In a crisis, only a company that is demonstrably responsible will be able to function effectively. Responsible business becomes a business continuity issue.
BP stands accused of not operating responsibly and now is getting to the stage its US operations are struggling to function, caught up in trying to stop the leak and clean up the environment, and deal with universal disapproval from government downwards.

• What’s BP’s recent crisis history? Gulf explosion/spill the latest in a catalogue of breaches.
• How has CR, as many companies define it, failed? And how is this a wake-up for companies who felt protected by a comfortable cloak of so-called corporate responsibility?
• What are the risks – exposed by recent events – that companies were ignoring?

Strategy and management

1. CR case study – Conflict diamonds and the rise of the Kimberley Process.

• What is the Kimberley Process? Why was it set up?
• It is held up as an example of success. To what extent is this due to full multistakeholder involvement, including governments?
• What are the lessons from the KP for other initiatives?
• What are the KP’s recent challenges? Will Zimbabwe be let back in?

2. Remuneration related to CR metrics

Some companies are now including CR metrics when setting pay and compensation levels.

 What specifically are the CR metrics that employees are being assessed against?
 Can using CR metrics be affective for everyone? To whom should they be assigned and why? What are the differences for a top executive compared to (eg) a truck driver?
 What are the specific benefits for companies to include these?
 When is incentivising against CR performance good and when not?
 Who are the leaders and what are their views?

Essay, by invitation: David Grayson
The director of the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility at Cranfield School of Management examines how we can move towards sustainable capitalism.


Reports: Arcelor Mittal (Context) + J Sainsbury (Framework:CR)
New books
Academic news



Politics column
Peter Davis on the political implications of BP spill, and why US politicians are conveniently not taking responsibility for America’s continuing reliance on oil.

Paul French’s China column
Mallen Baker
Jon Entine
Peter Knight

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