Mallen Baker's CSR blog

Corporate lobbying is legitimate. Corporate bullying is not.

According to Steve Hilton, founder of Good Business and former strategic advisor to British Prime Minister David Cameron, Microsoft threatened Conservative MPs that it would shut down a facility in their constituency if they supported proposals to move government business to open source document standards. Hilton mentioned the heavy-handed threats whilst arguing that the dominance of corporate lobbying in the UK was leading to bad policy-making.
Posted on: 22 May 2015 - Read full post

Actually, no. CSR is not dead. Again.

I've just read yet another article expressing the view that CSR is - or should be - dead. These come along every few months or so, and have done for the last ten years as far as I can recall. I'm never quite sure if the statement is merely intended to shock and gain attention (too often repeated to still be doing that, surely) or if the sentiments are sincere. Mostly, it is a reflection of how much fascination and energy we reserve for debating terminology.
Posted on: 18 May 2015 - Read full post

Reckitt finds that planting trees to offset carbon can lose you friends

You would think that planting trees was the most universally smiled-upon activity a company could undertake. Even if there are people out there who think that carbon-offsetting is a distraction from reducing emissions, nobody actually minds if you plant trees. Do they?
Posted on: 14 May 2015 - Read full post

Stakeholder engagement and why the UK 2015 election suggests you're doing it wrong

You would think that in this era of Facebook and Twitter that we, as individuals, now have such rich access to different perspectives and political persuasions that we would all be better informed on how the world really works.
Posted on: 8 May 2015 - Read full post

Four reasons why successful business needs to be the voice of reason when politics goes tribal

In the UK, the election and its likely muddled aftermath is the news of the moment. In the US, candidates are busily declaring themselves in the race to provide the next president. It's that time when politically committed people get most angry, the discourse gets most polarised, and everyone is encouraged to join in - to pitch their tent on one side or other of the partisan divide.
Posted on: 6 May 2015 - Read full post

BP seeks to regain a progressive role on climate change

At the BP AGM, the company's board supported a resolution calling for greater transparency on the company's responses to the move to a low-carbon economy required by climate change. The rationale for the motion was that it was all about the long-term success of the company. With the support of the board secured, the motion was assured of success, and it passed almost unanimously.
Posted on: 22 Apr 2015 - Read full post

Never knowingly underduped

UK supermarkets are, according to Which? magazine, "duping shoppers" out of hundreds of millions of pounds. The rationale for this conclusion is that some of the sales offers can be "baffling" and may offer "illusory savings."
Posted on: 21 Apr 2015 - Read full post

In search of the socially responsible PR agency

The world’s largest PR firm, Edelman, has ended its relationship with the American Petroleum Institute. Its contract there had – at times – been worth more than 10 percent of the firm’s global revenue, according to the Guardian. The reasons for the move have not been disclosed, and it never pays to jump to conclusions about such things.
Posted on: 20 Feb 2015 - Read full post

Sustainability at the point of sale - is there an app for that?

Mobile technology has already transformed many aspects of how we live, and will do so all the more as the next generation of “digital natives” - those that were pretty much born with a smartphone in their hand - come of age. One of the big changes is that we now expect instant answers. Knowledge is seconds away at all times. Booking services, or buying products likewise. So why not sustainability information?
Posted on: 12 Jan 2015 - Read full post

The fuzzy grey line between censorship and privacy

When Google acceded, albeit with some bits of trickery thrown in, to the Chinese government's demands that search results be censored, many commentators in the company's home market condemned it out of hand for agreeing to such a proposition.
Posted on: 15 May 2014 - Read full post

Creating Shared Value reconsidered

My friend and colleague Toby Webb recently drew attention to some topical contributions about the Shared Value heading often used now by companies and writers when talking about corporate responsibility.
Posted on: 2 May 2014 - Read full post

The decline of oil will not be peaceful and gradual

Oil giant Shell has announced a 45 percent drop in profit as oil production drops - coincidentally at the same time as a court case has started in London brought against the company's pollution in Nigeria. It's an interesting time to ponder what the future holds for your typical oil giant.
Posted on: 30 Apr 2014 - Read full post

GlaxoSmithKline could be the Bribery Act testing ground

Back in 2010, the UK joined the US in having an anti-corruption / bribery act that would hold companies to account for the things they did in countries anywhere in the world. There was quite a bit of noise at the time - and a lot of work done by organisations such as GoodCorporation who regularly featured the legislation in its publications and business lunches. But we were still waiting for the big hit - the company that would feel the full force of the law as a result.
Posted on: 17 Apr 2014 - Read full post

Zero is the most ambitious number

Unilever have announced that all of its European factories have caught up with its plants in North America in achieving zero non-hazardous waste to landfill. That manufacturing operations that demonstrate that this can be achieved helps to raise the bar in terms of ambition for what should become a standard expectation of business process.
Posted on: 15 Apr 2014 - Read full post

The most ethical companies - maybe

The 'World's Most Ethical Companies' list has been produced once again by Ethisphere and promoted by Forbes. I've always been one to look very hard at the methodology of the various lists that get produced, and have often found them considerably less robust than they pretend. But this list is an interesting one as much because of its concept as how it's actually done.
Posted on: 25 Mar 2014 - Read full post
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The big, green testosterone-fuelled machine

There are certain symbols that get environmentalists hot under the collar. One of them is anything to do with flying. But another one - less high profile in terms of its importance, but right up there in terms of its symbolism - is Formula 1 racing.
Posted on: 14 Mar 2014 - Read full post

Can addictive products help you to know your limits?

The gambling industry in the UK has launched a new code of conduct that will require that players of gaming machines will be able to set limits on the amount of time and money they spend. The move has come as a response to the problems some people have with gambling - particularly with high-speed betting terminals that can be highly addictive to some.
Posted on: 3 Mar 2014 - Read full post
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The practical process of integrating sustainability

The most effective companies manage to find a balance between having smart, senior and credible sustainability practitioners to drive change and the reality of shared ownership for the issues across the business. It's easy to say, but tremendously difficult to do.
Posted on: 27 Feb 2014 - Read full post

Google's tax bill shows where power really lies

Apparently, Google doubled the amount of tax that it paid outside of America last year. One might reasonably suppose this to be the consequence of the multiple tax rows about how much it, and other internet companies such as Amazon and Facebook, have been paying in the countries where they do business.
Posted on: 15 Feb 2014 - Read full post

Is pandering to greed the way to encourage better values?

Business in the Community put a spotlight at its recent conference on the idea that senior business executives should have part of their bonuses paid for long-term 'responsible behaviour' not just financial targets.
Posted on: 7 Feb 2014 - Read full post
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