Mallen Baker's CSR blog

Urgently for your attention! We have nothing to report

I just received yet another of a long line of email press releases today breathlessly announcing the publication of yet another 'sustainability report.' In spite of the fact that the 'our report has been published' type headline didn't inspire interest, I thought I would delve into the list of 'report highlights' to see what sort of story the company was telling.
Posted on: 12 Aug 2015 - Read full post

Should business leaders speak out more on social issues?

From time to time, business leaders will collectively, or individually, make some kind of public statement on climate change, or another key issue of the day. Often, these statements are aimed at government, to try to urge a greater degree of action. The Guardian newspaper recently announced a debate for its business-sceptic audience to discuss whether this should happen more. It's a good question.
Posted on: 5 Aug 2015 - Read full post

Why demonising fossil fuel companies is wrong

Posted on: 2 Jul 2015 - Read full post
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What do Walmart's woes teach us about the line between charity and self interest?

Posted on: 19 Jun 2015 - Read full post
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Is the GRI's new focus really a positive change in direction?

Posted on: 10 Jun 2015 - Read full post

What price would you put on the oxygen you breathe?

According to a recent report by WWF, the monetary value of the world's oceans is US$24tn. That's the asset value. If you valued the annual 'goods and services' it provides, you come up with a figure of $2.5tn.
Posted on: 8 Jun 2015 - Read full post

Chevron unashamedly puts its interests ahead of the public good by trying to buy a local election

Last year Chevron spent over $3m in advertising for its preferred candidates in the election of the town of Richmond, California. The town is the location for one of the company's major refineries, which in 2012 exploded and sent over 15,000 residents to hospital with various resulting ailments. The election support was for candidates that would be sympathetic to the company and inclined to settle on more amicable terms than might otherwise be expected.
Posted on: 27 May 2015 - Read full post

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
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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
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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
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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