Mallen Baker's CSR blog

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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Ikea and the drive for better cotton

Ikea has announced that it has doubled its use of more sustainable cotton - on course to meet its target for sourcing all its cotton this way by 2015. Ikea used 150,000 tonnes of cotton in 2012 - 0.8% of cotton produced worldwide - so this is a considerable landmark.
Posted on: 6 Feb 2014 - Read full post

Burberry makes quality and sustainability natural bedfellows

I've always believed that the luxury market sectors had the most to gain by paying attention to sustainability. Half of the battle is to get efficiency in performance and cleanliness in manufacture to become one of the true indicators of quality.
Posted on: 30 Jan 2014 - Read full post

Never mind how hard you worked - what did you achieve?

When I review companies' sustainability or CSR reports, I still see a lot of measures that are related to process, not outcome. You know the sort of thing. The company sets itself targets such as 'create a new policy on anti-corruption'. It then reports that this target has been achieved, and gives itself a big tick. Another common one is 'carry out environmental / bribery / whatever training for xx number of staff'. Tick.
Posted on: 24 Jan 2014 - Read full post

Should a web design company have an ethical policy?

I was involved in a brief twitter discussion recently around the idea that a digital agency might create an ethical policy - one which explicitly states what kind of clients the firm will decline to work with.
Posted on: 4 Dec 2013 - Read full post
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The 9 most common mistakes made by CR / sustainability reports

This video is the first in a series of three looking at the main - easily fixable - mistakes made in CR reporting.
Posted on: 28 Oct 2013 - Read full post

Getting your CEO video introduction to inspire and inform

In the last post, I talked about the six reasons why the CEO video introduction to your sustainability report is boring. I promised that I'd put forward some ways you could begin to address those problems.
Posted on: 10 Sep 2013 - Read full post

Six reasons why your CEO video introduction is boring

One of the things we know is essential about any credible sustainability report or website is evidence of top level commitment. Usually this is demonstrated by having the chief executive of the company providing an introduction - written for printed reports, but increasingly video for websites. The one problem with this excellent demonstration of top-level commitment? The CEO talking heads videos on the majority of report sites are just excruciatingly dull.
Posted on: 22 Aug 2013 - Read full post