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Bangladesh


April 18th, 2016
Bilanz von Naturkatastrophen seit 1900: acht Millionen Tote, sieben Billionen Dollar Schaden



Mehr als sieben Billionen US-Dollar wirtschaftlichen Schaden und acht Millionen Tote durch Naturkatastrophen seit Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts: Diese Bilanz hat der Geophysiker James Daniell vom Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT) erstellt. Die von ihm entwickelte Datenbank CATDAT greift auf sozioökonomische Indikatoren zurück und bildet die Grundlage für ein Schadensmodell, das Regierungen und Hilfsorganisationen beim Abschätzen des Ausmaßes einer Katastrophe und dem Katastrophenmanagement unterstützt.

August 20th, 2015
CSR NEWS briefly vom 20. August 2015


Tagesaktuelle Ereignisse und Themen rund um die gesellschaftliche Unternehmensverantwortung:

June 18th, 2015
When is a country too corrupt for Canadians to do business there?


Does a brutal dictatorship in the Horn of Africa, featuring systematic slavery and more generally an awful record of human rights abuse sound like a place you want to do business? If so, Eritrea is the destination for you. The tiny State of Eritrea was the subject of a recent scathing report by the UN’s Office of […]

June 18th, 2015
When is a country too corrupt for Canadians to do business there?


Does a brutal dictatorship in the Horn of Africa, featuring systematic slavery and more generally an awful record of human rights abuse sound like a place you want to do business? If so, Eritrea is the destination for you. The tiny State of Eritrea was the subject of a recent scathing report by the UN’s Office of […]

April 24th, 2015
Zwei Jahre nach Rana Plaza: Textilindustrie in Bangladesch steht international im Fokus



Während in Bangladesch - zwei Jahre nach dem Einsturz einer Textilfabrik mit mehr als 1100 Toten - Überlebende und Angehörige an die Katastrophe erinnerten, betonten Unternehmen und die Regierung in Deutschland ihre Verantwortungsbereitschaft. Rund 2000 Menschen versammelten sich am Freitag in Dhaka an den Ruinen des Fabrikgebäudes und erinnerten mit Fotos an getötete Angehörigen. In Deutschland einigten sich Textilverbände, NGOs und die Regierung auf eine Reform des Textilbündnisses.

February 25th, 2015
Bangladesch: Kontroverse um Textilunternehmen eines Deutschen



Die NGO Femnet wirft einem Textilunternehmen mit deutschem Eigentümer in Bangladesch Verletzungen von Arbeiterrechten vor. BEO Fashion in Dhaka soll 48 Arbeiterinnen nach Beschwerden über Sicherheitsmängel entlassen und einen Gewerkschaftsführer durch bezahlte Schläger verprügelt haben. Das Unternehmen weist die Vorwürfe zurück.

October 10th, 2014
Friedensnobelpreis für Kämpfer gegen Kinderarbeit


Der indische Kinderrechtsaktivist Kailash Satyarthi erhält gemeinsam mit der 17-jährigen pakistanischen Bildungsaktivistin Malala Yousufzai den diesjährigen Friedensnobelpreis. Der 60-Jährige Satyarthi engagiert sich in Indien seit Jahrzehnten gegen Kinderarbeit und für das Recht auf Bildung.

July 3rd, 2014
Nachhaltigkeit in der Bekleidungsindustrie: Auswirkungen auf den Firmenwert



Die Reputationsrisiken in der Textilindustrie sind gewaltig, das haben Primark und Puma in den vergangenen Wochen erneut gezeigt. Ursache der meisten Skandale ist soziales und ökologisches Fehlverhalten in der Lieferkette. Hat das Auswirkungen auf den Wert eines Unternehmens? Die Analysten der Bank Safra J. Sarasin haben die Lieferkette unter diesem Aspekt näher beleuchtet.

June 11th, 2014
Vom ‚talking‘ zum ‚acting‘: Nachhaltigkeit in E-Commerce und Versandhandel



Kaum eine Sparte verändert das Gesicht des Handels so sehr wie der E-Commerce. 350 Versender und 120 Dienstleistungsunternehmen der Branche haben sich im Bundesverband E-Commerce und Versandhandel Deutschland (bevh) organisiert. Der seit 2011 bestehende Arbeitskreis Nachhaltigkeit beim bevh hat im Mai 2014 die „Initiative für Nachhaltigkeit“ initiiert. „Wir wollen gerade kleinere und mittlere Unternehmen für dieses Thema gewinnen, mobilisieren und unterstützen“, sagt Louis Lang, Director bei Recarbon Deutschland, der den Arbeitskreis leitet.

May 2nd, 2014
Brandschutzabkommen in Bangladesch: Bisher 200 Fabriken inspiziert



Mit dem „Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh“ bringen die unterzeichnenden Textilkonzerne Transparenz in ihre Lieferketten. Und „Transparenz hilft dazu, dass bekannt wird, wo die Probleme liegen“, so Gisela Burckhardt, Vorsitzende von Femnet und Mitwirkende in der Kampagne für saubere Kleidung. Auf der Accord-Website können inzwischen die ersten Ergebnisse von Fabrikinspektionen nachgelesen werden.

May 2nd, 2014
Bangladesch – Feldversuch der modernen Zivilgesellschaft?



Der westliche Textilhandel steht seit Beginn der frühen neunziger Jahre im Fokus von zunehmend aktiv werdenden Nichtregierungsorganisationen, die die wachsenden politischen Teilhabe- und Gestaltungswillen von Teilen der Zivilgesellschaft verkörpern. Als eine der Branchen, welche die Vorzüge der Globalisierung durch internationalen Handel bereits sehr frühzeitig erkannte und für sich nutzbar machte, manifestierten sich hier die ersten ethisch begründeten Konflikte aus dem sich abzeichnenden Spagat zwischen einer Produktion in Entwicklungsländern und dem Absatz der dort produzierten Bekleidung in den heimischen Märkten.

April 30th, 2014
Nachhaltigkeit in der Bekleidungsindustrie – Herausforderung Lieferkette



Mode und Nachhaltigkeit sind nicht zwingend zwei Seiten derselben Medaille. Auf der Fashion Summit vergangene Woche in Kopenhagen hat die Branche dieses Thema diskutiert und Probleme eingeräumt. Eine der größten Schwierigkeiten besteht in der Kontrolle der globalen Lieferketten. Zu diesem Ergebnis kommt auch eine Untersuchung der Schweizer Ratingagentur inrate, die sich die Frage stellt: Wo sind die positiven Ergebnisse der jahrelangen CSR-Bemühungen?

April 24th, 2014
Ein Jahr nach der Rana Plaza-Katastrophe: Opfer warten auf Entschädigung



Auf den Tag genau vor einem Jahr verloren über 1.100 Textilarbeiterinnen beim Einsturz des Fabrikkomplexes Rana Plaza in Dhaka, Bangladesch, ihre Leben. Den Jahrestag nutzen NGOs und Politiker, um an das Schicksal der Opfer zu erinnern – und die westlichen Textilhandelsketten für zögerliche Hilfezahlungen zu kritisieren.

February 27th, 2014
Sometimes safety regulations hurt the poor more than they help them


Sometimes regulations aimed at helping the poor end up hurting them. That doesn’t mean we should eschew regulation, but it does imply reason for caution. Housing provides one example. The Portland Tribune recently carried an interesting piece on the way that building codes and other regulations keep the price of housing high, and reduce the […]

February 3rd, 2014
MARKS & SPENCER cooperates with CSR Company International



CSR Company International takes the lead in implementing MARKS & SPENCER’s Sustainability Management Framework Project. ISO 26000 is their tool of choice to achieve the goals for sustainable supply chain management as set in Plan A.

January 23rd, 2014
The Public Eye Awards 2014: Gap und Gazprom erhalten den Schmähpreis



Mehr als 280.000 Menschen haben diesmal beim Public Eye Award abgestimmt, dann stand der Finalist fest. Der Preis, der von Greenpeace Schweiz und der Erklärung von Bern (EvB) für rücksichtsloses Geschäftsgebaren auf Kosten von Mensch und Umwelt vergeben wird, geht in diesem Jahr, mit großem Vorsprung, an den Ölkonzern Gazprom. Den gleichzeitig vergebenen Jury-Preis erhält der US-Textilgigant Gap, der sich laut Begründung wirksamen Reformen in der Textilindustrie in den Weg stellt.

January 2nd, 2014
Top 10 corporate responsibility stories of 2013


Plus ça change in corporate responsibility. If nothing else, 2013 provided ample evidence that, contrary to popular belief, corporate responsibility issues, even the huge stories that dominate the media, do not exactly come out of nowhere. So many of the top CR stories of the year, like the Rana Plaza disaster, Apple's tax problems, and JP Morgan's huge fine, were already prefaced by the big stories of the previous year. Among our top 10 of 2012 were a Bangladesh factory fire, corporate tax avoidance, criticism of tech companies, and prosecutions in the financial sector. So the writing was already on the wall for most of the big stories of 2013. It would appear, as Ethical Corporation editor Toby Webb said recently, that with all the excitement about new opportunities and win-wins, companies are underestimating the importance of sound ethical risk management in the corporate responsibility equation. So, if you want to know what CR risks lie ahead for 2014, you could do worse than checking through our list of the big stories of 2013.

1. Rana Plaza building collapse
Back in April 2013, more than 1100 people, mostly garment workers, died when the Rana Plaza building collapsed near Dhaka in Bangladesh. It was probably the single worst garment factory disaster yet, in an industry that has suffered more than its fair share of needless fatalities. But Bangladesh had already seen a series of major industrial accidents leading up to Rana Plaza, which had been met with little tangible response from business and government leaders. Rana Plaza looks to have at last changed that. The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, signed by nearly 100 global retailers, as well as labour unions and NGOs is a legally binding agreement to ensure worker safety through independent factory inspections, mandatory repairs, financial support, and sanctions for noncompliance. More than 2m vulnerable Bangladeshi garment workers are already covered by the Accord. A competing agreement, signed by Walmart, Gap, Target and other North American companies was criticized for having weaker enforcement and failing to involve labor unions. Nonetheless, both pacts are evidence that factory safety in Bangladesh is finally getting the concerted attention it deserves.

2. Apple's tax avoidance
Corporate tax avoidance had been a growing story in the UK and elsewhere prior to 2013, as evidenced by our top stories listing of 2012. But the issue exploded onto the public consciousness when Apple's CEO Tim Cook was forced to testify to a Senate committee in Washington back in May of this year. The company had avoided paying literally billions of dollars in tax by exploiting various loopholes in international tax treaties and funnelling its European profits through a shell company in Ireland. All completely legal, of course, but hardly what the public expects of a good corporate citizen. Now that attention to corporate tax avoidance has gone global, and with inequality and government debt the two biggest global risks today, the obvious questions are which country will be next in taking aim and which company will be in the firing line? Corporate tax reform is also undoubtedly going to loom even larger in the coming year.

3. NSA spying
Without doubt, Edward Snowden's whistleblowing on the US National Security Agency's (NSA) mass surveillance programs was the story of 2013. Nothing else even got close. However, the corporate responsibility dimensions still remain somewhat murky, which is why it doesn't quite make it to the top of our list. We do know, however, that telecoms companies like Verizon are required to hand over all call records  (or "metadata") to the NSA about cell phone calls made in the US. We also know that none of these companies ever sought to challenge the legality of the action. Another revelation was that the secret PRISM spying program allows the NSA to tap into the servers of internet companies like Google and Microsoft to access customer data. We also know that NSA pays millions of dollars to these same companies. We do not yet know exactly how complicit tech companies have been in the whole mess but one thing for sure is that they now realize that the NSA spying story is undermining their customers' trust and are calling for government reform. Expect much more to come in 2014.

4. JP Morgan's $13bn misconduct settlement
Our annual list of major corporate responsibility stories would not be complete without an entry from the finance industry. As we predicted at the beginning of the year, 2013 was marked by the return of government and some major financial sector scalps. None of these was bigger than the whopping $13bn fine landed on JP Morgan for misleading investors in the same of mortgage backed securities in the lead-up to the financial crisis. To date, it is the settlement ever between the US government and a corporation, and will come as some (though probably not enough) relief to those who have viewed most of the finance sector giants as getting away with the crisis relatively unscathed. On the other hand, JP Morgan is probably pretty sore about catching the flack for misconduct that was less about their own practices and more down to firms like Bear Stearns that they were encouraged by the US government to acquire at the height of the meltdown. No one comes out of this looking good.

5. Europe's horse meat scandal
At the beginning of the year, the big news was all about horse meat turning up in products it wasn't supposed to be in. Like those clearly labelled as "beef". The scandal started in the UK, quickly spread to a suspect supplier in Ireland, and soon rocked much of Europe. Customer trust rapidly evaporated as it became clear that effective oversight of the food industry was sorely lacking. Companies acted quickly to withdraw potentially contaminated products and shore up confidence but further revelations of large scale criminal activity in the food supply chain will do little to restore trust in a thoroughly compromised industry.

6. India's new CSR law
The world's largest democracy now has the world's most extensive CSR legislation. But that is not necessarily a good thing. Under the new Companies Act, passed by the Indian Parliament in August 2013, large Indian companies must spend at least 2 per cent of their net profits on CSR each year from 2014 onwards. It also requires firms to set up a CSR board committee and institute a CSR policy. The new CSR legislation has met with a mixed reaction, especially as it seems to institutionalize a somewhat backward looking approach to CSR which emphasizes philanthropic giving whilst ignoring the core strategic business of the firm. It will also be incredibly hard to enforce in a country already hamstrung by an overburdened legal system. On the plus side, the legislation does force many of India's laggard companies to finally take some responsibility for the various social problems faced by the country's citizens. For better or worse, CSR is no longer something that can be ignored in India.

7. Chevron's Ecuador pollution case
It has been a big year for Chevron and Ecuador in their long-running, aggressively-fought pollution case. In November, the Ecuadorean high court made its long-awaited appeal decision which upheld the original 2011 judgement requiring Chevron to pay $9bn to compensate for contaminating the rainforest during crude oil extraction over two decades ago. Chevron has never operated in Ecuador but inherited the lawsuit and its toxic legacy when it took over Texaco, the original operator, in 2001. For its part Chevron continues to dispute the legality of the ruling and has refused to pay. The appeal was at least partially successful for Chevron by halving the original $18bn damages bill, but not in overturning the decision. Chevron is now awaiting the outcome of a counter-suit heard last month in the US against the plaintiff's main lawyer, who the company claims engaged in bribery and fraud to secure the conviction. Meanwhile, attempts by the plaintiffs to seize Chevron's assets overseas to pay the fine also had their ups and downs in 2013. For example, Canada first denied them the rights of enforcement in May, only for a judge to overturn the decision on appeal in December. Other actions are underway in Brazil and Argentina. This has fast turned into a test not only of the Ecuadorean legal system, but of the global legal system's appetite to prosecute international legacy corporate responsibility issues.

8. Rosia Montana mining protests 
2013 saw major protests against mining operations all over the world, including Australia, Canada, Columbia, Greece, Niger, Peru, even Tibet. But the biggest of the lot was probably in Romania, which saw a mass protest movement arise in response to plans to mine around the town of Rosia Montana. If approved, it would be Europe's largest gold mine but critics claim that it would inflict untold social, environmental and cultural damage. Mass street protests erupted after the government proposed a new law that would enable the Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (majority owned by the Canadian mining company Gabriel Resources) to finally start operations after years of failing to acquire the necessary environmental permits. At stake here then is not just the proposed mine but the legitimacy of the democratic process, which protesters feel has been fatally undermined by the hastily forced through legislation. As one protester put it: "People today confront a corrupted political class backed up by a corporation and a sold out media; and they ask for an improved democratic process, for adding a participatory democracy dimension to traditional democratic mechanisms."

 9. New UN Global Compact 100 Index
There were several entrants to the new corporate responsibility standards and guidelines category in 2013, with the G4 guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative probably being the most talked about. But September's launch of the Global Compact's new stock market index, the Global Compact 100, for us represented the most significant development. First, as John Entine noted, it offered a welcome new development in a social investing field "hungry for innovation and dogged by ideological correctness". But more than that it showed just how far the UN was willing to push the needle on its voluntary approach to corporate responsibility that heavily prioritizes incentives rather than enforcement. While many are still criticizing the Global Compact for not having sharp enough teeth to weed out laggards and green washers, the new index makes it abundantly clear that the UNGC is moving in a very different direction. Ten years ago it would still have been unthinkable, but the reality is that the UN is no longer just in the business of accords, declarations, and principles but is now also firmly in the finance industry.

10. South Korea's nuclear corruption scandal
GSK's corruption scandal in China may have got most of the headlines, but in our book, the corruption scandal that has engulfed South Korea's nuclear industry this year tops it for potential impact. Two short years after Japan's Fukishima disaster, neighbouring South Korea is also facing a devastating loss of confidence in its nuclear industry which supplies about a third of the country's energy needs. The scandal has centred on a swathe of faked safety certificates that have been issued for critical nuclear reactor parts over the years, and the bribes that have allegedly been paid to look the other way. Most commentators pin the blame on the closed structure of the nuclear industry in South Korea with only a single national operator and close ties between the operator, suppliers and testing companies. The prime minister has likened the industry to the mafia. A number of reactors have been shut down, trust in the industry has plummeted, a national energy shortage is underway, and now some 100 officials have been indicted for their part in the scandal. Corruption that compromises the safety of the nuclear industry is probably about as bad as it gets. And its unclear yet whether South Korea can really turn this one around.

Photo by rijans. Reproduced under Creative Commons licence




November 29th, 2013
Instead of ‘Buy Nothing,’ Why Not Buy for Impact?


For many Americans (and a growing number of Canadians) Friday, November 29th is Black Friday, a day of rock-bottom prices and a chance to buy, buy, buy. But for others, it instead marks a day that has come to be known as Buy Nothing Day, which is supposedly a day to fight against rampant consumerism […]

November 27th, 2013
Living Wages – Existenzsicherung durch faire Löhne



Die wirksamste Form der Armutsbekämpfung sind faire, existenzsichernde Löhne und davon sind viele Beschäftigte vor allem in den Entwicklungsländern weit entfernt. Eine vom Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit veranstaltete Konferenz hat sich mit dem Thema „Living Wages“ beschäftigt. Erste Ergebnisse, H&M-Managerin Helena Helmersson will steigende Löhne in Asien durchsetzen und alle Beteiligten verständigen sich auf eine Absichtserklärung.

November 9th, 2013
Rob Ford should stay




Toronto, that once sleepy capital of Canadian business, ‘New York run by the swiss’, a city widely seen as boring and ugly (esp. compared to its once-competitor Montréal) – has made global news: A crack smoking mayor! Match that, London, New York or Berlin! All the mainstream media here (and globally) are pretty unanimous in their call for Rob Ford’s resignation, or at least for him taking a break.

That in itself is a reason for suspicion. In my business ethics course this week I had a vivid exchange with my students. We were discussing discrimination and how it is unethical to apply criteria such as race, gender, sexual orientation, recreational habits etc. to job qualifications and hiring. On that note, calls for Ford’s resignation are not very convincing. After all, on many accounts, he has done a good job as Toronto’s major. The city’s finances are healthy; public services are running smoothly, key infrastructure projects, such as the construction of new subway lines have finally taken off; and the major successfully tamed the beast of an otherwise dysfunctional federal/provincial/municipal layered bureaucracy to get even more public infrastructure projects off the ground. This alone, in a city whose infrastructure is stuck somewhere in the 1970s, is reasonable ground to consider him a success on his job.


Of course, there were other things in the past, where arguably Ford violated the terms of his job. Toronto Star investigative reporter Daniel Dale – a former student of us - digged out a number of occasions where the mayor took advantage of his role for personal issues. But nothing really stuck.


As much as some have made an ethical case here against the mayor, I do not think these arguments really touch the heart of the controversy.


Two things spring to mind to any reflective observer. First, much of the vitriol directed at Ford in my view is just based on the persistent WASPy (as in White Anglo Saxon Protestant) subculture of North America. Ford likes to use recreational drugs, has all the wrong, politically incorrect friends and, yes, is probably an alcoholic. Mind you, at least it was not about sex. But in some ways his fate resembles the one of Bill Clinton or Elliot Spitzer: Ford does not live up to the public morality and style, which is deemed politically correct in Canada. It is worth noting that consuming crack is not illegal in Canada. And the fact that he admits to it in public and simply continues with his job just infuriates all those who either have succumbed to this pubic consensus of stuffy morality or otherwise suppress it and live it out in private. After all, Canada’s alcohol consumption is twice the global average and him talking about his ‘drunken stupors’ as a regular occurrence probably just represents an average recreational practice in this country.


Little surprise of course, that much of the hunt on Ford – representing the right wing Progressive Conservative Party – is coming from the ‘liberal’ press here. It not only shows how small ‘c’ conservative even Canada’s liberal elites are but also reveals that all those who hated Ford as a mayor to begin with now take whatever moral resource as their disposal to finally finish him off.


This points to a second observation. Rob Ford epitomizes the aches and tensions of a country which has been the most relaxed and forward looking in terms of immigration. His constituency are the ‘905ers’ based on the area code of Toronto’s suburbia. That is also where he is from. These are mostly people with a first generation immigrant background coming from south and east asia. The other lot,  who hate him and are currently fanning the flames of ousting Rob Ford are the ‘416ers’, those who live in the core downtown of Toronto. None of them voted for Ford and they never felt represented by a fat, white, uneducated, loud bloke from the suburbs.


Ford’s approval ratings have soared in the aftermath of him admitting his drug use. This is no surprise. He represents people who struggle to make ends meet; who are sick and tired of commuting to work in a city with the longest commuting time by far; who get little kick out of taxes being spent on things that do not relate to their everyday struggles; and who know from their own experience that fighting your way out of, say, Bangladesh to Brampton (a 905 suburb) – yes – takes determination, hard work and not too much concern for what their then constituency back home thought of them. Rob Ford, the small time entrepreneur, in his stubbornness just represents them.


So what does this amount to? On day one of his election I thought Rob Ford was a disaster. Mostly because I believe in Toronto’s potential as a great global city that deserves a mayor of a different stature and outlook. But at the same time I also believe that a mayor has to represent the city that voted him in. And boy, Rob Ford fits that bill. So rather than trying to get this ugly representation of what Toronto actually looks like out of sight, the real smart reaction to this scandal would be to say that Rob Ford – with all his preposterous faults – is the one that the people of Toronto chose to represent them. So lets allow him to continue to represent us. And if we don’t like what we see - until we can vote him out - maybe we find the courage to address the underlying issues. Rather than killing the poor guy who currently just displays them.
DM
Photo by Eric Parker, reproduced under the Creative Commons license.















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