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August 12th, 2015
Indiens Regierung fordert millionenschweren Schadenersatz von Nestlé

Nach dem Skandal um mutmaßlich bedenkliche Maggi-Nudeln in Indien fordert die dortige Regierung Schadenersatz in Millionenhöhe vom Schweizer Lebensmittelriesen Nestlé. Ein Vertreter des Verbraucherschutzministeriums sagte der Nachrichtenagentur AFP am Mittwoch, die Regierung habe wegen "unfairer Handelspraktiken" ein Verfahren bei der zuständigen Nationalen Kommission zur Beilegung von Verbraucherstreitigkeiten eingeleitet.

July 2nd, 2015
Wirtschaftliche Potentiale, soziale Probleme und staatliche Regulierungen: CSR in Indien heute

Das riesige Land Indien erstreckt sich mit über einer Milliarde Einwohnern über viele Klimazonen. Es umfasst hunderte Sprachen und Kulturen mit vielen Religionen und einer mehrere Tausend Jahre alten Geschichte. Seit seiner politischen Unabhängigkeit im Jahr 1947 ist das Land die größte Demokratie der Welt. Im Gegensatz zu seinem nördlichen Konkurrenten China ist Indien noch immer ein schlafender Riese, obwohl das Land im Jahr 2016 nach Schätzungen die am stärksten wachsende Volkswirtschaft der Welt sein soll. Doch die wirtschaftlichen Potenziale des Landes sind ebenso gigantisch wie die sozialen Probleme, deren Lösung aussteht.

September 19th, 2014
Delivering Tomorrow: Deutsche Post DHL präsentiert Stakeholder-Management-Studie

Für den nachhaltigen Unternehmenserfolg ist eine „ganzheitliche Unternehmensführung erforderlich, die per se auf den Dialog mit relevanten Anspruchsgruppen setzt“. Diese Ansicht vertrat der Direktor Konzernkommunikation und Unternehmensverantwortung von Deutsche Post DHL, Prof. Christof Ehrhart, am Mittwoch bei der Vorstellung einer Studie zum Stakeholder-Management an der Universität St.Gallen.

June 6th, 2014
Bribery: Ethical Failure and Competitive Failure

Last week saw the sentencing of Nazir Karigar to 3 years in jail, under Canada’s Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act. This week, the RCMP have charged two Americans and one British businessman, demonstrating the force’s willingness to extend its reach to non-Canadians in its efforts to combat corruption. The three, all working with one […]

May 28th, 2014
Nazir Karigar’s prison sentence shows Canada is finally taking steps on foreign bribery

Canadian businessman Nazir Karigar is going to jail. This a small but important victory for citizens of developing nations across the globe. Karigar’s been sentenced to do three years in prison for his role in a conspiracy (dating back to 2005) that tried — but failed — to land a $100-million contract to provide security […]

May 22nd, 2014
HV bei der Deutschen Bank: „Wir wollen eine anständige Bank sein“

Das Ergebnis ist mager, der Ärger ist groß. Heute müssen sich Vorstand und Aufsichtsrat der Deutschen Bank ihren Aktionären stellen. Die dürfen unter anderem abstimmen über weiterhin hohe Bonifikationen und mehrere Anträge auf Nichtentlastung des Vorstands. Aber auch außerhalb des eigenen Aktionärskreises wird die Bank mit zahlreichen Problemen konfrontiert.

April 16th, 2014
Don Bosco expandiert in Indien: Berufliche Bildung im Kampf gegen Armut

Genug menschenwürdige Arbeitsplätze für junge Menschen zu schaffen, stellt eine der größten Herausforderungen weltweit dar. Noch immer versperren Armut und der fehlende Zugang zu Bildung Millionen jungen Menschen in Indien den Weg zu einem zukunftsfähigen Arbeitsplatz. Wenngleich sich der Schulbesuch im Land mit der größten Jugendpopulation weltweit in den letzten Jahren entscheidend verbessert hat, so ist trotz aller Anstrengungen die Umsetzung des Rechts auf Bildung über den Status der Grundschulbildung nicht weit hinausgekommen. Hört das Recht auf Bildung nach der Grundschule auf?

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 12th, 2014
Kleiner indischer Stamm siegt gegen Bergbaukonzern

Neu Delhi (afp) - Im jahrzehntelangen Streit um die Ausbeutung eines Bauxit-Vorkommens im Osten Indiens hat sich ein kleiner Stamm gegen den britischen Bergbaukonzern Vedanta durchgesetzt. Das Umweltministerium habe die Pläne zur Förderung des Rohstoffs endgültig gestoppt, berichteten örtliche Medien am Samstag. Die

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

December 18th, 2013
Singapur will südasiatische Arbeitsmigranten ausweisen

Singapur (afp) - Nach schweren Unruhen Anfang Dezember will Singapur dutzende beteiligte Arbeitsmigranten aus Südasien ausweisen. Es sollten 52 Arbeiter aus Indien sowie einer aus Bangladesch ausgewiesen werden, teilte die Polizei des südostasiatischen Stadtstaats am Dienstag mit. 28 weitere würden wegen der Beteiligung

November 28th, 2013
Fairtrade-Siegel für indischen Markt

Bangalore (csr-news) - Für das auf dem indischen Markt neu eingeführte Fairtrade-Siegel wird sich vor allem eine wachsende Mittelschicht interessieren. Fairtrade India will mit der Platzierung des Siegels auf dem heimischen Markt die Position indischer Fairtrade-Kleinbauern und -Plantagenarbeiter stärken und in der lokalen

April 1st, 2013
Grundsatzurteil zugunsten von günstigen Generika-Arzneien in Indien

In einem richtungsweisenden Urteil hat der Oberste Gerichtshof von Indien eine Patentklage des Schweizer Pharmakonzerns Novartis auf ein Krebsmedikament zurückgewiesen. Damit verteidigten die Richter am Montag nach Ansicht von Menschenrechtsaktivisten den Zugang von Millionen Menschen vor allem in Entwicklungsländern zu günstigen Nachahmermedikamenten (Generika). Novartis dagegen sprach von einem innovationsfeindlichen Urteil.

April 1st, 2013
Why India’s Novartis ruling is good for innovation

Today’s news that the Indian supreme court has effectively denied the Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company Novartis the patent protection for its ‘new’ blood cancer drug Glivec (Gleevec in North America) has been discussed controversially i...

February 11th, 2013
CSR-Tag auf der Internationalen Tourismusbörse

Berlin (csr-news) > Auch in diesem Jahr wird im Rahmen der Internationalen Tourismus-Börse in Berlin ein CSR-Tag veranstaltet. Am 7. März werden aktuelle Strategien, Best-Practice-Beispiele und Marktpotenziale eines nachhaltigen Tourismus behandelt. Dabei geht es zum Beispiel um Begegnungen bei Urlaubsreisen, Konflikte um die

August 6th, 2012
Die nachhaltigste Olympiade aller Zeiten? Eine Zwischenbilanz. (Textfassung)

Rund zehn Millionen Zuschauer in den Stadien und vier Milliarden weitere vor ihren Fernsehgeräten verfolgten die Eröffnung der Olympischen Spiele in London. Das Sportereignis soll aber nicht nur neue Zuschauerrekorde aufstellen, sondern die Veranstalter wollen zugleich die grünsten und nachhaltigsten Olympischen Spiele aller Zeiten schaffen. Darauf zielte ein 2005 vom WWF und dem Londoner Think Tank BioRegional vorgestellter Entwurf mit dem Titel „Towards a One Planet Olympics“. Die Gedanken dieses Entwurfs flossen erst in die Bewerbung und dann in die Vorbereitungen der Spiele ein. Wie „grün“ und wie „nachhaltig“ sind ist London 2012 tatsächlich? Der WWF und Bioregional haben Bilanz gezogen und stellen fest: Vieles wurde erreicht, manches Ziel bisher verfehlt. Und kritische NGOs wenden ein, dass die Olympiade von nicht nachhaltigen Großkonzernen gesponsert werde.

June 27th, 2012
Toward Rio: Global Compact Launches Local Network Report 2011

(New York) – The Global Compact Local Network Report 2011 was released today, in advance of the Annual Local Networks Forum (ALNF) to be held during the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum in Rio de Janeiro (15-18 June). The Annual Report features an overview of 2011

April 23rd, 2012
Secretary-General Appoints New Global Compact Board Members, Strengthens Focus on Business Engagement

(New York) – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed 14 new members to the Global Compact Board, the UN’s highest-level advisory body involving business, civil society, labour and employers organizations. The following individuals were newly appointed to serve a three-year term: Mr. Jorge Abrahao, President, Ethos

March 29th, 2012
Nigerian Economic Summit Group Reaffirms Commitment to Ethical Business Practices

(Abuja) – The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), in conjunction with the United Nations Global Compact and the Siemens Integrity Initiative, today held a National Stakeholders Workshop to address corruption at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja. The workshop, titled “Openness & Transparency: A

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