More on Corporate Social Responsibility

Dennis asked me in a recent comment for examples of companies doing stuff with CSR. The FT kindly obliged on friday by publishing an interview with Wayne Murdy, CEO of Newmont Mining and the chairman of the International Council on Mining and Metals. (Hat tip, James)

This point hits home.

For companies, maximising local benefits and reducing poverty is simply a matter of enlightened self-interest.

In the article he notes that mining companies have a responsibility to the countries in which they operate, and he highlights the EITI (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative)  the EITI looks very interesting, as it is a combined effort by “developed countries”, resource rich countries, NGOs and large corporates to address the tragedy that is “poor but resource rich countries”.

The mining companies have realised that a sustainable social fabric is vital. Without that stability, it makes mining investment a tricky business.

As the Shell website puts it.

Oil revenues can transform developing countries by invigorating economic growth and funding social services such as schools and hospitals. But managed badly they can have the opposite effect: stimulating corruption and conflict.

The Shell CEO , Jeroen van der Veer commented

“If we get it right, transparency will create a virtuous circle where improved governance encourages more investment – which in turn leads to improved and sustained economic and social development.”

Also, the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investment looks promising. There is of course, a long way to go. NGO’s such as Global Witness are key in making us aware of the issues, and bringing the unsavory examples to the table.

Shell’s reporting page is more than just window dressing. The modern CEO needs to manage and report on more than just Q1 sales. Those designing software to aid reporting should take note.

It isnt just the mines and the oil companise that take this seriously. I have just been over on HP’s site. Check out HP’s position on global warming. This is more than just some attempt to sell pc’s to green types.  HP also publish a GRI report  This diagram is from the report

So Dennis, there are lots of companies investing serious executive time and shareholders’ money into CSR efforts. It makes good business sense to invest in broader societal issues, because without a functioning broader society, you have no business.

My little browse this evening. (There is zip on German TV tonight1) lead me to the opendemocracy website. I’ll be reading more about the sustainable development and capitalism debate, and I may have to add this to my reading list.

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2 thoughts on “More on Corporate Social Responsibility

  1. Actually I´m not sure, if Newmont is the best example for sustainable development. In my blog I write about this company and everyday Newmont knows how to surprise me again. The newspaper from Peru, Ghana or even the states publish nearly daily articles about problems with comunities, enviroment etc. in which Newmont is involved. And transparency? In Peru security staff of Newmont or Police (up to now it´s not sure) killed a NO violent protester by shots. But even knowing this, they wrote a press release talking about a hearth attack as the reason for the death. Honesty – not at all, and this is just one of many examples.

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