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Jem Bendell
Adjunct Associate Professor,
Griffith Business School, Australia

Founder, Lifeworth, Switzerland

Jonathan Cohen |
Principal, Stakeholder Consulting;
Author, Business Watch*

Tipping Frames: The Lifeworth Review of 2006
[ PDF: 2585kb | 54 pages ]

Appendices available in all PDF versions.

World Review
April - June 2006

Trials and tribulations Sometimes complex issues are more easily understood in the negative-what they are not. Non-profit or non-governmental, for example. When considering the phrase 'corporate social responsibility' (CSR), the inverse, or corporate social irresponsibility, helps illuminate its meaning. This is particularly true in relation to what the history books may call the 9/11 of CSR: Enron. In May 2006, a jury of eight women and four men in Houston, Texas, did what all of the regulators, investors, analysts, banks, boards, legal advisors and market checks and balances could not-concretely convict Enron's leaders of historic failures and human losses. Enron's emblematic emasculation embodied the turn-of-the-century corporation gone bad, and catapulted the field of CSR onto the popular culture radar of North America. Read full article

Pragmatic rights? The weaknesses of CSR governance that led to the collapse of Enron and the advent of Sarbanes-Oxley legislation in the US has implications for the challenges of CSR governance at the global level. The primary global dialogue and reference point for business and human rights concerns the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on the Issue of Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises (SRSG). The Interim Report issued in February 2006 by the SRSG, Harvard University Professor of International Affairs and former UN Assistant Secretary-General John Ruggie, provoked a flurry of reactions and stakeholder engagement. Read full article

Not banking on corruption In what may be a hoped-for multilateral race to the top, the World Bank declared a new, comprehensive, 'long-term' anti-corruption strategy in April 2006 to leverage loans and technical assistance to developing countries and through partnerships with stakeholders.30 The Bank has identified corruption as among the greatest obstacles to economic and social development by limiting opportunities, creating inefficiencies and impeding the delivery of services, for example; and World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz reportedly sees corruption as his signature issue.31 Previously, individual loans were suspended in response to allegations of corruption in countries such as India, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan; however, Wolfowitz has acknowledged such a case-by-case approach 'by itself doesn't deliver effective results for the poor'.32 To do so, 'the Bank will continue to work closely with Civil Society to provide checks and balances and promote accountability in their governments'.33 Read full article

A tightening web? If access to the internet superhighway was the first generation of the digital divide between the global North and South, and access to content via high-speed connection is the second, then impediments to the dissemination of content, whether through government censorship or corporate pay-for-play demands that result in different levels of access, is the third generation (3G) of the divide. Read full article

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