'Corporate Social Responsibility' Masks Corporate Damage

As the international business elite meet behind high fences in Davos, Switzerland, an international relief organization says corporate claims of good deeds often hide companies' efforts to undermine regulations and to elude responsibility for harm already done. "The image of companies working hard to make the world a better place is too often just that -- a carefully manufactured image," Christian Aid says in its new report, "Behind the mask: the real face of corporate social responsibility." The study targets "the burgeoning industry known as corporate social responsibility -- or CSR -- which is now seen as a vital tool in promoting and improving the public image of some of the world's largest companies and corporations." The report examines campaigns carried out by Shell, British American Tobacco and Coca Cola. "Some of those shouting the loudest about their corporate virtues are also among those inflicting continuing damage on communities where they work -- particularly poor communities," said Andrew Pendleton, senior policy officer at Christian Aid and author of the report.