Corporate Social Responsibility

Chilean Baritone Sings the Praises of British-American Tobacco

Not everyone enjoyed "British-American Tobacco's Socially Responsible Smoke Screen," our article from the last issue of PR Watch that examined BAT's social reporting process. Eugenio Rengifo, a baritone with a Chilean band, emailed us a stinging letter, calling the article a "joke. Do you really believe in what you wrote about this?" But Eugenio the baritone didn't bother to inform us that he was also a PR executive with BAT's Chilean subsidiary.

No

Trust Us, We're Corporations

Integrity and good behavior based on "principles" are more important than rules of corporate governance, according to Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, the chief executive of Swiss-based foods giant Nestle (which recently demonstrated its commitment to "principles" by attempting to sue the famine-stricken nation of Ethiopia).

No

Supreme Court Will Hear Kasky vs Nike On Corporate PR

The US Supreme Court will rule in Nike vs. Kasky whether Nike's statements on the working conditions in its Asian factories are commercial speech and subject to truth-in-advertising laws. Nike appealed a May 2002 California Supreme Court decision that says when a corporation makes "factual representations about its own products or its own operations, it must speak truthfully." Nike says that the First Amendment protects its statements.

No

Will 'Dolphin-Safe' Tuna Really Mean 'Dolphin-Dead'?

"Two former government scientists who
spent years investigating stress in dolphin populations
charged this week that superiors at their federally
financed laboratory shut down their research because it
clashed with policy goals of the Clinton and Bush
administrations. The scientists ... said their research indicated that the practice of chasing and encircling dolphins to catch tuna exposed the
dolphins to dangerous amounts of stress. The accusations, by Dr. Albert Myrick, a wildlife
biologist, and Dr. Sarka Southern, a research associate,

No

BAT Kills Millions, But in a Socially Responsible Manner

Bob Burton and Andy Rowell deconstruct the "social responsibility report" of British American Tobacco, the world's second largest tobacco company, in the latest PR Watch. Among their findings, "BAT's social report disclosed that three of its employees had been killed and 37 involved in serious accidents during 2001, but omitted any estimate of the number of people who had been killed or seriously affected by consuming its products. ...

No

Managing those Pesky Activists

PR Week continues the industry's preoccupation with managing activism with a variety of articles examining the strategies activists use to advance their causes, "the proactive approach to averting protests," and an article on corporate social responsibility titled "CSR: Beyond Lip Service."

No

BP Oil's $200 Million Greenwashing Campaign

The New York Times examines BP/Amoco, the world's second largest oil company, and its $200 million PR and advertising campaign to greenwash its image. It is an "enormous corporate rebranding exercise, shortening its name from British Petroleum to BP, coining the slogan "Beyond Petroleum" and redesigning its corporate insignia. ... in came a green, yellow and white sunburst that seemed to suggest a warm and fuzzy feeling about the earth. ... But ...

No

PR Groups On Wrong Side

"The Public Relations Society of America, the Arthur Page Society, the Institute for PR, the Council of PR Firms and the PA Council are on the wrong side of the Nike 'commercial speech' lawsuit," writes Jack O'Dwyer, publisher of the O'Dwyer's PR trade publications. "Instead of siding with Nike, which refuses to defend the truthfulness of its statements about labor practices abroad (see No Logo for labor conditions in 18 foreign countries), the PR groups should be demanding that accuracy be served.

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