Corporate Social Responsibility

Pharma Buys a Conscience

"The pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries are funneling more and more cash into the pockets of academics who teach and study ethics," observes philosophy professor Carl Elliott, who works at a bioethics center. "Bioethicists have written for years about conflicts of interest in scientific research or patient care yet have paid little attention to the ones that might compromise bioethics itself," he notes, pointing to several cases in which companies like Eli Lilly have used funding to pressure ethicists into censoring or changing their views.


Boise Cascade Partners With World Wide Fund for Nature

Boise Cascade is one of the worst transnational logging companies in the world. Its many scandals include: involvement in false imprisonment of peasant environmentalists who opposed Boise's logging in Mexico; a huge proposed woodchipping scheme in Southern Chile; threats of lawsuits and harassment to environmentalists, including a recent threat to ECO's Cath Wallace; and involvement with the campaign to get the Rainforest Action Network's tax-deductibility status removed. Thanks to the World Wide Fund for Nature, however, the company just got a green makeover.


Slam the Can for Dare to Care a Hoax for Smokes

The Weber Shandwick PR firm created "Slam the Can for Dare to Care," a basketball-themed food drive designed to put a charitable face on the Brown & Williamson tobacco company. "The 16 B&W employees donating the largest number of canned goods during the two-and-a-half week collection period participated in a series of wacky basketball contests at a downtown shopping mall, with the winner receiving two tickets to the NCAA championship games," Shandwick stated in The Holmes Report, a PR industry trade publication. Shandwick declared the program an "unqualified success. ...


Body Shop Picks Ruder Finn For PR

The Body Shop has picked Ruder Finn to promote the company's U.S. store expansion. RF will handle several events and local PR campaigns aimed at increasing awareness and attracting traffic to Body Shop's new locations. In contrast with the Body Shop's animal and environment friendly image, Ruder Finn owns the almost legendary E. Bruce Harrison Company. Harrison is ironically considered "the founder of green PR" because of his work for the pesticide industry in the 1960s when he helped lead the attack on author Rachel Carson and her environmental classic, Silent Spring. E.


Timber Industry's SFI Certification "Greenwashing"

Pacific Lumber Co. announced it had been blessed by the American Forest & Paper Assn's "Sustainable Forestry Initiative" (SFI). Conservationists questioned Pacific Lumber's claims of sustainability, saying it reveals SFI to be little more than greenwashing. "To call Pacific Lumber's ongoing liquidation of ancient forests 'sustainable' exposes the self-serving nature of this program," commented Paul Mason of the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC). The Sustainable Forestry Initiative is the timber industry's program for certifying sustainably managed forests.


Americans Aren't Finding Many Good Corporate Citizens

A majority of Americans consider corporate citizenship when making investment and purchasing decisions, but few companies get good marks, according to a survey sponsored by international PR firm Hill & Knowlton. Corporate philanthropy, a familiar standby for improving a corporation's image, may not always be effective.


Industry's "Environmental Excellence" Award Winners

The 2001 Environmental Excellence Awards, presented by International Paper and The Conservation Fund were presented to William H. Crawford of Frederick, Okla., and Keith Etheridge of East Lansing, Mich. Each award is accompanied by a $10,000 grant from the International Paper Company Foundation.


Monsanto Increases "Dialogue" as Part of Pledge

Monsanto has established an external biotech advisory council as part of its "Monsanto pledge." The chemical and seed company promised in December to "commit to an ongoing dialogue with all interested parties to understand the issues and concerns related to this technology." "The role here is more in terms of listening," said Monsanto spokesman Loren Wassell. "We have an interest in hearing what they say and we want to get a better insight into the issues of what people think." Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, director of the center for international development at Harvard University, and Dr.


Greenwashing on Trial

Does Nike have a First Amendment right to publicly claim that it is a leader in fighting sweatshops -- or is that false advertising? The California Supreme Court may soon decide. In a lawsuit that could have far-reaching implications for corporate "greenwashing" campaigns, environmental activist Marc Kasky has sued Nike Inc., charging that the company's public claims about conditions in its Asian factories amount to false advertising under California's consumer-protection laws.



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