The Australian logging company Gunns is reviewing its corporate sponsorships as it struggles to deal with a dramatic slump in sales of woodchips to Japanese customers. In an interview, the company's new chief executive, Greg L'Estrange, flagged that the company would be cutting back its sponsorships. "We haven't finished our discussions but certainly you would say our appetite for some of these areas has diminished. Life is a two-way street.
Corporate Social Responsibility
J. Scott Trubey reports that documents, obtained under Georgia's freedom of information laws, revealed that Fleishman-Hillard (F-H) had been hired by Georgia Lottery to sell the concept of the state's first casino to legislators, business leaders and the public. Underground Atlanta, a shopping complex, was mentioned as a possible site for the introduction of a casino.
The Australian alcohol industry is taking a leaf from the tobacco industry and has promised to voluntarily devote ten percent of its advertising space to promoting web sites that discourage binge drinking, particularly among youth.
"The world's best-known oil companies are pouring on the charm as they get ready this week to parade another round of fat profits before a public that is feeling suddenly poorer. The spotlight will shine on Exxon on Thursday and Chevron on Friday. Such advertising makes sense after a summer with oil at nearly $150 a barrel and a fall likely to bring renewed scrutiny of their investments and tax breaks.
"The ultimate selling proposition might just be saving the planet," said International Advertising Association (IAA) executive director Michael Lee.
The Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) is alarmed about the extent of corporate greenwashing. The authority's chief executive, Frank Goodman, explained, "You are not allowed to say your product is good for the environment unless you can prove this.
"We do not want children to smoke," British American Tobacco (BAT) declares on its website. But the company that describes itself as the "world's most international tobacco group" routinely violates its own voluntary international marketing and advertising standards, according to a July 1, 2008 BBC-TV This World investigation.
Over the next week, campaigners from around the United Kingdom will converge on the site of a proposed expansion of the coal-fired Kingsnorth Power Station and participate in civil disobedience protests. The company behind the proposal, E.ON UK, a subsidiary of the German energy company E.ON, is so worried by the prospect of the planned civil disobedience campaign that it has hired the PR firm Edelman, to see if it can help ensure that the company's proposal retains government support.
A recent investigation by BBC Television showed British American Tobacco (BAT) violating its own voluntary marketing and advertising codes in Malawi, Mauritius and Nigeria. Contrary to BAT's public pronouncements that it doesn't want children to smoke, the company was caught using marketing tactics in these countries that are known to appeal to young people, like advertising and selling single cigarettes, and sponsoring non-age-restricted, product branded musical entertainment.
As trading has become more global and corporations have become more multinational, countries started discovering that they have little recourse to rein in the harmful behavior of corporations. As public clamor to regulate multinationals has grown, companies have increasingly responded by adopting "voluntary codes of conduct." But what are the real purposes for these codes? Are they just window dressing, or worse?