sábado, 11 de julho de 2009

Ethics and Social Responsibility, a way to fight crisis?

Sustainability and management best practices indexes and reporting
We can identify some enterprises, namely in the paper and forest industry, to use some special kind of Key Indexes or Best Practices Reporting Systems integrated in their annual reporting to stakeholders.
One case is Stora Enso, a Finnish company, which is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) since 2001. This DJSI assesses the economic, environmental and social aspects of some of the world´s largest companies.
Stora Enso has been included also in the FTSE4 Good Index series, since 2001. FTSE4 Good Index series, focus on environmental management, human and labor rights, supply chain labour standards and efforts to counter bribery.
Another wood, pulp and paper supplier, the Swedish Holmen Paper as well as Stora Enso, are also examples of using the Global Research Initiative (GRI), to transparently announce to this stakeholders the commitment to a sustainable and responsible management.
GRI Indicators include Governance, Human Rights, Labour Practices and Decent Work, Corruption and Product Responsibility among other indicators.
But other “recognitions” are also mentioned, as is the case of Stora Enso´s Sustainability Report. Some of them could be applied more specifically to paper and forest products companies, but others seem quite interesting to be followed by other Corporations.
The Ethibel Excellence Index Investment Register, “To select its constituents, Ethibel applies its own screening and evaluation methodologies. The distinctive characteristics of this methodology originate from the integration of the two strongest concepts of corporate social responsibility: sustainable development and stakeholder involvement”[1].
Storebrand is a financial services company in Norway, that establishes the awards “Best in Class” for leading environmental and social performance. Stora Enso is again one of the companies that awarded this recognition.
World´s Most Ethical Companies, is organized by the Ethisphere Institute which created BELA – The Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA) a non governing agency, a proactive, voluntary initiative, self-regulating against corporate fraud, corruption and greed. The 2008 ranking shows Stora Enso together with International Paper Company (US), Precious Wood Group (Swiss) and Svenska Cellulose (Sweden) in the Forestry, Paper and Packaging Industry. In the Banking sector shows HSBC (UK) and Rabobank (Netherlands) among others.
Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations, is announced every year at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. It is a List of the 100 most sustainable companies, evaluated on how effective they manage environmental, social and governance risks and opportunities, relative to their industry peers.
Analysing these initiatives, we can ask what would be the difference in the actual crisis, if all financial institutions also made the same efforts and commitments to be socially responsable? The forest industry cluster is a typical case of an industrial era´s company, in the thinking of Alvin and Heidi Toffler. But is there any constraint to apply these ideas and guidelines to the new generation of business, based on knowledge?
Part of these social responsibilities, lie in the context of the forestry industry, to respect the rights of people that live in and around forests and also take into consideration biodiversity and nature conservation, while in the long range will affect quality and the way of living for all human beings.

References
(1) http://www.sustainability-index.com/ (June 2009)
(2) http://www.ftse.com/ (June 2009)
(3) http://www.globalreporting.org/ (June 2009)
(4) http://www.storaenso.com/media-centre/publications/sustainability-%20report/Pages/sustainabilityreport.aspx (June 2009)
(5) http://ethisphere.com/ (June 2009)
(6) http://www.ethibel.org/subs_e/4_index/sub4_1.html (June 2009)
(7) http://www.investorrelations.umicore.com/en/sustainability/storebrand.htm (June 2009)
(8) http://www.global100.org/ (June 2009)
(9) http://www.sustainability-index.com/ (June 2009)
(10) Tofler, Alvin and Tofler, Heidi, Revolutionary Wealth. How it will be created and how it will change our lives, 2006

[1] http://www.ethibel.org/subs_e/4_index/sub4_1.htm

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