The CSR Newsletters are a freely-available resource generated as a dynamic complement to the textbook, Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Sustainable Value Creation.

To sign-up to receive the CSR Newsletters regularly during the fall and spring academic semesters, e-mail author David Chandler at

Monday, May 10, 2010

Strategic CSR - Feedback

This will be the last CSR Newsletter of the Spring semester.
Have a great summer and I will see you in the Fall!

I have been producing the CSR Newsletters since January, 2006 and there has been a considerable evolution in terms of style and content, as well as readership.

To coincide with the publication of the second edition of Strategic CSR, I thought it would be useful to solicit some feedback to see how the Newsletters currently add value and how they can be improved.

Below are two straightforward questions that will help me produce Newsletters that are better suited to supporting the book’s content and assisting your work in the classroom (and/or general interest in CSR). There is also space for any general feedback you may have:

1. What do you like about the Newsletters and how do they assist your work in the classroom?

2. What should I change about the Newsletters to make them better?

3. Do you have any additional feedback or thoughts about the Newsletters?

As always, feedback is not limited to this e-mail and you can contact me at any time.

Many thanks for your continued interest in Strategic CSR.

Have a good summer!

Bill Werther & David Chandler
Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Stakeholders in a Global Environment (2e)
© Sage Publications, 2011

The library of CSR Newsletters are archived at:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Strategic CSR - Graffiti

I think the article in the url below is a great example of art with a social activist message:

“Using stencils, water, and scrubbing brushes, British “reverse graffiti” artist Paul Curtis comments on runaway consumerism—and shows us how dirty we really are.”
urtis cleans away patterns on walls covered in dirt and other pollution in ways that make art forms:

“He strips away years of accumulated soot, dust, dirt, and atmospheric detritus to make pieces like these, which were part of a celebration of street art.”

The overall effect is dramatic and, I think, very attractive. The irony in the form that he uses to convey his message is what really adds value, however:

"When Curtis puts his brush down, his commentary has only begun: Within days, the patterns begin to fade as the pollution reclaims its territory, a statement about how hard it is to clean things up and how easy it is to mess them up again.”

Have a good weekend.

Bill Werther & David Chandler
Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility
© Sage Publications, 2006

"Reverse Graffiti" Artist Paul Curtis Shows Us How Dirty We Really Are
Issue: 139
Date: October, 2009
By: Jeff Chu

Strategic CSR - BP

The articles in the two urls below present interesting perspectives on the ecological disaster currently unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. On a negative note (among many negatives in this story), the first article argues that the disaster undermines President Obama’s move to forge a bipartisan coalition in support of the climate change legislation currently working its way through Congress:

“Last month, Mr Obama sacrificed much of his support among environmental groups when he lifted the US ban on new offshore drilling in an attempt to win Republican support for a climate change bill. … Barring the already-declared support of Lindsey Graham, a senator from South Carolina, the move had little effect on a Republican party that sees any attempt to cap carbon as a new tax. The BP spill is likely only to crystallise that divide. But Mr Obama’s decision to lift the moratorium makes it much harder for him to exploit those divisions.”

On a slightly more positive note, the second article suggests the oil spill can help the environmental debate. In short, the pollution in the Gulf is pollution that the public finds harder to ignore because it is “highly visible”:

“Environmentalism began as a response to pollution that everyone could see. … It wasn't that hard, under the circumstances, to mobilize political support for action. The Environmental Protection Agency was founded, the Clean Water Act was enacted, and America began making headway against its most visible environmental problems. Air quality improved: smog alerts in Los Angeles, which used to have more than 100 a year, have become rare. Rivers stopped burning, and some became swimmable again. And Lake Erie has come back to life, in part thanks to a ban on laundry detergents containing phosphates.”

Yet, the author argues that the cost of this success was waning public support for the environmental movement and many of the legislative and regulatory restrictions that were initially introduced:

“For one thing, as visible pollution has diminished, so has public concern over environmental issues. According to a recent Gallup survey, ''Americans are now less worried about a series of environmental problems than at any time in the past 20 years.'' This decline in concern would be fine if visible pollution were all that mattered -- but it isn't, of course. In particular, greenhouse gases pose a greater threat than smog or burning rivers ever did. But it's hard to get the public focused on a form of pollution that's invisible, and whose effects unfold over decades rather than days.”

Nevertheless, at best, this optimistic perspective on a disaster that will likely be America’s worst since the Exxon Valdez in 1989, is only “a small silver lining to a very dark cloud.”

One reaction I have had to the crisis concerns the issue of where ‘blame’ ultimately lies. BP says “It wasn’t our accident” (see BP’s official response at: The firm states that, although it will take responsibility for the clean-up, the rig that sank was owned and operated by its partner, Transocean. As such, BP claims it was Transocean’s systems and procedures that failed, rather than its own. The more I think about this, however, the more I see a parallel with the debate in the CSR community over the responsibility of a firm for its extended supply chain. When an Indian sub-sub-sub-contractor of GAP was found to be employing children in 2007, GAP was dragged over the coals, even though the guilty supplier was several degrees removed from the firm (

“… the vendor that got the Gap order for the children's clothes had employed a rural community center to do the embroidery work but that this entity had subcontracted the work to a Delhi workshop where children were employed. While auditing in factories is relatively straightforward, checking conditions in the informal workshops where hand embroidery is done is harder because large contracts are often divided up among dozens of small workshops.”

If GAP can be held responsible for a transgression committed at such a distance, and given BP’s recent safety issues in Texas (2005) and oil spills in Alaska (2006), what conclusions can we draw about the quality control systems BP has in place for its partner firms that are extracting the oil that it ‘owns’?

Take care

Bill Werther & David Chandler
Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility
© Sage Publications, 2006

From tragedy can come a new direction for US energy
By Edward Luce
743 words
4 May 2010
Financial Times
London Ed1

Drilling, Disaster, Denial
803 words
3 May 2010
The New York Times
Late Edition - Final

Monday, May 3, 2010

Strategic CSR - Newsweek

Last September, Newsweek launched its first “Green Rankings” of the largest U.S. firms:

“For more than a year, the magazine worked with leading environmental researchers KLD Research & Analytics, Trucost, and to rank the 500 largest U.S. companies based on their actual environmental performance, policies, and reputation.”

Given the research support Newsweek assembled to compile the rankings, there is a good chance these data represent a meaningful effort to evaluate actual sustainability performance, rather than greenwash:

“Ranking companies based on sustainability is a huge challenge. That's largely because comparing environmental performance across industries is a bit like analyzing whether Tiger Woods or LeBron James is the world's greatest athlete—there's an inevitable apples-and-oranges element.”

The methodology used to compile the rankings, with three components (a firm’s environmental impact score, its green policies score, and its reputation score) is explained on the Newsweek website ( It will be interesting to see how these rankings evolve and whether they can make more of a mark than the multitude of other attempts to measure firms’ CSR or sustainability profiles.

Take care

Bill Werther & David Chandler
Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility
© Sage Publications, 2006

The Greenest Big Companies in America
By Daniel McGinn
Published Sep 21, 2009
From the magazine issue dated Sep 28, 2009