three more make their social reporting debutsJuly 2002
Three FTSE100 companies have entered the ranks of social and environmental reporters with documents covering their operations in 2001.
BAE Systems, Cadbury Schweppes and Orange stress that the work is at an early stage, but commit themselves to regular reporting from now on.
Mobile phone company Orange’s 36-page Social and environment report addresses the health hazards believed to be associated with mobile phones and masts, for which it says there is ‘no conclusive evidence’, and describes measures it has taken to deal with public concerns in the UK.
These include financial support for a government research programme, the creation of a six-strong team to answer questions from community groups, and 45 health surveys carried out during 2001 at the request of residents living near masts.
The report, which is verified by the Environmental Resources Management consultancy, makes a commitment to help its staff ‘reach their full potential’ but gives no statistics on the number of women in management positions. Specific plans and targets in various areas will be published later in a separate CSR ‘statement of intent’.
The 26-page Cadbury Schweppes Corporate and social responsibility report, which is unverified, features colourful cartoons and artwork throughout, but sets few specific targets.
It summarizes the soft drinks and confectionery company’s progress in various areas, such as the creation of a corporate and social responsibility committee that reports to the board, an update of its business principles, and a new global human rights and ethical trading policy that pledges the company to ‘respect the economic, social, cultural, political and civil rights’ of those involved in its operations.
A personal view of the company by the managing director of Cadbury Kenya, Jane Karuku, makes little mention of corporate social responsibility.
Likewise unverified is arms and aerospace company BAE Systems’ Corporate social responsibility review. It makes no mention of the moral issues surrounding arms production, other than to say it is ‘proud’ of the role it plays ‘in contributing to a more secure world’ and ‘providing nations with the means of protecting themselves’.
It admits it faces ‘a significant challenge to fully reflect society’s diversity’ in its workforce, which is 86 per cent male, but does not outline a plan to tackle this.
The company notes a 21 per cent rise in major accident rates in its UK operations, from 57 per 100,000 employees in 2000 to 68.7 in 2001, and says it has formed a group to address the problem.
The 34-page report sets out waste, energy use, and water consumption data which will make it possible to compare its performance over time in future years.
BAE also commits itself to establish a company-wide framework to co-ordinate, monitor and develop corporate social responsibility activities, and to develop indicators to assess its progress in other areas.
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