The Council of the European Union (EU) has announced that the Committee of Permanent Representatives has endorsed an agreement between the Hellenic Presidency of the Council and European Parliament representatives on a draft directive for the disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by certain large public interest entities in the EU with over 500 employees. The draft directive would require such companies to disclose, annually, a statement of policies, outcomes and risks relating to environmental, social and employee-related matters including a description of its diversity policy, respect for human rights, anti-corruption and bribery matters. Where the company has not pursued such policies, it must explain why.
Oxfam International (Oxfam) has released its Company Scorecard, which provides Oxfam's first annual assessment of the social and environmental policies of the ten biggest food and beverage companies worldwide since February 2013. According to Oxfam, nine of the ten companies improved their scores with the top three performers being Nestle, Unilever and Coca-Cola, all of which had policies addressing "issues like hunger, poverty, women's rights, land grabs and climate change in their supply chains". General Mills made no improvements in its policies and was ranked last, while Associated British Foods (ABF), Kellogg, Danone, Mars, Mondelez and PepsiCo were all marked as slow improvers in 2013.
Levi Strauss & Co (Levi Strauss) has modified certain parts of its denim jeans production processes so that they use recycled water rather than fresh water.
General Electric (GE) has announced that it has committed to the following as part of its ecomagination initiative to develop "technology solutions that save money and reduce environmental impact for [GE] customers and operations":
Kellogg Company (Kellogg) has announced a global commitment to require all its suppliers to source palm oil that is "environmentally responsible, socially beneficial, and economically viable", by the end of 2015.
United States (US)-based fast food restaurant chain Chick-fil-A Inc (Chick-fil-A) has announced a five-year-long plan to ensure that all chicken served in its restaurants across the US is sourced entirely from poultry raised without antibiotics.
Google Inc (Google) has reached a deal with Eolus Vind AB (Eolus) to finance Eolus's construction of four new wind power plants in Sweden.
The United States (US) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that a subsidiary of the country's second-largest natural gas producer Chesapeake Energy has agreed to restore numerous polluted sites at a cost estimated to reach US$6.5 million, and to pay a record civil penalty of US$3.2 million for breaches of the Clean Water Act.
Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility seem, at first glance, to be two sides of the same coin. Both are voluntary constraints on behavior while in pursuit of profit. Ethics and compliance programs focus on keeping the behavior of individual employees within the law and creating an internal culture of compliance, whereas CSR is concerned with strategic and operational relationships with external stakeholders. The key tool of the Ethics department is the Code of Conduct and its related policies.
The New Zealand (NZ) Commerce Commission has announced that plastic bag manufacturer Eco-Pal Ltd (Eco-Pal) has been fined NZ$60,000 for making misleading claims about the environmental friendliness of one of its product ranges.
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