Office Depot Releases 2011 Corporate Citizenship Report
Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption, Business Ethics and Corporate Culture, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability

Office Supplies and Services company Office Depot has released its 2011 Corporate Citizenship Report (undated), which highlights the companies commitment to business, ethics, diversity, environmental sustainability and community around the world during the 2010 calendar year. Highlights from the Report include:

  • Diversity: The company published its yearly Historically Underutilized Businesses Catalog, which “features more than 1,300 products offered by 30 vendors defined as certified minority-, women-, disabled-, and veteran-owned businesses”;
  • Environment: The company was recognised by Newsweek magazine as the number one greenest large retailer;
  • Ethics: The company conducted compliance training in over 24 countries in 12 different languages, including on its Code of Ethics and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act;
  • Philanthropy: The company, through its National Backpack Program, donated approximately 300,000 backpacks for use by children in communities across the US.

Office Depot’s media release (31 January 2012)
(Source: Office Depot; US Department of Justice)

GM to Pay Almost US$24 Million to Settle Environmental Damage Claim
Health, Safety and Environment

Reuters reports that General Motor Co, successor to the former General Motor Corp, has agreed to pay $23.8 million to settle liability arising out of the damage to the environment caused by the release of hazardous substances in New Jersey, Maryland and Missouri. The US Environmental Protection Agency will reportedly receive US$20.9 million of stock and warrants of General Motor Co, with an additional US$2.89 million to be provided for cleanup work at the sites.
Reuters: Old GM in $23.8 million U.S. environmental settlement (31 January 2012)
(Source: Reuters)

RILA 2012 Retail Sustainability Report
Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability

The Retailers Industry Leaders Association (RILA) has made available the RILA 2012 Retail Sustainability Report (undated), which highlights “sustainability leadership in the retail industry and discusses retail’s environmental, social, and community impacts”, to serve the broader purpose of “framing the critical issues, anticipating future trends, recognizing challenges, and sharing examples of how retailers are responding”. The Report compiles information from the 2011 sustainability reports of 30 RILA member companies.
RILA’s media release (26 January 2012)
(Source: RILA)

Company, Subsidiary Pay Heavily for Clean Air Act Violations
Health, Safety and Environment

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that food processor Columbus Manufacturing Inc and its subsidiary has agreed to pay a penalty of US$685,446 and to spend US$6 million on upgrading its refrigeration system to a safer technology, including the replacement of safety relief valves and components with any traces of corrosion, and the proper labelling of all its piping. The penalties relate to violations of the Clean Air Act as a result of two illegal releases of poisonous gas, including one release that caused the hospitalization of people in the affected community. The first release sent 217 pounds of poisonous gases into the air, while the second one released approximately 200 pounds of anhydrous ammonia.  
DoJ’s media release (31 January 2012)
(Source: DoJ; US Government Printing Office)

Scammers Banned from Marketing, Selling Employment Products, Services
Consumer Protection

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that National Sales Group, I Life Marketing (also doing business as Executive Sales Network and Certified Sales Jobs) and Anthony Newton and Jeremy Cooley have been banned from marketing and selling any employment products and services, pursuant to an order (31 January 2012). According to the FTC, the defendants made false promises of nonexistent sales jobs to financially distressed consumers, and told consumers that they “recruited for Fortune 1000 employers and had a unique ability to get them interviewed and hired”. Additionally, the order imposes a US$13 million judgment that will be suspended once Mr Newton has paid US$279,000, terminated a lease on a 2009 Mercedes-Benz car, and surrendered his interest in a residence in Huntington Beach, California.
FTC’s media release (31 January 2012)
(Source: FTC)