December 2007
Corporate responsibility unmasked


'Corporate Responsibility' is one of the hot business strategies of our time. All the multinationals are at it. Over the last decade an extremely profitable industry has sprung up with the sole aim of helping callous companies mend their ways, spruce up their image, and get those pesky campaigners off their backs. The NI exposes this not-so-subtle strategy to avoid regulation, silence critics, and in many cases continue with the activities that tarnished their image in the first place.








2 Letters

4 Companies who care?
Should we be persuaded by the clean green claims of big business? Jess Worth thinks not.

8 Spinning out of control

Rebecca Spencer names and shames companies who use Corporate Responsibility to continue business-as-usual.

10 Just donft do it!
Cautionary tales of co-option and compromise from UN-insider Jean Ziegler and anti-sweatshop activist Jeff Ballinger.

12 People versus corporations: a history
400 years of controversy and confrontation.

14 The big debate: reform or revolution?
Jonathon Porritt and Claire Fauset lock horns over how best to save the planet from big business.

17 The facts

18 Small is powerful
What will it take to roll back corporate power? Jess Worth considers the options.


Withdrawal from Iraq
The invasion and occupation of Iraq has been a disaster. But even those opposed to it from the start have to consider how foreign troops can now be withdrawn. Chris Abbot makes five proposals, while Anthony Arnove looks at the conflicted interests of the US Democratic Party and Urvashi Butalia examines the parallels with conflict in northern India.

26 Southern Exposure
Displaced children in Darfur, as seen by Bangladeshi photographer Shehzad Noorani.

27 Currents
Frustration boiling over in Western Sahara; Costa Rica votes for free trade; Palestinian refugees attacked in Lebanon.
PLUS: Seriously on Burma's horrorscopes

30 Mixed Media
Includes documentaries attacking Michael Moore and US evangelicals; music from Mali and France; and fiction from Saudi Arabia.

32 Big Bad World
Cartoonist Polyp on an uninvited guest.
PLUS: NI Prize Crossword

33 Worldbeaters
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, President of the Philippines, has been called 'the fourth most powerful woman in the world'. But she needs the iron hands of her generals.

34 Essay: Bling, Iranian-style
Nasrin Alavi returns to a Teheran under threat from the West.

36 Country Profile: Laos





NI Japan




<This month's translation>

- Companies who care? (NI p4-7)

- Just donft do it! (NI p10-11)

- People versus corporations: a history (NI p12-13)

- Small is powerful (NI p18-20)

- Spinning out of control (NI p8-9)

- Country Profile - Laos (NI p36)

- Currents
Stone in a minefield (Western Sahara) (NI p27)
--- Big Bad World (NI p32)


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