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BusinessEnglish

Unit4
CorporateSocialResponsibility

Keytothematerials
Vocabulary

Writing

Forum

Listening

Reading

Exercises

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Business English - Unit 2

CSRcanbesummedupinthreeP's:People,planetandprofit.
A socially responsible company should improve the life conditions of its
workforceandlocalcommunityandbeenvironmentallysustainable,while
stillmakingaprofit.

Doyouthinkthisispossibleorisittooidealistic?
Business English - Unit 2

Listen to Raj Patel's interview


and participate in the forum to
discuss

his ideas

on food and

hunger.

Is ethical banking
feasible?

Read

the

article

on

the

Olympic

games at Beijing, and then do this


exercise. Try not to look at the
original text!

Business English - Unit 2

Assessmenttask
Yourassessmenttaskforthisunitwillconsistofacasestudyin
whichyouwillanalyseaseriesofsituationsinvolvingCSRand
decideonthebestcourseofaction.
Read the scenarios in the following slides and choose ONE
that you find interesting. Decide what is the best solution for
the problem without compromising yourethical andbusiness
interests, and write a brief report outlining your solution and
thereasonstosupportit(aboutthreelongparagraphs).

Business English - Unit 2

Situation1:TheTobaccoCompany
You work for a multinational tobacco company. In spite of the
restrictions on tobacco advertising throughout Europe and the USA
andastrongantismokinglobby,yourcompanycontinuestogrossin
excess of $30 billion every year. You are, of course, aware of all the
argumentsagainstsmoking,butyoualsofirmlybelieveinfreedomof
choice and realise the huge social and financial benefits the
tobaccoindustryhastooffer,particularlyinpoorercountries.

TheWorldHealthOrganisationisproposingtoputasubstantialgreen
tax on cigarettes to offset the $60 billion a year tobacco use costs
societyintermsofmedicalbills,lostincomeandreducedproductivity.
Thisisboundtoaffectyoursalesandmayresultinwidespreadlayoffs
in the Latin American countries where most of your cigarettes are
manufactured.Youunderstand,however,thatamajorpoliticalfigure
in the US has promised to plead your case with the WHO in return
forsponsorshipinhisforthcomingelectioncampaign.
Business English - Unit 2

Situation2:TheChemicalCompany
You work for the chemicals division of an American multinational. A
recent explosionat oneof yourplants inIndia hasresultedinmillions
of tonnes of toxic gases being released into the atmosphere.
Hundreds of local workers employed at the plant were killed in the
accident with thousands more suffering from severe chemical burns.
But, with such high levels of contamination, the threat to the local
communityisevenmoreserious.Overthenextfivetotenyears,the
fatalitiescouldrunintotensofthousands.

Obviously,amassivecleanupprogrammehasalreadybeenputinto
effect,butthereisstillthematterofcompensationforthevictimsand
theirfamiliestobe settled.Althoughyouarewellawareofthescale
of the tragedy, you also have your shareholders to think of. As your
Indian plant was inadequately insured, compensation claims could
bite deep into company funds. You might even have to pull out of
Asia altogether, which would mean thousands of job losses. Your
lawyersinformyouthatthereisaperfectlylegalwayofliquidatinga
largepartofyourassetsandsignificantlyreducingyourliability.
Business English - Unit 2

Situation3:TheSteelCompany
You work for a large steel company in Germany which is currently
planningtosetupanewprocessingplant,andhavebeeninformed
that a suitable site in Portugal has become available at very
reasonable rates. You are also well aware that local labour costs
wouldbe farlower thanin Germany, especiallyasunemploymentin
theregionisextremelyhigh.

Unfortunately, however, the site is one of great scenic beauty and


environmental importance. It is the national habitat of many rare
species of wildlife, which would almost certainly be harmed, if not
totally destroyed, by the building of your plant. You would, in fact,
meetverylittleoppositionifyouwentaheadwithyourplanstobuild,
for job creation is much higher on the agenda of the local
government that conservation. Times are hard, and your firm badly
needs to cut costs wherever it can. But company image may be
affectedbyanyadversepublicityintheGermanpress.
Business English - Unit 2

Situation4:TheFastFoodCompany
YouworkfortheEuropeanDivisionofoneoftheworldsbiggestfast
foodchains.Inrecentmonthsyouhavefoundyourselfthetargetofa
vicious campaign by environmental groups concerning the amount
ofwasteyourcompanygenerates.Infact,yourenvironmentalrecord
is no worse than that of any of your major competitors, but your
international profile makes you easy to attack. Your marketing
departmentisparticularlyconcernedthevastmajorityofbothyour
customersandstaffareteenagersandyoungadultswhotendtobe
the most environmentally aware members of society. Clearly, action
mustbetakenbeforetheprotestsgetoutofhand.
One problem is that the polystyrene containers your company
packagesitsmealsinmaybecheapandinsulatethefoodwell,but
they take thousands of years to biodegrade. Although recyclable,
they are frequently taken away by your customers and discarded
elsewhere. The Environmental Defence Fund or EDF has become so
interestedinyourcasethatthestorylookssometimestohitthenews
standsanydaynow.
Business English - Unit 2

Situation5:TheDrinksCompany
You work for a mineral water company based in France. Chemists
workinginyourresearchlabshaverecentlydiscoveredminutetraces
of benzene in samples routinely taken from your bottles. You now
benzenehasbeenfoundtohavecarcinogenicproperties,butfrankly
the amount of benzene in your mineral water is so minute that it
presentsnohealthhazardwhatsoever.
Nevertheless,ifthestorygetsout,itcouldruinyou,especiallyasyou
havenoideahowthewaterwascontaminatedinthefirstplace.You
could go public and try to limit the damage to your business or you
could keep the whole thing quiet and continue to sell your mineral
wateruntilyouvesortedouttheproblemyourself.

Business English - Unit 2

10

Nowwriteaninternalreportinwhichyou
presentyoursolutiontothesituationand
thereasonstosupportit.Makesure
thatittakesintoaccountthecompany's
corporateandsocialinterests.

Business English - Unit 1

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