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Corporate Social Responsibility Rorts

The New Zealand Business Roundtable should be commended for its courage in releasing yet another intellectually rigorous work on the matter that goes to the heart of corporate governance says ACT Commerce spokesman Stephen Franks.

“The book, ‘Misguided Virtue – False Notions of Corporate Social Responsibility’, was launched today. It deserves a correspondingly rigorous response from New Zealand’s policy makers, not cliches.

“Mr Stephen Tindall’s comments on radio this morning sounded sensible - but we all have a stake in not reopening the door to embezzlers hiding behind fine slogans. The most pious sounding rogues have robbed companies and shareholders, while professing good works and noble intentions.

“I spent enough time helping clean up the mess of the 1980s. People involved had often masked their true character with arts patronage and other purportedly virtuous sponsorships.

“I am only too well aware of how empty corporate governance and social responsibility and environmental responsibility reports often are. An experienced company chairman once told me had two classic warning signs of misdirection of shareholder assets. First and most obvious is the corporate jet. The other is a sudden lurch into noble corporate governance statements and professed social responsibility.

That is the problem when managers are allowed to pursue confused or competing objectives. They can block accountability and instead pursue their own enthusiasms and interests with property that is not theirs,” Stephen Franks said.


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