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the Big Blog Company | Yes, but what does it all mean exactly?
“Who yer callin' a sparrow, you schmuck?!”
The bird on the back.
September 17 2004
Yes, but what does it all mean exactly?
David Carr • Bloglaw 
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It seems that the term ‘Corporate Responsibility’ is not just a fashionable buzzword. Some people are taking it very seriously indeed:

With the issue of reputation becoming more of a fixture for corporate Australia, law firm Holding Redlich is Australia’s first to set up a corporate social responsibility (CSR) service.

The firm says the service will help companies adopt practices that meet the demands of regulators, industry bodies and stakeholders, and comply with the array of international principles around CSR.

These principles include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, conventions and recommendations of the International Labor Organisation, the Stockholm and Rio Environment Declarations, the Kyoto Protocol and the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

May I just say that I do not envy the task of the person or persons who have taken on the task of wading through that lot!

But having taken on this Herculean task, I assume that they will seek an appropriate reward and just such an reward will most likely come from some large commercial organisation whose bosses have decided that it is not all about profits but also about being nice to people and doing lots of warm, fuzzy things for the environment.

I am sure that such organisations do exist and, without wishing to cast any doubt upon their sincerity, I think it is reasonable to assume that, if they go to the trouble of acting on all these injunctions for the perceived common good, then they will want people to know about it. Especially their customers. In other words, there is no getting away from the ‘public relations’ element here.

And this is where the best laid plans of mice and men (and lawyers) ‘gang aft a gley’ because regardless of all the best intentions both said organisation and their august legal-eagles in the shape of Messrs Holden Redlich, all their good works are still conducted behind the closed doors of corporation-land. A company may well be putting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into effect but what does actually mean in practice? How does it work? Who benefits and why?

You see, as far as the general public is concerned, all these grand-sounding organisations and declarations are still shrouded in a fog of mystery and gobbledegook and their implementation will, at best, only ever be sporadically and flickeringly illuminated by the occasional and instantly forgettable press release.

The organisation would be far better served not just by implementing these ideas but by talking about them and, more importantly, talking to their customers about them. They could talk about the International Labour Organisation and why it matters. Or the Kyoto Protocol and what is being done in response.  The best PR is the truth.

None of which is to say that I am attempting to steal the bread from my fellow lawyers mouths. Heaven forfend! No, the lawyers have an important role to play in this process too. Let’s face it all lawyers have something of an image problem but the best way to mitigate against that (as well as summon the fancy of new potential clients) is to talk about what they do and why they do it and why their clients should be doing it as well.

The arduous task of implementing big ideas is something of a waste if no-one knows about it. So let them know. Get blogging.

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