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The menu of corporate (social) responsibility offerings is getting rather heavy: there seems to be a new option on a daily basis. At least items are being provided to suit every taste.

For those who like their CSR information on a thematic basis, I'd recommend the recent PwC report. Partly analytical, partly promotional, it proposes six major trends which will influence CSR responses across industrial sectors geographic regions. One of these trends also triggered my biology-business radar (see my earlier post): the assertion that progress towards sustainability will be influenced by sudden disruptions which foster great change - an echo of the late Steven Jay Gould's hypothesis of punctuated equilibrium.

For those more fond of data, Sustainability Asset Management (in conjunction with PwC) has published its 2006 yearbook. This version is a taster - access to the full report requires purchase. The data was derived from 1200 companies that SAM tracks on a routine basis and assessed against five economic, three environmental and six social criteria. The report flags climate change as one of the issues rising up fast on the corporate and institutional investor agenda.

Single issue palates will prefer the World's Most Sustainable and Ethical Oil Companies 2006. Full access will cost you 5,000 Euros, but the promotional material heralds the movement of some emerging market companies up the rankings: Lukoil recording a 67% improvement it its score and Petrobras moving into second place overall (behind Shell). I can't comment on the methodology (as I haven't paid up) but wouldn't argue with the comment that oil companies are among 'the most transparent businesses around'. That's not always been the case and exceptions remain, but as I recall a spokesperson from one leading oil company saying several years back: 'disclosing information is easy - it's the decision to disclose which is hard'.

And finally for those who like spice, turn to CSR commentator Mallen Baker's website. His review of the Center for Sustainable Innovation's social footprint methodology caused quite a reaction, which he reproduces in full. While corporate responsibility may be characterized as the softer side of business, it doesn't always mean that its practitioners agree with each other.

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