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The Corporate Responsibility Code Book

Published 12-09-03

Submitted by Greenleaf Publishing

To place an order for this title at a discount of 10%, or to view the book's Foreword, Introduction and Executive Summary online, please visit the Greenleaf website at:

THERE IS NO SINGLE code or standard, no panacea that will lead to corporate responsibility (CR). Yet, now, more than ever before, corporations are waking up to the fact that they must adopt codes and implement standards to satisfy the growing demands of an ever-wider and ever-less-trustful spectrum of stakeholders. So, where do companies start?

Information overload is nowhere more apparent than in the field of CR. There are millions of pages and web pages written on codes and standards, but most of it is spin: organisations punting to sell their code or standard. The reality is that CR is an emerging field, a new terrain for which maps are much needed, but often imprecise. Each company is different, each with its own challenges, corporate culture, unique set of stakeholders, and management systems. Corporate responsibility is a journey for which, today, there is no single map but a multitude of codes and standards that can be combined in new ways for different journeys. In her many lectures around the world, CSR consultant Deborah Leipziger has been asked the same question over and over again: "What are the best standards for companies seeking to be socially responsible?" Over the course of more than a decade, she has analysed hundreds of codes of conduct and standards to answer that question. This indispensable resource is the result.

"The Corporate Responsibility Code Book" is a guide for companies trying to understand the landscape of corporate responsibility and searching for their own, unique route towards satisfying diverse stakeholders. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. A company may face quite different challenges if it operates in more than part of the world. And yet stakeholders, especially consumers and investors, are keen for some degree of comparability with which they can evaluate corporate performance. There are countervailing forces at work within corporate responsibility: on the one hand is the need for convergence in order to simplify the large numbers of codes and standards; and, on the other hand, the need to foster diversity and innovation.

Many of the best codes of conduct and standards are not well known while some CR instruments that are well disseminated are not terribly effective. Some comprehensive codes of conduct achieve nothing, while other quite vague codes of conduct become well embedded into the organisation and foster innovation and change. The book explains some of the best CR instruments available, and distils their most valuable elements.

The goal of the book is to help companies select, develop and implement social and environmental codes of conduct. It demonstrates how the world's leading companies are implementing global codes of conduct, including the United Nations Global Compact, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, Social Accountability 8000 (SA 8000) and AccountAbility 1000(AA 1000). The codes in this book cover a wide range of issues, including human rights, labour rights, environmental management, corruption and corporate governance. The book also includes how-to (or process) codes focusing on reporting, stakeholder engagement and assurance.

This book is based on interviews with the standard-setters, the implementers of standards, academics, activists and other key stakeholders from around the world; and in many cases includes the full text of the code profiled. Each of the standards and codes described has been shared with the promulgators of the instrument to ensure that the information is as up to date as possible.

"The Corporate Responsibility Code Book" will be an invaluable tool for companies developing their own code, but will also be a key tool for companies with a strong track record in CR, seeking to understand the interrelationships among codes and standards to create their own corporate vision. It will be the key reference text on corporate codes of conduct for many years to come.


"In this intelligent and comprehensive analysis of today's bewildering variety of codes and standards intended to enhance the practice of corporate responsibility, Deborah Leipziger has provided an invaluable practical guide which will be useful not only to the corporate world, but to all concerned with this issue."
Sir Geoffrey Chandler, Founder Chair, Amnesty International UK Business Group 1991-2001, and former Director of Shell International

"It's a confusing world out there for anyone interested in corporate responsibility - with codes, standards, guidelines, principles and declarations all tumbling over each other, clamouring for attention. Deborah Leipziger's book will steer you through this tumult of new initiatives, providing both the baseline information about what's going on as well as some invaluable 'quality control'. This is confusion-busting guidance at its best."
Jonathon Porritt, Forum for the Future

"This is a mammoth piece of work that fills the need for a comprehensive analysis of the array of corporate responsibility-related standards out there. I am sure companies and others who operate within this complex field will find it very useful."
Deborah Smith, EQ Management Ltd

"I speak as a 'godparent' for several voluntary codes. They are a crucial element in emerging governance patterns. But I am also uneasy about the current code-mania. There will be a shake-out. Deborah's timely guide spotlights likely survivors."
John Elkington, Chair, SustainAbility; author, "Cannibals with Forks"

"This excellent review provides more clarity and greater understanding for all interested parties about the current state of play in codes of conduct. This book will serve not only businesses but also readers interested in better grasping the current debate about codes of conduct, their effectiveness and credibility."
Dominique Be, European Commission

"A much-needed guide covering everything from individual corporate codes of conduct, through the various standards applicable to different industries, to the measurement indicators of the Global Reporting Initiative."
Mark Moody-Stuart, Chairman, Anglo American plc; former Chairman, Royal Dutch/Shell Group

" 'The Corporate Responsibility Code Book' will become the key reference guide for executives and boards of directors seeking to become socially responsible. An antidote to prevent corporate scandals, this book provides clear guidance to companies on corporate governance, human rights, labour, environment and sustainability. Ms Leipziger has written a book which fosters convergence between the many codes and standards in the field of social responsibility. Every executive should have it close to hand."
Alice Tepper Marlin, President and CEO, Social Accountability International

" 'The Corporate Responsibility Code Book' promises to make a contribution to rectifying one of the most vexing problems facing business and its stakeholders: bringing order, understanding and value to the complex landscape of principles, norms, standards and guidelines."
Allen L. White, Co-Founder and Special Advisor, Global Reporting Initiative; Vice President, Tellus Institute

"This book is timely, as the debate has progressed from the 'Why should we report on these issues?' to the 'How should we?' ... The task Deborah has undertaken is extremely valuable ... she has a deep understanding of the practical challenges of corporate responsibility reporting as well as far-reaching experience in the development of codes and standards that are appropriate to the companies concerned. This is crucial to her analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of current standards."
Keith Jones, Chief Executive, Morley Fund Management

"A well-written and powerful book for anybody who is serious about corporate social responsibility. Deborah Leipziger has succeeded in presenting a comprehensive guide that will enable a company to bring its efforts up to standard in a way that suits its business and ambitions."
Arco ten Klooster, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Sustainability Solutions, the Netherlands

"Looking at corporate responsibility and sustainable behaviour, a common understanding has emerged: the business of business is more than just business. Together with a highly developed market-driven approach, this has given businesses an institutional role in society parallel to public institutions and civil-society organisations. In order not only to meet the obligations of this role but also to benefit from them, companies need well-established corporate governance systems and maximum transparency. 'The Corporate Responsibility Code Book' offers not only excellent tools in the field but also challenging perspectives on ways ahead consolidating the thousands of codes and guidelines."
Jens Erik Lund, Operational Director, OECD LEED Trento Centre; formerly inaugural director of The Copenhagen Centre

"Codes of conduct are just a tool; how you use them is what really matters. This book will help you determine the right approach for your company and how to roll out a program that brings results."
Amy Hall, Manager, Social Accountability, Eileen Fisher, Inc.

"Companies wanting to embrace the tenets of corporate responsibility more deeply into their business model and behaviours are faced with a bewildering array of codes, standards and guidelines. transparency. 'The Corporate Responsibility Code Book' provides a timely review of what's out there and how to decide what is most relevant and helpful. The starting point, though, for each company is to be clear about their own values and core purpose and then to use the codes as a stimulus for thinking and as benchmarks to judge their own performance and track progress. Without this starting point companies will be rudderless in a sea of conflicting demands and expectations."
Mark Wade, Shell Learning - Leadership Development

"In the corporate codes of conduct jungle a route map is a must. 'The Corporate Responsibility Code Book' is exactly that, clarifying the issues and charting a path to good corporate citizenship."
Neil Kearney, General Secretary, International Garment, Textile and Leather Workers' Federation (ITGLWF)


Keith Jones, Chief Executive, Morley Fund Management


Executive summary of corporate responsibility initiatives

1 Values, principles, codes and standards

Part 1: Global initiatives

2 The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

3 The Global Sullivan Principles of Corporate Social Responsibility

4 The UN Global Compact
including the Millennium Development Goals

Part 2: Human rights

5 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

6 The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights

7 The Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other
Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights

Part 3: Labour rights

8 International Labour Organisation: Tripartite Declaration of Principles
Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy

9 Social Accountability 8000

10 Fair Labor Association: Workplace Code of Conduct

11 Ethical Trading Initiative: Base Code

12 Clean Clothes Campaign: Model Code

13 Other major initiatives in the clothing industry

Part 4: From environment to sustainability
including the Business Charter for Sustainable Development
and the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme

14 The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development

15 The CERES Principles

16 The Natural Step

Part 5: Combating corruption

17 The OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in
International Business Transactions

18 The Business Principles for Countering Bribery

Part 6: Corporate governance
including the King Report II: Code of Corporate Practices and Conduct
and the Commonwealth Corporate Governance Principles

19 The OECD Principles of Corporate Governance

Part 7: Company codes of conduct

20 Shell's Business Principles

21 Johnson & Johnson's 'Credo'

Part 8: Framework, sectoral and regional agreements

22 Framework agreements
including the Agreement between NOPEF/ICEM and Statoil

23 Sectoral and regional agreements
including Statement on Responsible Care
and MSC Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Fishing

Part 9: Implementation

24 AccountAbility 1000 Framework

25 AccountAbility 1000 Assurance Standard

26 The Global Reporting Initiative

27 ISO 14001

28 The 'Sustainability: Integrated Guidelines for Management' (SIGMA)

Part 10: Visions for the future

29 An emerging consensus


You can also request a review copy or inspection copy from this site - see the home page:

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