A well placed source tells Greenwasher that Gordon Brown, the grumpy micro-manager would-be technocrat at the helm of Britain, is not a fan of corporate social responsibility, preferring development goals instead

Someone familiar with the matter tells Greenwasher that:

1) Gordon Brown is to make a big announcement about business and the Millennium Development Goals in early May (5-6 is rumoured). But no-one in business or the NGO community seems to know much about it yet.

2) Brown hates the idea of CSR. Apparently he thinks it’s outdated and business ethics focus should all be about overseas development. He apparently plans to ask big business to do much more on the MDGs later in the year.

3) The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is being re-organised and the business related department with a vague sustainability brief is being shut down.

4) CSR or whatever is left of it, may be shifted back to what used to the Department of Trade and Industry (now catchily called "The Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform"), but appears to have no home. The 2006 Foreign and Commonwealth Office /Department for International Development CSR strategy is allegedly being canned.

Sources say that the re-organisation of FCO to exclude a specific business sustainability brief seems to be at odds with Brown’s desire to push the Millennium Development Goals, if that’s what he wants (and it fits with his track record).

But taking a reasonable, if never really pushed or marketed, CSR strategy away from the FCO/DFID and putting it back into the domestic business department is an odd move without putting considerable resources behind implementing it.

But that's how it was before. When CSR moved in UK Government in 2006 from what was the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) implementation of the UK's so called CSR strategy was being left to one person who worked part time on it.

It’s not a bad idea to re-invigorate domestic focus, at least in part (anyone seen how much of the UK economy is generated by small business recently?). But only if the interesting work of the internationally minded mandarins on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and Kimberly Process could be borne in mind by the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform, and some kind of unified, non interfering approach could be taken.

But given the rivalry and distrust between most government departments (hands up, chaps, if you hate the Treasury!), and the DTI’s (as it was then) dismal track record on CSR when they had the chance, it might be better off at the FCO/DFID.

There’s just one small problem: who would encourage CSR at the national level?

Oh yes, Greenwasher forgot, that’s the job of the infamous CSR Minister…

Does anyone know who has the job this week and what they are supposed to be doing?

Thought not.

Hit the mark, way off it? Got a comment, tip or even vague insult: Greenwasher@ethicalcorp.com

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