CRIKEY: In response to the performance of BAT, St James Ethics Centre head Simon Longstaff has penned an article
defending corporate responsibility index while arguing it should be
adjusted to take better account of issues like the adverse impact on
tobacco products.

He writes: “If we exclude tobacco companies
from participation in programs like the CRI, then we effectively
concede to them the argument on which they ultimately rely. It is our
view that it is far better to engage them in a process that exposes
them to new ideas and in doing so, challenges the core beliefs that
otherwise allow them to prosper from the preventable deaths of millions
who cannot escape their addiction. That is, we hope that participation
in the CRI will introduce companies, like BAT, to a set of standards
that go beyond the minimum legal requirement. Once they engage on this
level, then their ultimate defence begins to crumble – from within.”