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music industry giant reveals CSR songsheet

October 2003

The world’s largest music publishing company has unveiled a social responsibility policy.

EMI Group, which has a roster of 1000 recording artists and a turnover of £2.2billion ($3.6bn), says the policy will act as ‘a framework for monitoring and reporting as we move forward with our social responsibility agenda’.

The group, which has been publishing an annual environmental report for a decade, wants to concentrate more on its social performance.

‘Our focus needs to widen to include social issues,’ said chairman Eric Nicoli. ‘We have already done good work on employment, community investment and product content, but there is more to do to clarify our goals, ensure they are consistently applied, and develop measures to track our performance.’ The policy, approved by the board, commits the company to support the right to free musical expression ‘while being sensitive to the prevailing values in the countries in which we operate’. It says EMI will:

allow local business units to set community investment priorities

uphold the principles of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the ILO’s core labour standards

provide the ‘highest levels’ of health and safety

create a ‘respectful working environment free from harassment’ for its 8000 employees

make no political donations.

Major suppliers in countries with poor human rights records, such as Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, will have to provide evidence of how they safeguard employees’ rights.

Although EMI says it is fortunate that its products are ‘relatively uncontroversial’, the group is developing standard terms and conditions for suppliers ‘that formally stipulate the behaviour we expect in various ethical areas’, such as workplace conditions.

It is also a member of the Media Sector CSR Forum, a group of 12 UK media companies.

Until now, EMI’s social responsibility activity has mostly focused on community involvement, centred on its Music Sound Foundation, which supports young musicians in the UK. Its community contributions in 2002/3 were £2.2million.

As a mark of its stronger focus on social issues, EMI last month published its first social responsibility report. The 20-page document, in A5 format, incorporates the group’s 11th environmental report, and is unverified.

EMI also issued a separate report last month that details its UK greenhouse gas emissions in line with the UK government’s greenhouse gas reporting guidelines.

The figures, which include emissions of carbon dioxide from transport and from sources that provide power for its buildings, show EMI cut emissions by 34 per cent last year compared with 2001/2. It did this mainly by switching to renewable energy for buildings.




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