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Reports 30 Nov 2004

The Changing Landscape of Liability

A Director's guide to trends in corporate environmental, social and economic liability

By Geoff Lye

The issue of past, current and potential liabilities has exercised boards of large companies for decades. This report makes the case that the landscape of liability – and therefore the risks for companies and to shareholder value – is changing and changing rapidly.

Companies must shift from passive to active corporate responsibility.

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It explores the evidence, maps the changes and attempts to guide business with the help of studies to navigate new and uncharted territory. The studies examine and draw conclusions in relation to climate change, human rights, obesity and legacy issues.

As the first comprehensive study of the link between corporate responsibility and strategic social/environmental risk management, the report has relevance across a wide range of functions including managers involved in corporate responsibility, corporate governance and risk management.

Significant among its recommendations is a call for companies to shift from passive to active corporate responsibility as the best way to mitigate risk to shareholder value from society’s increasing expectations of social, environmental and economic responsibility. It includes examples of what this means in practice.

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