ICCR Examines Retailer Policies
According to the latest report from the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), an organization comprised of 275 faith-oriented investors, retailers still need to improve disclosure of their sales policies. Members are currently talking to a few of the country's largest videogame retailers, and I think we all know why... Yep, they want the companies to create and enforce new policies that ensure "M"-rated games don't make it into minors' hands.
The ICCR went after just about everyone, including Target, K-Mart, Best Buy, Sears, Circuit City, Toys "R" Us, Wal-Mart, and of course, GameStop/EB. An official statement from the report reads:
"It is evident that retailers are doing well on several fronts: all retailers included in the report have video game policies to restrict access by young teens to M-rated games; all display signage about the ESRB rating system; all conduct employee training programs and ongoing education on the video game rating system for employees; and all have established a system to identify the age of the purchaser at the register. ICCR is pleased with both Target's and Best Buy's policies to restrict ads for Mature-rated games in teen publications and on television. Target also places a prominent "M" on games advertised in its store circulars and Best Buy has a robust internal auditing process and compliance program, which are noted improvements."
They were mostly content with Target and Best Buy, but the ICCR still expects to see better reporting on the results of retailers' policies. According to Julie Tanner, corporate advocacy coordinator at Christian Brothers Investment Services, it's all about keeping the consumer informed, and making sure every customer is fully aware of certain restrictive policies.
"While we appreciate the productive dialogues that we've had with retailers and applaud the steps these companies have taken, retailers need to make even more progress in certain areas. The most important omission by retailers is the lack of information on the implementation of and results of their policies. This information allows socially responsible investors like CBIS to evaluate the reputational risks facing individual retailers, and enables us to track company progress over time."
12/12/2006 Ben Dutka