CORPORATIONS MUST BE TRULY ACCOUNTABLE - NGO demand for regulation is supported by a broad range of stakeholders

Press release

The European Coalition for Corporate Justice and FIDH today propose that a legal framework is developed to ensure that corporations behave in a socially and environmentally sustainable way. They see the CSR approach adopted by the European Commission as unpromising and misguided.

Civil society groups have decided not to participate in tomorrow’s multi-stakeholder forum organised by the European Commission, because the narrow agenda will only address voluntary measures, while it has been proven that this approach is not sufficient to solve social and environmental problems related to the performance of corporations. NGOs host a conference today for representatives from governments, enterprises, trade unions and the European Institutions in order to provide stakeholders with a range of measures that will ensure corporate accountability.

Paul de Clerck from Friends of the Earth Europe and steering group member of ECCJ said: “If European companies do not respect human rights and environmental interests in other parts of the world, we need to ensure that affected people can find justice and hold companies accountable.”

High profile stakeholders from retail company Carrefour, the French government and European trade unions are all pleading for a level playing field on Corporate Social Responsibility. Rules and regulations to ensure corporate accountability are not only to protect affected communities, but they are in the interests of companies as well,”

At the conference today, NGOs will propose the following measures which will contribute to corporate accountability:

 Mandatory reporting on social and environmental issues
 Creation of a duty of care for CEOs for the environmental and social impacts of their companies’ activities
 Enforcement of mechanisms for redress for affected communities
 Use of public procurements to favor environmentally and socially responsible businesses

Richard Howitt, UK Socialist MEP and rapporteur for the European Parliament’s current report on CSR, said: “There is a very strong case for companies to report their social and environmental impacts on a mandatory basis. And as long as this is not yet introduced, the European Commission should be enforcing existing laws to test the transparency and credibility of current CSR initiatives.”

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