EU: European Parliament demands environmental and social regulation for business

A European Parliament resolution passed today (13 March 2007) urged the European Commission to extend legal obligations in relation to corporate accountability, such as directors' duties, foreign direct liability and environmental and social reporting.

The resolution, entitled “Corporate Social Responsibility: a new partnership” comes three months after the controversial Companies Act was passed in the UK Parliament.

The Corporate Responsibility (CORE) Coalition (including Action Aid, Amnesty International and Friends of the Earth) welcomes this resolution that includes recommendations to the Commission to:

* Extend the responsibility of directors of companies with more than 1,000 employees to encompass the duty for the directors themselves to minimise any harmful social and environmental impact of companies' activities;

* Bring forward a proposal for social and environmental reporting to be included alongside financial reporting requirements;

* Implement a mechanism by which victims, including third-country nationals, can seek redress against European companies in the national courts of the Member States.

Labour Party MEP Richard Howitt said:

"World poverty and environmental degradation remain stubbornly entrenched in our world, and it is time for what companies to move beyond what they say they are doing on responsible business practice, to begin to make a visible and significant contribution to combating these twin challenges.”

Hannah Ellis, Coordinator of the Corporate Responsibility (CORE) Coalition said:

“The European Parliament has acknowledged that voluntary approaches to social and environmental responsibility are not in themselves going to address corporate abuse. For many years The Corporate Responsibility (CORE) Coalition has been demanding further regulation to ensure corporate accountability in the UK; today the need for this regulation has been recognised on a European wide scale.”

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