New report launched at European Multi-Stakeholder Forum on CSR
Brussels, 29th November - As the European Commission hosts the 2010 European Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) today (29th November), the European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ) launches a new ground-breaking report on how Europe can ensure big business respect human rights and protect the environment. The Forum, attended by dignitaries including European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani and Commissioners Michel Barnier and Laszlo Andor, serves as preparation for the upcoming EU Communication on CSR announced for the Spring 2011.
Coinciding with the Forum, The European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ) -a European network bringing together over 250 civil society organisations present in 15 European countries-, releases its new report “Principles and Pathways: Legal Opportunities to Improve Europe’s Corporate Accountability Framework”. The report is a compilation of over 4 years work of the coalition and includes a forward from the European Parliament Rapporteur on CSR, Richard Howitt MEP.
From mercury poisoning in South Africa to child labour in India, companies, including European ones, continue to get away with breaches of environmental and human rights standards. There currently exists no binding mechanism at the international level ensuring that companies are held accountable for any violations they commit, nor for victims to obtain redress.
The report details policy proposals for the EU to take action to improve corporate accountability of European companies. Filip Gregor, report author, said: “There is much the EU can and should be doing to improve the regulatory framework applicable to European companies to make companies more accountable. There can be no more delays in making the changes that are required – in this report ECCJ clearly shows the EU what needs to be done and how.”
The report is launched at a critical moment regarding the CSR dossier at the EU level. The European Commission recently launched a study identifying what reforms could be possible in EU legislation to ensure European-based companies respect human rights and the environment wherever they operate. Also, last week Internal Market Directorate General opened a consultation about non-financial reporting of companies, and has indicated that this includes the possibility of legislative initiatives. Moreover, a new communication on CSR has been announced for next year by Commission Vice-president, Antonio Tajani.
The ECCJ has been actively involved in campaigning for the EU to take such steps. “A clear indicator as to whether or not these Multi-Stakeholder events are more than fancy “talk shops” will be whether or not our proposals are incorporated in the Commission’s new CSR Communication to be released next year,” added Filip Gregor.
Key recommendations of the report are:
a. Improving the governance in the operations of MNEs concerning foreign subsidiaries and sub-contractors
b. Improving disclosure of information
c. Mitigating the practical obstacles facing victims of corporate abuse
Ruth Casals, Coordinator of ECCJ added: “ECCJ hope this report provides a useful step by step guide for the Commission to create the legal framework for big business that is so urgently required. Reform of the Accounts Modernisation Directive, Brussels I and Rome II to name a few, may sound like technical details – but are essential pieces of legislative reform needed to ensure corporate accountability.”
For interviews or for more information please contact:
Filip Gregor – filip.gregor at eps.cz +420 775 154 083
Paul de Clerk – paul at milieudefensie.nl +32 494 380959
Ruth Casals – info at corporatejustice.org + 32 471 614418
1. The Report “Principles and Pathways: Legal Opportunities to Improve Europe’s Corporate Accountability Framework” is available at www.corporatejustice.org
2. The MultiStakeholder Forum on CSR will take part from 12.30 on Monday 29th November, concluding on the afternoon of Tuesday 30th November. For more information regarding the Forum please see http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sustainable-business/corporate-social-responsibility/multi-stakeholder-forum/2010-meetings/index_en.htm
3. Graphic materials are also available (photos, online photo exhibition, campaign materials) upon request. Please contact Yolaine Delaygues at communication at corporatejustice.org or +32 (0)2 893 1027.
For more information about ECCJ you can visit: www.corporatejustice.org.
For further information on ECCJ’s European campaign “Rights for people, rules for business” visit: www.rightsforpeople.org