Mandatory Sustainability reporting and CSR Bill debated in UK Parliament

The UK Parliament’s House of Commons is currently discussing a new bill, titled Corporate Responsibility (Environmental, Social and Financial Reporting), or “CORE Bill”. The Bill, introduced by MP Linda Perham, is backed by organisations including Amnesty International, Friends of the Earth and UNISON, the trade union representing people who work in public services. The second reading of the bill has been scheduled for 14 November. ... lees meer

Experts Group recommends improved, more transparent corporate governance rules

Chairman Jaap Winter of the High Level Group of Company Law Experts today presented the Final Report of the Group on a Modern Regulatory Framework for Company Law in Europe to EU Commissioner Frits Bolkestein. After the Group had delivered its Report on Issues Related to Takeover Bids in January 2002, it has turned to its original mandate to provide recommendations for a modern regulatory European company law framework. This mandate was extended by the Commission following the ECOFIN Council meeting in Oviedo on April 12 and 13, 2002, to review specifically a number of issues related to corporate governance: the role of non-executive and supervisory directors, management remuneration, the responsibility of management for financial statements, and auditing practices. These and other corporate governance issues form a major part of the Final Report. The Final Report also addresses a number of company law subjects, such as capital formation and maintenance rules, group and pyramid structures, corporate restructuring and mobility, the European Private Company and other European legal forms of enterprise, as well as certain general themes for future development of company law in Europe. The Group has identified what it believes to be the priorities for the EU on the short, medium and longer term and advises the Commission to set up an EU company law action plan. ... lees meer

Telecommunications: Are the vultures circling over sustainability?

With losses due to UMTS licence costs, mass redundancies and falling market prices, many financial analysts are advising selling shares in telecommunications companies. Can the sector manage to overcome the sharp financial downturn and at the same time meet its social and environmental responsibilities? oekom research recently conducted a Corporate Responsibility Rating in which it examined 38 of the world’s major telecommunications companies. On a scale from A+ to D-, Deutsche Telekom scored a B+, followed by British Telecom and Swisscom, both with a B. At the bottom of the ranking came the American company Nextel with a score of D. Insufficient activity in the environmental and social areas meant that 14 of the companies could not be evaluated. ... lees meer

Corporate Governance Now Rated by Mainstream Investment Research Firms

Besides eliciting abundant media coverage, the corporate governance scandals at Enron, WorldCom, and elsewhere have spurred mainstream investors to evaluate the corporate governance performance of their current and prospective investments. Mainstream investors are joining with socially responsible investors in the understanding that corporate governance is a potential correlate of stock valuation. In response to the increase in demand for corporate governance evaluations, some mainstream investment research firms are now developing corporate governance rating services. Mainstream firms are also incorporating corporate governance into their existing rating systems. ... lees meer

Unilever on website listing social report card on corporations

Conscientious consumers who want to make sure the companies they support share their social values can turn to a new website that rates several big corporations on issues. Dan Porter, of Portland, Maine, launched six months ago. It ranks companies on such issues as whether they treat women fairly or if they support nuclear arms. Porter, 48, gathers the information from a Washington, D.C.-based firm, Investor Responsibility Research Center. His system allows users to rank companies on issues that are important to them. ... lees meer

Institute of Directors (IoD) gags Blairite think-tank report about CSR

(Published in The Observer on 27 october 2002). A furious row has erupted between Britain’s most influential think-tank and the Institute of Directors (IoD) over a report which questions the commitment of business to corporate social responsibility (CSR). The IoD, which paid for an NOP survey of 500 businesses, on which the report is based, is refusing to give permission to the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) to publish its report on the findings on Tuesday, saying the study is not a fair reflection of the views expressed. But the IPPR, a left-leaning body with links to Tony Blair, says its interpretation has been endorsed by NOP, and is seeking legal advice over whether it can release the paper. The argument focuses on key findings in the jointly commissioned report, a copy of which The Observer has obtained. IPPR author Ella Joseph says these show ‘hypocrisy’ by business and a gulf between the supportive rhetoric on CSR and reality. ... lees meer

New Internet portal to advance good corporate citizenship

The Global Compact Office today (15 October 2002) announced the launch of a powerful Internet portal that is designed to promote on-line learning, dialogue and collaboration among global actors dedicated to advancing good corporate citizenship and responsible globalisation. -This is the first portal of its kind for the United Nations”, said Georg Kell of the Executive Office of the Secretary-General. -This establishes a powerful technology infrastructure to encourage the creation and sharing of critical content and information that is decentralized, thereby offering Global Compact participants from all over the world an opportunity to share activities and learn from others. For the national and local Global Compact networks that are springing up around the globe, this technology will give them a window on the world”. ... lees meer

IRRC Finds Little Change in Potential Auditor Conflicts

Investor Responsibility Research Center (IRRC) has released its second annual report on the fees public companies pay to their auditors. Audit versus Non-Audit Fees: What U.S. and U.K. Companies Pay Their Auditors indicates that increasing audit failures and corporate scandals had some, but not much, impact on how and how much companies paid their auditors in 2001 and early 2002. ... lees meer

Social responsibility is becoming a major selling point

(Published in the IHT). Ruth Meza-Orozco, 23, works six days a week in a Taiwanese clothing factory in Managua’s Free Trade Zone. On Sundays, she studies. “My salary doesn’t help me with anything,” said Meza-Orozco, who has been working in the Free Trade Zone since she was 18. “I don’t even have a house.” The average hourly wage of apparel workers in Nicaragua is about 27 cents. Meza-Orozco would like to do something else, but in Nicaragua, there is little else to do. “In this country, the Free Trade Zone is the only kind of work,” she said. In the last decade, Meza-Orozco’s problems have become a topic of conversation in even the highest echelons of the fashion industry. “The company asks me regularly to discuss these issues,” said Christophe Girard, director of fashion strategy at LVMH and deputy mayor for culture of Paris. “I think it has become a more common debate.” ... lees meer