Monday, 19 January 2004

Corporate Responsibility Bill

On 4th December, several MPs were selected to vote for a new law. At Friends of the Earth we would like these MPs to vote for the Corporate Responsibility Bill.

The Bill says:
  • Better reporting. Companies should report any major impacts they've had on people and the environment. Use this to improve each year.
  • More than profits. Directors should have a duty to reduce the damage their companies do – rather than maximise profits at any cost.
  • Better protection overseas. Help ensure companies who damage the environment or communities abroad can be held liable by the people affected.
More than 300 MPs have already expressed support for these proposals so there is a good chance of the Bill becoming law. But to make this Bill a reality, we need your help.

Please contact the following MPs by email or by writing to them at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.

Mr Hywel Francis -  francish@parliament.uk
Mr Jim Sheridan -  jim@james-sheridan-mp.org.uk
Mr Eric Martlew -  martlewe@parliament.uk
Mr Lembit Opik -  opikl@parliament.uk
Mr Andy King -  kinga@parliament.uk
Mr Michael Foster -  fostermj@parliament.uk
Mr Ian Lucas - lucasi@parliament.uk

We have included an example letter that you can use. Alternatively, if you have the time, please read some of the case studies and include some of your own comments in the letter. To save re-typing the letter, it can be found at www.foe.co.uk

Congratulations on your success in the Private Members' Ballot. Now that you have the opportunity to introduce a new law, I am writing to ask you to introduce the Corporate Responsibility Bill.  I understand from Friends of the Earth that over 300 MPs have now declared support for Corporate Responsibility, and believe that you could use this support to make this important new policy happen.

Corporate Responsibility is an issue that resonates with voters - ensuring a fair playing field in which communities and the environment succeed as much as business, makes sense.  The measure is well supported by grassroots organisations such as Friends of the Earth, Christian Aid, Amnesty International and WWF who are already working with communities to help them bring about this fair playing field.  Church groups of all denominations, unions such as the TUC and UNISON, membership organisations such as the National Federation of Women's Institutes and charities like War on Want all support this Bill and will support you in your endeavours to make it Law.

The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer, has stated: 'Companies and governments must to do more to restore the right balance, increase stakeholder awareness and achieve cross-border accountability.' November 2001

The Corporate Responsibility Bill will make this a reality.

With such broad support inside and outside Parliament the Bill, if introduced, would stand an excellent chance of becoming law within a year. I look forward to hearing from you as to whether you would happily take this up as a Ballot Bill.

Corporate Case Studies


ASDA
Asda’s policies and business strategy are consistently undermining people’s needs in the communities where Asda stores open, the needs of the farming community and the needs of suppliers.

Barclays
Has financed rainforest destruction by investing in Asia Pulp and Paper - a company that has destroyed vast areas of Indonesian rainforest. 

BAA
Airport operator BAA claims that airport expansion can contribute to sustainable development, forgetting that air travel fuels climate change.

British American Tobacco
Operates in Burma despite massive human rights abuses associated with the oppressive regime.

BNFL
British Nuclear Fuels: Involved in almost every aspect of nuclear power and is a key player in corporate lobbying for nuclear.

BP
Planning to build the controversial Baku Ceyhan oil pipeline. It would create the equivalent of 30% of the UK's Carbon Dioxide emissions, a major climate change gas.

HSBC
Has financed companies involved in rainforest destruction, oil companies linked to human rights atrocities in Sudan and has been linked to the controversial Three Gorges Dam in China. Also criticised for directors' "fat cat" pay package.