Holding Multinational Corporations to Account: Barriers and Opportunities in the Current State of PlaySunday, December 10th, 2017
William Meade 11.12.2017
Multinational corporations headquartered in the UK operate via subsidiaries all over the world. When UK companies are linked to human rights abuses in the jurisdictions in which they operate it is essential that victims can still access judicial remedy, and that the UK-headquartered parent company is held[…]
As a member of OECD Watch, CORE and other member organisations have launched a campaign calling for the improved effectiveness of OECD National Contact Points (NCPs) so that NCPs can provide access to remedy for victims of business related human rights abuses.
NCPs were established as a means to ensure business compliance with the OECD[…]
Burma Campaign UK is planning to name and shame companies linked with human rights violations in Burma, publishing a revived version of its ‘Dirty List’ in early 2018.
The call for a treaty comes from a network of activists and states demanding that corporations be required to uphold human rights, labour and environmental standards when conducting business at home and abroad.
CORE, along with six leading human rights organisations, has signed a letter to the President of Tanzania, calling for an urgent investigation into human rights abuses at Acacia’s North Mara Gold mine.
The letter highlights the numerous detailed reports and complaints about violent attacks by police and security at the mine. One[…]
CORE has joined 169 human rights organisations in signing an open letter to Honduran Embassies across the globe, calling for an end to the attacks against women human rights defenders in Honduras.
The European Coalition for Corporate Justice, along with The International Corporate Accountability Roundtable and Human Rights Watch have written an open letter to the Ecuadorian Mission to Geneva, calling for stronger remedy provisions for victims of corporate abuse.
CORE is among a coalition of 87 civil society groups, worker organisations, businesses and European Parliamentarians which have sent an open letter sent to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha regarding criminal defamation charges brought against Myanmar workers.
Early September marked the return of Parliament and saw peers scrutinise new proposals to strengthen support available for victims of modern slavery.
Lord McColl’s Modern Slavery Bill which received its 2nd Reading on Friday 8 September aims to enshrine in law victims’ entitlement to support during the reflection and recovery period, while the competent authorities are deciding whether there is evidence that they have been a victim of modern slavery. This would be accompanied by a statutory duty to provide confirmed victims of modern slavery with ongoing support and leave to remain for a period of 12 months.
Today the Government published its response to the Corporate Governance Green Paper consultation.
Over the weekend, proposals on executive pay captured the headlines. Government has backed away from giving shareholders a binding vote on executive pay, but plans instead to establish a public register of companies that have experienced a shareholder revolt – defined as a one-fifth vote against proposed top pay packets.
In an effort to curb sports-linked abuses, the 85,000 player affiliated union World Players Association has released a human rights policy aimed at protecting those in the sporting profession. This comes two months after FIFA published its own policy on human rights standards and marks a growing awareness of the varying threats posed to players’ welfare.
Leading NGO and trade union representatives from UK organisations including Oxfam, the Trade Union Congress, Cafod, Homeworkers Worldwide and Fairtrade Foundation came together at UNISON’s head office this month to advance work on labour rights in global supply chains.
The G20 has endorsed a set of High Level Principles on the Liability of Legal Persons for Corruption and committed to ensuring that companies benefitting from corruption can be held liable.
In the run up to this year’s general election, the three main UK-wide political parties have now unveiled their manifestos.
There are many commonalities across three, with parties professing a desire to confront labour abuses such as modern slavery, and respond to new labour vulnerabilities driven by the “gig economy” and zero hour contracts. However, there are some notable differences on Brexit, corporate governance and the use of procurement to encourage better practice.
The SNP supports the creation of a robust regulatory framework to ensure that the UK economy is not vulnerable to a re-run of the 2008 financial crisis. The SNP will support measures including the reinstatement of the reverse burden of proof which, before being removed by the Tories, required senior bank managers to demonstrate they had done the right thing where wrongdoing had emerged on their watch.
We do not accept that either a “hard” Brexit or an exit from the EU without a deal is in the interests of the British people. We will be actively campaigning to safeguard jobs, uphold basic rights and put environmental protection at the heart of any future trade deals.
The Green Party would set an inspiring vision…. ensuring the environment is top of the political agenda.
The Conservative 2017 Manifesto shares a number of similarities with pledges made under the 2015 Manifesto. These include: reducing red tape, addressing tax avoidance and evasion, and requiring companies to publish information on executive pay.
In their 2017 Manifesto, the Conservatives pledge to introduce measures that ensure[…]
The Liberal Democrats’ 2017 Manifesto makes similar commitments to those pledged in 2015. These include: reforming laws to extend company reporting to ethical practices, environmental, worker and community protections; tackling tax avoidance and utilising public procurement to promote best business practice.
New pledges focus on[…]
Labour’s 2017 manifesto advances many of the party’s 2015 manifesto pledges. These include: introducing a Living Wage; working with companies to build sustainable supply chains; reforming the UK takeover regime; addressing shareholder short-termism; and targeting tax avoidance.
Some new proposals include: collaborating with businesses to[…]
Plaid Cymru will put an end to the unfair business rates system, by moving towards a turnover-based system. We will ensure there is a properly funded Welsh Development Bank to invest in Welsh businesses.
There is much about the Joint Committee on Human Right’s report on Business and Human Rights to commend. Building on 27 witness accounts and 53 written submissions, the Committee lists a series of bold and progressive recommendations, which include reforming an outdated corporate liability regime that’s proven ineffective at deterring malpractice and upholding human rights standards in UK business operations.
In the flurry of activity following the announcement of the 2017 general election, several bills were rushed through before the end of the parliamentary session. One of these was the Criminal Finances Bill, which meant that debates on its contents had to be curtailed.
A recent Workshop on Brexit Strategies for British & European Civil Society Organisations, organised by University of Exeter Business School in collaboration with CORE Coalition and the European Coalition for Corporate Justice has shed light into the potential implications of Brexit for the non-profit sector.
Following news last week that it has delayed the clean-up of oil spills in the Niger Delta, multinational giant Shell is now embroiled in what campaigners are calling one of the biggest corruption scandals in the history of the oil sector.
Corporate criminal liability reform and a proposed new offence of ‘failure to prevent economic crime’ were debated in the House of Lords yesterday (3 April), during the Criminal Finances Bill second Committee day. You can read the Hansard here.
It’s day two of Committee Stage in the House of Lords. This involves detailed line by line examination of the separate parts of the bill.
As a reminder, the bill will create a new corporate offence of ‘failure to prevent tax evasion’, extending the ‘failure to prevent’ model in the UK Bribery Act 2010 to corporate tax evasion, although there is some question over what, if any, differences there are between ‘adequate procedures’ as specified by the Bribery Act and ‘reasonable procedures’ as specified in the new failure to prevent facilitation of tax evasion offence.
Supermarket chain Tesco escapes prosecution and pays a £129m fine and £85m in compensation to shareholders over 2014’s accounting scandal.
Global risk analyst Verisk Maplecroft has published its annual Human Rights Outlook report, outlining ten human rights risks impacting business in 2017.
Verisk notes that modern slavery risks are set to increase as the United States toughens its immigration policy, pushing countless undocumented migrants further underground and exposing them to greater exploitation.
Last week (8 March) cross-party Peers debated much needed legal reform to tackle widespread corruption and human rights abuses committed by multi-national corporations.
Today we show solidarity with women worldwide, championing the efforts of those who’ve fought back against the social and economic inequality that has afforded women a secondary status to men.
Later this week the House of Lords will debate the Criminal Finances Bill.
This is a government bill to amend the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
The bill will create a new corporate offence of ‘failure to prevent tax evasion’, meaning companies could be prosecuted for not having procedures in place to stop tax dodging.
The UK’s political and economic journey creates opportunities for lobbying and collaboration across civil society. CORE will continue to work with our partners to defend standards and campaign for positive change.
Are decades of progressive EU legislation about to be done away with as the UK Government desperately tries to hang on to[…]
Over a year in, the Sustainable Development Goals show no sign of losing momentum. Ruth Mhlanga reflects on how businesses can support the SDGs to create a world free from poverty without breaking the planet.
Blog by Ruth Mlanga, Oxfam Private Sector Policy Advisor
The Thun Group of Banks has responded to a joint letter coordinated by international NGO Bank Track and co-signed by CORE and 31 other organisations, calling on the group to withdraw a paper that questions banks’ responsibilities for human rights abuses linked to finance.
The Thun Group of Banks represents 11 leading banks as[…]
CORE and our partner organisations are calling for the law to be changed so that companies and banks can be held to account for fraud and money laundering.
Tuning into last Wednesday’s JCHR Business & Human Rights evidence session, I watched Fiona Bruce MP questioning BEIS Minister Margot James about the UK National Contact Point for the OECD guidelines, and its ability to resolve complaints arising from alleged human rights abuses.
Around 40 people from partner organisations joined CORE board members and staff at The Foundry on 23 January for our Annual Partners’ Meeting.
This blog summarises Deborah Doane’s and Dr. Jennifer Zerk’s presentation of the findings from their short study into the implications of Brexit for corporate accountability, commissioned by CORE.
30 September 2016
CORE Director, Marilyn Croser, speaks to the Ethical Consumer conference about the successes and challenges in holding companies accountable.
20 December 2016
Listen to CORE Director, Marilyn Croser, give a whistle-stop tour of CORE’s history and campaigns – all in nine minutes.
Here you can find out how CORE and our partners are demanding an end to corporate impunity, and seeking accountability for businesses responsible for gross economic, environmental and human rights[…]
29 November 2016
CORE welcomes the government’s announcement that it is considering requiring private companies to report on diversity, greenhouse gas emissions, and social and community issues.
CORE and our partner organisations have been pressing for the government to make private companies publish this information since 2014, when new[…]
21 November 2016
An important bill aimed at tackling the big issue of corruption is currently making its way through Parliament. It is called the Criminal Finances Bill.
Money laundering, recovering the proceeds of crime, tax evasion and terrorist funding are among the key targets for Home Secretary Amber Rudd. In her 10 November speech[…]
This week the Danish National Contact Point for the OECD guidelines on multinational enterprises cast a damning light on Scandinavian company PWT Group for its failure to adequately assess dangers linked to the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 24 April 2013, killing 1,138 people and injuring more than 2,000[…]
In June the Joint Committee on Human Rights announced a new inquiry into human rights and business.
The inquiry is looking at the government’s progress on implementing the UNGPs through its National Action Plan (NAP), published in 2013 and updated in May 2016. This follows an earlier JCHR inquiry into business and human rights[…]
The Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires commercial organisations operating in the UK with an annual turnover above £36m to produce a statement setting out the steps they are taking to address and prevent the risk of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains.
A number of key stakeholders that were influential in securing the[…]
The Joint Committee on Human Rights has announced an inquiry into human rights and business. The inquiry will take into consideration progress made by the Government on implementing the UNGPs through its National Action Plan published in 2013 and updated in May 2016.
The inquiry will consider in particular what steps the Government takes[…]
Visible, high-level political endorsement sends a powerful signal to business so it’s a pity that there’s no Ministerial Foreword included in the update, but despite this the plan clearly reasserts the UNGPs and the[…]
In a letter to the Honduran Ambassador in the UK, NGOs and individuals committed to social justice and human rights have condemned in the strongest possible terms the murder of Berta Cáceres, the inspiring and internationally-renowned social activist who spent her life fighting for and defending indigenous peoples’ rights to their[…]
On 3 March, after a two year negotiation process, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted a set of Recommendations to its member States on Business and Human Rights.
The European Coalition for Corporate Justice, Amnesty International, the International Commission of Jurists and the International Federation for Human[…]
In autumn, following our successful campaign for the introduction of the Transparency in Supply Chains (TISC) clause into the Modern Slavery Act 2015, we participated in discussions designed to inform the content of the accompanying Home Office statutory guidance for commercial organisations required to report under the new law.
CORE and our partner organisations are preparing a response to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) consultation on the UK implementation of the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive.
The directive aims to improve the transparency of EU companies in terms of non-financial and diversity information, requiring large[…]
In mid-2015, CORE carried out a strategic review to enable staff, board and coalition partners to understand the current state of play for the organisation and inform internal discussions of how CORE could and should develop over the next five years.
The CORE Board has issued a formal response to the review which you can read here.
CORE’s new report, The Bottom Line: UK Corporate Abuse Overseas brings together ten recent case studies of serious abuses linked to UK corporations’ international operations.
Issues range from the appropriation of indigenous lands, the callous destruction of natural habitats, and corporate complicity in the violation of a litany of[…]
CORE’s written submission to the government’s review, focussing on key actions under Pillars I and III, calls for more action on access to remedy, human rights due diligence, and a robust regulatory response to UK company malpractice internationally. Other submissions, including from several CORE member organisations are available[…]
Key materials on the working group meeting for a new international treaty on business and human rightsTuesday, July 7th, 2015
Following a vote in favour of a resolution tabled by Ecuador and South Africa in the UN Human Rights Council last June, work has now started towards developing a new international treaty on business and human rights. Below are links to key documents and online updates from Geneva.
All official documentation is available at Read More »
‘This is a case not only of human rights risks and harms, but also, much more broadly, of contests over development agendas, and who gets to set them.’
A new case study, ‘POSCO’s Odisha Project: OECD National Contact complaints and a decade of resistance’ from the Non-Judicial Redress Mechanisms Project explores important[…]
CORE’s Advocacy Adviser Ruth Chambers takes a look at the Queen’s Speech and pulls out some highlights for civil society campaigners
In today’s Queen’s Speech (27 May 2015) the government has set out its legislative stall for the coming Parliamentary session, as it attempts to make its manifesto pledges a reality.
On 4th September 2013 the UK became the first country to release a Business and Human Rights Action Plan, building on its commitment to implement the UN Guiding Principles (UNGPs). CORE gave the Plan a cautious welcome and urged the government to ensure that it leads to concrete steps to address corporate human rights abuse.
Following a campaign spearheaded by Global Witness and Amnesty International, members of the European Parliament have made history by voting in favour of a strong and binding law to tackle the deadly trade in conflict minerals.Wednesday, May 20th, 2015
Despite concerted efforts by big business to weaken the legislation, MEPs have approved a groundbreaking proposal to require that European companies importing four key minerals ensure their purchases are not contributing to conflict or human rights abuses in other countries. Amnesty International’s original briefing on this historic[…]
CORE has joined with over 150 NGOs from across Europe to call on members of the European Parliament to vote for effective regulation of the trade in conflict mineralsTuesday, May 19th, 2015
Every year, millions of Euro worth of minerals flow into the EU from some of the poorest places on earth. This trade in resources – such as gold, diamonds, tantalum, tin, copper and coal – continues to perpetuate a cycle of conflict and human rights abuses in many fragile areas of the world. These resources enter global supply[…]
Campaigners in France and Switzerland are aiming to improve corporate accountability by changing laws to require companies to conduct mandatory human rights due diligence throughout their operations. Below we report on a couple of prominent cases.
French bill on parent company liability
French campaigners were celebrating on 31 March[…]
In a poll conducted a few months prior to the UK’s 7 May general election, 79% of people agreed that ‘if big businesses do not want to comply with regulation they can usually get around it’.
This should come as no surprise given the repeated corporate scandals of the last five years.
Yet despite the seeming cynicism, there[…]
Members of CORE including Amnesty International and UNICEF UK, along with our allies Homeworkers Worldwide and Quaker Peace & Social Witness have called for a ‘critical mass’ of vigilance to help eradicate slavery from company supply chains.
The UK’s Modern Slavery Act, passed on 26th March 2015 includes a clause requiring[…]
The full pdf document is available here. Key points:
We will vote to increase the minimum wage to £8.70 by 2020. We will also support measures to extend the Living Wage across the UK. The Scottish Government already pays the Living Wage to all of its own employees and to those covered by its pay policy – we will call on, and vote[…]
The British Institute of International and Comparative Law has been asked by the UK Foreign Office, the Department for Business and the Ministry of Justice to undertake a quick survey of the UK’s current provision of access to remedy for victims of human rights abuses involving business enterprises.
BIICL would be very grateful for any[…]
The full pdf document is available here. Key points:
Corporate reporting, company boards & pay
Extend existing reporting rules to establish consistent requirements on all large UK companies to report on the social, environmental and human rights impacts of their activities and those of their supply chains.
Work with regulatory bodies and[…]
The full pdf document is available here. Key points:
In order to ensure that new pay structures for bankers rebuild trust and reduce short-termism, we will ensure that Britain continues to have the toughest regime of bonus deferral and clawback of any financial centre.
We will require companies with more than 250 employees to[…]
The full pdf document is available here. Key points as follows:
Britain’s economy is being held back by the culture of short-termism, which is a major obstacle to the development of productive businesses and industries. We will reform corporate governance to protect our leading firms from the pressure to put[…]
A wide coalition of civil society groups is today (26 March) celebrating the passing of a new law which will require businesses to tell the public what they are doing to eradicate slavery and forced labour from their supply chains.
The law is part of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, which received Royal Assent today and which[…]
Baroness Nosheena Mobarik CBE
Transparency is the new globalisation. Transformative in its effects, demanding different ways of doing business, posing significant challenges while creating tremendous opportunities.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the management of international supply chains. Investors, consumers and,[…]
The last five years have seen a crisis of trust in business following scandals around tax avoidance and excessive executive pay, and revelations of shocking practices in UK company supply chains.
CORE and our partner organisations work together to campaign for laws and policies to make UK companies more accountable and to prevent them[…]
The House of Commons has been debating the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). But will the UK parliament use its powers to debate a bilateral investment treaty signed with Ethiopia?
The rich landscape of the Wolayita region in Southern Ethiopia highlights the country’s huge potential (Photo: Rod[…]
In recent months, we have teamed up with a number of human rights and anti-slavery groups to lobby hard around the Modern Slavery Bill on transparency in supply chains.
To support the campaign we’re organising a social media push ahead of the critical committee hearing in the Lords on Wednesday 10 December 2014. We are calling on[…]
Guest blog: by Jane Wallis-Jones, WWF-UK
I was struck by an article last week[i] and its associated report[ii] on overcoming the obesity epidemic. It unquestionably states that this enormous societal challenge cannot be faced using a piecemeal approach. One of the main findings of the report is that:
A failure to manage human rights issues in supply chains may pose significant risks to business, according to a group of leading UK asset managers.
The investor group, with a combined total of £940 billion in assets under management, has written to David Cameron to express their concerns.
The group of 21 asset managers, which[…]
Guest blog: by Richard Dyer, Friends of the Earth
Photo credit: Ulet Ifansati / Friends of the Earth
Reducing resource consumption: Good for business, people and the planet
I hate to say it but it’s almost that time of year again; you know… when that bearded old chap in the red suit descends from above, bearing piles of[...]
Earlier this week the Modern Slavery Bill completed its passage through the House of Commons. The government’s amendment on supply chains was accepted without a vote and is now on the face of the Bill.
Several people spoke in the debate, some of whom reflected points from the coalition’s briefing. There was a consensus across[...]
Guest blog: by Ema Jackson, ActionAid
At ActionAid we’ve been campaigning for tax justice and exposing how big businesses dodge their taxes since 2008. We’ve come up with a fun new way to share what we’ve learnt: a tax justice walking tour around Mayfair.
Tax dodging by big business has become big news, but it’s not just the[...]
by Frank Bold
The European Day of Justice was celebrated on 25 October. The day is dedicated to bringing justice closer to all European citizens, by informing citizens about the access to justice they are entitled to in other European countries, which should be similar to the access they have in their own country. In short,[...]
Slavery can be lucrative, and not just for human traffickers. Many companies benefit, whether knowingly or unknowingly, from cheap labour in their supply chains.
Parliament is discussing a Modern Slavery Bill that the government says will hold big business to account to keep supply chains slavery free.
However the bill the[...]
Details awaited on government plans to require business to deal with supply chain slavery
The Home Office surprised human rights campaigners this week with an announcement that it plans to include measures in the Modern Slavery Bill to address slavery in global supply chains. CORE Director, Marilyn Croser, offered a cautious[...]
by Marilyn Croser CORE
The UK government must hold companies to account for abuses such as slavery, land grabs and trade in conflict minerals, says report
Since 2008, there has been an unprecedented rise in human rights violations globally, up 70% according to a new report. Workers’ rights are seriously compromised and rural[...]
by Fiona Gooch, Traidcraft
The need for legislative action on supply chains is paramount – voluntary action is insufficient to resist competitive pressures to deliver short-term profit
This week, Channel 4 Dispatches investigated supermarket supply chains and revealed the working lives of those at the very bottom: the[...]
Seeking quality guidance for your strategic report? The FRC’s Guidance on the Strategic Report misses the markSunday, June 1st, 2014
The Financial Reporting Council has published its Guidance on the Strategic Report. The non-mandatory guidelines are designed to encourage companies to provide their shareholders with a holistic and meaningful picture of their business model, strategy, development, performance, position and future prospects.
In the lead up to[...]
As part of our ongoing work around corporate transparency, we wrote to Jenny Willott MP, Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs, to request a meeting to discuss progress on supply chain transparency. View the letter here
BIS has put a good deal of effort and resources into reform of non-financial reporting,[...]
by Marilyn Croser, CORE Director
Four things that jumped out at me from the Kiobel FoI documents that have been released to CORE:
We have a problem
A section on p.52 headed ‘Prosperity and support to British business’ in a briefing for Ministers on whether to submit an amicus brief in the Kiobel case includes the line:
The report from the parliamentary committee looking at the draft Modern Slavery bill has recommended legislative measures to address the issue in company supply chains.
169. ….The CORE Coalition warned us that the purely voluntary approach has not been effective at eliminating modern slavery.
170. We recognise the[…]
To make a successful FOI request, take a big dollop of patience and a handful of top-class law studentsMonday, April 7th, 2014
Marilyn Croser, CORE Coordinator
Below is some background about our story in today’s Guardian on the way Shell and Rio Tinto successfully lobbied the UK government for support against human rights court cases in the U.S. The FCO documents were released to us at the end of February, for key quotes and analysis see this Amnesty[…]
RAID (Rights and Accountability in Development) and CORE have written to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to request that the UK government ask questions of UK mining company African Barrick Gold and its majority shareholder Barrick Gold Corporation, regarding human rights violations at the North Mara mine in Tanzania. The letter is[…]
CORE and several member organisations have released this statement on the UK government’s position on the EU non-financial reporting proposal.
The 2nd UN Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights begins on 2 December in Geneva. The Forum brings together representatives from civil society, government and business to discuss key issues and work that has gone on over the past year to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Indigenous people’s rights are[…]
Over the last few weeks, much of CORE’s advocacy work has focused on influencing the EU non-financial reporting reforms. All of the amendments that the European Coalition for Corporate Justice put forward to strengthen the proposal have been tabled by at least one political group, and some have the support of multiple groups. So even[…]
CORE’s freedom of information requests on Shell court case: FCO & BIS scrape the bottom of the barrel for excusesWednesday, September 25th, 2013
In February 2012, the UK government made an intervention in Kiobel -v- Shell, a US court case brought against Shell by a group of people from the Niger Delta. The case became notorious when Shell argued that corporations couldn’t be sued for violating international law. The UK government joined with the Dutch government to submit an[…]