Latest Government Consultation on Improving UK Corporate Governance Framework Does Not Go Far EnoughTuesday, March 20th, 2018
Sanctions for asset stripping and individual director accountability for presiding over corporate failures are long overdue.
But too many company boards continue to prioritise short-term profit over long-term value creation. A positive obligation on directors to take steps to prevent serious impacts on employees, suppliers, customers, the community and the environment would change this.
An obvious way of strengthening corporate decision-making is to introduce a requirement to have a worker representative on company boards. The government should now reconsider its decision not to move ahead with this proposal.
Carillion should be the last corporate scandal on a list that is already too long, but unless government does more to change corporate culture, other high-profile company names will inevitably be added.
You can read the Government press release here.
UK Court of Appeal Rules Royal Dutch Shell Not Liable for Nigeria Oil SpillsWednesday, February 14th, 2018
London – 40,000 villagers from the Niger Delta are now set to take their oil pollution case to the UK Supreme Court in a long-running legal battle.
In a ruling handed down this morning, the Court of Appeal found that London-based Royal Dutch Shell is not responsible for oil pollution in the Niger Delta by its Nigerian subsidiary.
The Court rejected an appeal brought by the Ogale and Bille communities against an earlier decision that a claim against the London-based parent company had no prospect of success and that, therefore, the claim against Shell Nigeria could not proceed.
Both communities allege they have suffered systematic and ongoing oil pollution for years because of Shell’s operations. Shell does not dispute that the communities have been severely polluted by its oil, or that it has yet to organise and fund a clean-up. They villagers will now seek permission to take the case to the Supreme Court.
CORE’s Director Marilyn Croser commented, “The ruling is a gift to irresponsible multinationals, sending the message that they can abuse human rights and wreck the environment with total impunity. The brave decision to take their legal fight to the Supreme Court puts the Niger Delta communities in the vanguard of the global struggle for corporate accountability.”
In November 2016, Shell sought to block the claims in the UK on the grounds that the London-based parent company was not legally responsible for the pollution caused by its Nigerian subsidiary and that it was open to the communities to seek redress through the Nigerian courts.
The communities argued that Royal Dutch Shell exercised significant direction and control over its Nigerian subsidiary and was therefore liable for the systematic pollution. In addition, there was no prospect of justice in Nigeria, with cases of this complexity often taking 20 years or more to wind their way through the under-resourced justice system.
The case has significant implications for companies’ accountability for their global operations. Details of how multinationals control their subsidiaries are held by the company, with claimants reliant on the courts to force firms to disclose documents proving the nature of corporate relationships.
Marilyn Croser said, “The judgment threatens to close down a vital route to justice available through legal action in the UK. We now need legislative reform to introduce a requirement for companies to carry out human rights due diligence throughout their operations, both to help prevent abusive corporate practices and to improve accountability when such practices occur.”
Media contact: William Meade, t. 0203 5725 712
For more information on the case click here.
Letter to the Guardian: Carillion's Collapse Must Lead to Corporate Governance ReformsFriday, January 19th, 2018
Friday, 19th January, 2018
In the wake of the Carillion collapse, CORE wrote to the Guardian calling for wholesale corporate governance reforms.
In the letter, CORE’s director Marilyn Croser, writes that the current proposals for corporate governance reform do not go far enough. The prime minister must reinstate her commitment to put workers on company boards, and company law must be amended to put put a positive obligation on directors to prevent company operations seriously impacting other stakeholders.
Call for an EU collective redress mechanism to protect all fundamental rights, not only for consumersWednesday, January 10th, 2018
CORE has signed a joint statement calling for an EU wide collective redress mechanism for victims of corporate harm. The statement is also signed by ECCJ, Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Health and Environment Advocates, European Environmental Bureau, Birdlife, ClientEath and the International Federation for Human Rights.
Although the statement welcomes EU Commissioner Věra Jourová’s announced plans for a collective redress mechanism for consumers, it recalls the Commission’s pre-existing horizontal approach to rights to protection.
The statement therefore urges the EU and its Member States to prepare a legislative proposal for EU collective redress that applies to all instances of harm caused by corporate entities including that which in nature relates to the environment, privacy, discrimination, or which in any way violates fundamental rights.
New economic crime centre is welcome but fails to address glaring holesTuesday, December 12th, 2017
CORE, alongside Traidcraft Exchange, Global Witness, and Corruption Watch have written to the Guardian in response to the Home Office’s announcement on a new economic crime centre.
Although the economic crime centre is to be welcomed, the letter points out that ‘large companies that commit economic crimes cannot be held to account under current laws’.
To properly address the issue of corporate crime, the legal framework must be changed to a ‘duty to prevent’ model, as in the current UK Bribery Act.
Modern slavery: top companies fail to name supply chain risksTuesday, October 3rd, 2017
Top companies lack transparency about known risks of modern slavery in their supply chains, a new report from CORE Coalition finds.
UK Parliament’s Human Rights Committee calls for new laws to stop company human rights abuseWednesday, April 5th, 2017
CORE welcomes call from Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights for laws to prevent child labour and other abuses linked to British companies.
UK corporate liability regime ‘not fit for purpose in the 21st century’Wednesday, March 8th, 2017
Criminal law reform is needed if Theresa May is to deliver on her ambition of getting tough on irresponsible behaviour in big business, a group of NGOs have said ahead of a House of Lords debate tomorrow (9 March).
UK Modern Slavery Act: First 75 company reportsMonday, March 7th, 2016
There has been a welcome flurry of early compliance reports from companies in anticipation of the first reporting deadline under the UK Modern Slavery Act. However, according to corporate accountability groups the CORE Coalition and Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, the majority of these early company statements on modern slavery in supply chains appear not to meet the Act’s requirements.
CORE and Leigh Day welcome jail sentence for first modern slavery offences, but still no prosecution in case of ‘worst UK gangmaster ever’?Monday, February 15th, 2016
A corporate accountability group has welcomed news that for the first time, a British businessman has been prosecuted and sentenced for human trafficking offences, but questions why there has been no prosecution in a similar case involving a company described as the ‘worst UK gangmaster ever’.
Modern slavery: government must ensure that new measures shine a light into company supply chain practicesWednesday, July 29th, 2015
- CORE welcomes today’s announcement from Prime Minister David Cameron that companies with a turnover of more than £36 million will be required to report on slavery and human trafficking in their supply chains from October.
- Companies should be guided to report on what they are doing to address the risks of slavery in their supply chains.
Investors support inclusion of supply chain reporting in the Modern Slavery BillTuesday, November 18th, 2014
Investors with a total of £940 billion in assets under management are backing the Government’s recent commitment to include proportionate supply chain reporting requirements in the Modern Slavery Bill.
Euro companies able to reap rewards from deadly conflict mineral tradeThursday, September 25th, 2014
The European Union is failing to stifle a deadly trade in conflict minerals, a coalition of rights groups including Global Witness and Amnesty International warned today, weeks before new legislation will be discussed in Parliament.
A new analysis by Global Witness shows that companies are bringing billions of euros worth of minerals into Europe without having to disclose if their purchases finance armed groups or human rights violations in countries ravaged by conflict.
Leading UK charities call on government to tackle corporate human rights abuses abroadFriday, September 19th, 2014
A group of leading UK charities has launched a manifesto setting out recommendations to improve sustainability and corporate accountability practices.
The CORE Coalition, whose members include ActionAid, Amnesty International, CAFOD, Friends of the Earth, Traidcraft and WWF, is calling on the UK’s political parties to commit to make companies more accountable on corporate tax avoidance, human rights abuses within their supply chains and access to justice for victims of corporate abuse.
UK government must legislate to tackle corporate human rights abuse abroadThursday, September 4th, 2014
Opportunities this autumn for action to address slavery in supply chains and the trade in conflict minerals – The UK government must stop relying on voluntary measures to prevent UK businesses harming people and the environment overseas, a network of leading human rights, development and environmental NGOs said today.
FOI request reveals UK government backed Shell and Rio Tinto in human rights court cases after companies lobbied for supportSunday, April 6th, 2014
Documents released to CORE reveal how the oil giant Shell and mining multinational Rio Tinto successfully lobbied for UK government backing against human rights court cases in the U.S., at the same time as the UK was preparing its Business and Human Rights Action Plan.
UK government succeeds in weakening EU corporate transparency reformWednesday, February 26th, 2014
The UK and other governments have succeeded in watering down new European rules designed to boost corporate transparency, by blocking plans that would have required large private companies to report on their environmental and social impacts, alongside firms listed on stock exchanges.
However, MEPs brought forward and defended some important improvements to the initial proposal, such as a requirement for companies to report on the most significant risks to people and planet posed by their suppliers. The reform will cover all listed companies and large public interest entities in the EU.
Corporate abuse victims sign away rights under UK company complaint processThursday, January 30th, 2014
Tanzanian villagers using an internal company grievance process to raise complaints about UK mining firm African Barrick Gold (ABG) have been required to sign a confidential legal waiver, committing them to secrecy and barring them from taking part in any further actions against the company.
Justice denied for victims of corporate human rights abuseMonday, December 2nd, 2013
Victims of human rights abuses caused by multinational companies are unable to access justice, despite government commitments to action made over two years ago, according to a major new report released ahead of the UN Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva.
Action plan on human rights must go beyond business as usualWednesday, September 4th, 2013
A coalition of human rights and development NGOs, alongside unions, has given a cautious welcome to today’s launch of an official UK government Action Plan on Business and Human Rights by Vince Cable and William Hague.
Government must extend extraterritoriality to curb corporate abuseWednesday, October 17th, 2012
UK government intervenes to aid Shell in US court case over human rights abuses in Niger DeltaMonday, May 21st, 2012
The UK Government is facing a series of difficult questions after it surfaced that it has chosen to intervene on behalf of Royal Dutch Shell in a major US court case brought against the oil giant by Nigerian villagers.