Putting people and the planet at the core of business

Briefing papers

Overviews of key corporate accountability issues

Criminal Finances Bill: Briefing for the House of Lords Second Reading

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

This briefing for the House of Lords Second Reading is supported by the following organisations who form part of the BOND Anti-Corruption Group and the Business Integrity Network and who are all working to ensure that UK companies can be held legally accountable for economic and broader crimes, including those committed abroad: Amnesty International, CAFOD, CORE Coalition, Corruption Watch, Global Witness, ONE, Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID), Tax Justice Network, The Corner House, Traidcraft, Transparency International UK.

The proposed amendments to the Criminal Finances Bill to create a corporate offence of failure to prevent economic crime would enable the government to fulfil its full manifesto promise and its commitment from the UK Anti-Corruption Summit to create a modern, fit for purpose corporate liability regime in the UK.

Reform would also form an important element of the Prime Minister’s commitment to “get tough on irresponsible behaviour in big business” and deal with problems of corporate  impunity.

Download the report »

Criminal Finances Bill: Briefing for House of Commons Report Stage

Monday, February 20th, 2017

This briefing is supported by the following organisations who form part of the BOND Anti-Corruption Group and the Business Integrity Network and who are all working to ensure that UK companies can be held legally accountable for economic and broader crimes, including those committed abroad: Amnesty International, CAFOD, CORE Coalition, Corruption Watch, Global Witness, ONE, Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID), Tax Justice Network, The Corner House, Traidcraft, Transparency International UK.

The proposed amendments to the Criminal Finances Bill to create a corporate offence of failure to prevent economic crime would enable the government to fulfil its full manifesto promise and its commitment from the UK Anti-Corruption Summit to create a modern, fit for purpose corporate liability regime in the UK.

Reform would also form an important element of the Prime Minister’s commitment to “get tough on irresponsible behaviour in big business” and deal with problems of corporate  impunity.

Download the briefing here

Briefing for House of Commons Adjournment Debate on Corporate Governance and Social Responsibility

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

Globally, billions of people are touched by multinational companies’ international operations and supply chains. One in six workers is part of a multinational company value chain and over two billion people are affected by companies’ supply chain operations. Despite this, there are significant governance gaps that can have serious social and environmental consequences domestically and internationally, threatening the reputation of UK plc.

This briefing has been prepared for the House of Commons Adjournment Debate on Corporate Governance and Social Responsibility, 14 December 2016. It calls for companies to be required to conduct due diligence to prevent harm to people and the environment, changes to directors’ duties and corporate liability laws, making it easier to prosecute companies and directors for serious malpractice.

 

Download the briefing here >>

Briefing for House of Lords 8 Dec. debate on the case for maintaining the balance between rights and responsibilities in the corporate sector

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

This briefing was prepared by CORE on behalf of our partner organisations and presents steps to ensure UK companies act responsibly. In the last decade, major companies have been linked to serious abuses around the world, giving rise to a huge financial and trust deficit.

In 2016, the UK government published a Business and Human Rights Action Plan but the voluntary measures outlined are insufficient to deter and sanction serial corporate offending. The government should now take steps to introduce legislation to prevent and punish corporate malpractice internationally; provide access to remedy for victims who have been subject to corporate abuse; and ensure criminal sanctions for companies which commit the most serious crimes.

Download the briefing here >>

Briefing for second reading of Modern Slavery (Transparency in Supply Chains) Bill - 8 July 2016

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

This briefing has been prepared on behalf of a coalition of human rights, development and anti-slavery civil society organisations that campaigned for the inclusions of the supply chain reporting requirement in the Modern Slavery Act. The Bill offers an important opportunity to enhance the supply chain reporting requirement in the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

The coalition welcomes the provisions that are set out in the Bill. The Bill would require commercial organisations and public bodies to include a statement on slavery and human trafficking in their annual report and accounts (Clause 1); and contracting authorities to exclude from procurement procedures economic operators who have not provided such a statement (Clause 2).

The coalition believes that if the UK Government is to continue to be an international leader on action against modern slavery, then government itself must be bound by the reporting requirement.  It should also publish a list of companies that are covered by the requirement – this data exists and publishing it would assist investors, campaigners and the media in scrutinising and holding to account all companies on their slavery and human trafficking statements, not just those who are well known names.

Download the briefing here>>

Open letter to brands and retailers purchasing Assam tea - TEAM UP 2016

Monday, June 13th, 2016

Open letter from civil society organisations to brands and retailers purchasing Assam tea attending the TEAM UP 2016 conference on tea and sustainability, regarding raising wages in Assam and request to remove litigation in the Guwahati High Court preventing updated minimum wage payments on Assam tea estates.

Download the report »

A "4x10" plan for why and how to unlock the potential of the OECD Guidelines

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

In June 2016, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (“the Guidelines)– the OECD’s flagship instrument on responsible business conduct – will celebrate its 40th anniversary. Periodic updates to the Guidelines have sought to keep them relevant and in step with changing times. The most recent update in 2011 extended the scope of the Guidelines and achieved improvements in the areas of human rights, due diligence, and value chain responsibility. Although governments adhering to the Guidelines have made a legally-binding commitment to set up National Contact Points to further their effectiveness, implementation remains patchy at best.

On the occasion of this milestone anniversary, governments must demonstrate their commitment to making the Guidelines a relevant tool for governing today’s global economy. In this briefing paper OECD Watch provides a “4 x 10” bullet-point plan highlighting four key features that give the Guidelines the potential to help ensure businesses behave responsibly. It also includes ten actions that governments must take to unlock that potential and to advance their legally binding obligations to further the effectiveness of the Guidelines.

Download the briefing here>>

EIA, Indigenous Groups write letter calling for removal of United Cacao Ltd. from LSE

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

In a sign-on letter sent to the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM), over 60 indigenous organizations and NGOs from Peru, Europe, and the United States raise grave concerns related to ongoing illegal deforestation for palm oil and cacao in the Peruvian Amazon by United Cacao Limited SEZC. The groups have called for the company to be immediately removed from trading on AIM, citing the company’s breaches of AIM rules and illegal clear-cutting of Peruvian rainforest.

The letter was released during an international press conference in London on the morning of May 4, 2016 with indigenous and community leaders visiting the European Union to highlight impacts of palm oil supply chains on communities and forests. Alongside the letter, the Environmental Investigation Agency also published a detailed evidence briefing, including dozens of photos, satellite images, and primary source documents from Peruvian government entities which contradict claims made by United Cacao Ltd. and surface serious omissions of relevant information.

Download the letter here>>

Civil society letter to the Member States representatives in COHOM (Working Group on Human Rights of the Council of the EU).

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

On the 20 April 2016  ECCJ, Amnesty International, CIDSE, FIDH and Friends of the Earth Europe sent a letter to the Member States representatives in COHOM (the permanent Working Group on Human Rights of the Council of the EU).

The Dutch Presidency has committed to include recommendations on Business and HR in the conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council taking place in June, offering an opportunity to move the EU and MS agendas forward. The letter aims to recall the importance and urgency of a stronger political action, and share civil society’s main recommendations on how to do that.

Download the letter here

Beyond Compliance: Effective reporting under the Modern Slavery Act 2015

Monday, March 7th, 2016

This guidance has been prepared by civil society groups that campaigned for the transparency in supply chains reporting requirement in the Modern Slavery Act 2015. It sets out our initial thinking on how companies can use the new provision to link reporting to the wider due diligence needed to eradicate human trafficking, forced labour and slavery from their supply chains.

Download the Civil Society Guidance on the Modern Slavery Act here [pdf]

UK Modern Slavery Act: Register of slavery & human trafficking corporate statements released to date

Monday, March 7th, 2016

In this briefing CORE Coalition and the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre review the corporate statements on slavery and human trafficking that have been released to date to comply with the UK Modern Slavery Act. It reviews the 75 statements found, and their compliance with the Act’s reporting requirements.

Download the Report >>

Gender and Development Network submission to the review of the UK National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

The paper highlights the gender-specific impacts of business on women’s human rights which frequently tend to be overlooked, and makes a case for strengthening policy coherence between the UK government’s commitments on women’s rights, the business and human rights agenda, and its rapidly expanding focus on promoting the role of the private sector in development.

 

 Download the full submission >>

 Download a summary of the submission >>

ECCJ reaction to the European Commission and External Action Service Staff Working Document on UNGPs implementation

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

In this briefing the European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ) reacts to the publication of the European Commission’s Staff Working Document (SWD) on the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).

Click here for the ECCJ briefing >>

Click here for ECCJ’s website >>

Key Principles for the 2015 Review of the UK Government’s Business and Human Rights Action Plan

Friday, March 20th, 2015

This paper sets out proposals for the revision and evaluation of the UK National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, identifying priority themes and content to be considered as part of the review.

Download the report

A Conflict Minerals Regulation that Works - Coalition briefing

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Strengthening the European Commission’s proposal for a “Regulation setting up a union system for supply chain due diligence self-certification of responsible importers of tin, tantalum and tungsten, their ores, and gold originating in conflict-affected and high-risk areas”

Download the report »

ETI & BRC on Modern Slavery Bill

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

ETI (Ethical Trading Initiative) and BRC (British Retail Consortium) welcome the Modern Slavery Bill and the UK Government’s commitment to eradicate the abuse and exploitation of workers, both in this country and globally.  ETI and BRC members have focused their efforts influencing the Bill in three areas:

  • Transparency in Supply Chains Clause
  • Gangmasters Licensing Authority, labour inspection and enforcement of standards
  • Role and remit of the Anti-Slavery Commissioner

Download the report »

Modern Slavery Bill - Lords 2nd reading - 13 Nov 2014

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

This briefing has been prepared on behalf of a coalition of corporate accountability, fair trade, development and anti-slavery groups who are campaigning for effective measures on supply chain transparency to be included in the Bill.

The coalition strongly supports the Government’s introduction at Report Stage in the House of Commons of a measure to address transparency in the supply chain in respect of modern slavery. However, the Bill’s amendment must be strengthened in several areas if it is to be effective, including: i) coverage, ii) minimum requirements of the provision, iii) reporting requirements, and iv) monitoring and enforcement.

TISC signatories

Download the report »

Coalition briefing for Modern Slavery Bill Report Stage - 3 Nov 2014

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

A coalition of corporate accountability and anti-slavery groups are campaigning for effective measures on supply chain transparency to be include in the Modern Slavery Bill.

This briefing supports, in principle, the Government’s proposed measure to address transparency in supply chains. However, the current amendment needs to set out clear principles for what companies need to report.

Download the report »

Robust EU legislation on responsible mineral sourcing

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Recommendations to strengthen the European Commission’s proposal for a ‘regulation setting up a Union system for supply chain due diligence self-certification of responsible importers of tin, tantalum and tungsten, their ores, and gold originating in conflict affected and high-risk areas’

Download the report »

Doing Business Better - CORE's manifesto

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Recommendations for Political Leadership on Corporate Accountability and Sustainability

The UK has taken some significant steps to address irresponsible corporate behaviour and to meet the growing expectations of ethical business standards from consumers and investors. In 2013 the UK put corporate transparency on the G8’s agenda and became the first country to release a National Action Plan to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Political will is needed now to translate policy commitments into practical changes.

There is no shortage of opportunities to make a difference. CORE’s manifesto, Doing Business Better, lays out its expectations from government.

Summary of Recommendations

  • Effective International and Regional Frameworks – The UK Government should use its influence internationally to make more progress on corporate tax avoidance and to put human rights at the centre of investment treaties.
  • Policy coherence on responsible business – Citizens and Businesses are looking for clarity from government on what’s expected from companies. Genuine policy coherence will reinforce responsible business practices.
  • Safer Supply Chains – Greater transparency in the supply chains of large companies will raise standards and give consumers and investors the assurances that they are looking for on social and environmental issues.
  • Access to Justice for Victims of Corporate Abuse – Despite numerous allegations of UK corporate misconduct in developing countries, it remains extremely difficult for communities to hold multinationals to account. Action must be taken in the UK to address this.

The run-up to the 2015 General Election is the time for political parties to join the conversation.

Download the report »

Assessment of the NFR reform-short public version

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

In April 2014 the European Parliament ratified the Directive on non-financial reporting. This briefing, prepared by ECCJ,  is an assessment of the EU Directive on the disclosure of non-financial information by certain large companies.

Download the report »

A Pattern of Abuse: Human Rights at Risk at the North Mara Mine, Tanzania

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

A briefing for investors and equity analysts from RAID (Rights and Accountability in Development), Mining Watch Canada, London Mining Network and CORE on human rights incidents at African Barrick Gold’s North Mara Mine in Tanzania.

Download the report »

Statement re. UK government position on EU Council negotiations on proposal for disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by certain large companies and groups - 2013/0110(COD)

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

The EU Council is currently negotiating this important proposal on how the largest companies report. We consider this reform a vital step towards improving corporate accountability and transparency, and implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Download the report »

Good Business? Analysis of the UK Government Action Plan on Business & Human Rights

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

The UK broke new ground in becoming the first State to produce a National Action Plan for the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In this new analysis, CORE identifies the positive proposals, the missing elements and some of the policies that are threatening to undermine the government’s stated commitment to business and human rights.

Download the report »

Legal Aid briefing: Lords’ report stage

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

CORE called for amendments to be made to this Bill to ensure that it would not undermine the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Despite this it was passed unchanged, giving irresponsible multinational corporations more power to violate the rights of poor and vulnerable communities in developing countries with impunity.

Download the report »

Legal Aid briefing: Lords’ third reading

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Bill reached its 3rd reading in the House of Lords in April 2011. CORE called for the Bill to be amended to safeguard access to justice for victims of corporate human rights abuses.

Download the report »

Implications of the Jackson reforms for human rights cases against multinational companies

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Following a review by Lord Justice Jackson in 2009, the UK government proposed wide-ranging reforms to the costs regime for civil litigation. This briefing note explains the negative consequences of the reforms for human rights court cases against multinational corporations.

Download the report »

A Starter for 10

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Ten of the key issues, opportunities and discussion points on UK business, human rights and the environment, based on the premise that there is no single silver bullet to improving UK businesses’ human rights and environmental impacts.

Download the report »

Core Values: Why the UK needs a Commission for Business, Human Rights and the Environment

Friday, April 15th, 2011

CORE is proposing a new body to address the human rights and environmental impacts of UK companies when operating abroad. Based on a detailed review of possible reforms for existing mechanisms, CORE proposes that the Government should create a specialised Commission for Business, Human Rights and the Environment that would have coordinating, capacity-building and informational roles, while also operating as a dispute resolution body.

Download the report »

The Companies Act 2006: Directors’ Duties Guidance

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

David Chivers QC

To assist company directors to understand their obligations under the Companies Act 2006, CORE produced this guide, which pays particular attention to the new codification of the ‘duty to promote the success of the company’.

Download the report »

Act Now! A Campaigners Guide to the Companies Act 2006

Monday, October 1st, 2007

To mark the implementation of The Companies Act, CORE and the Trade Justice Movement  published ‘Act Now! A campaigners guide to the Companies Act’. The guide was sent with an open letter Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Download the report »

Make UK Business Work for People and Planet

Monday, September 25th, 2006

CORE and TJM

This briefing offers a concise breakdown of the changes to the Companies Bill that CORE and TJM were calling for.

Download the report »

Modernising Company Law: meeting the stakeholders challenge

Sunday, September 25th, 2005

The Corporate Responsibility (CORE) Coalition argues that UK Company Law must reflect the interests of affected stakeholders, not just shareholders.

Download the report »

From Red Tape to Road Signs

Monday, November 1st, 2004
The Corporate Responsibility (CORE) Coalition

‘Red tape’ is the common phrase used by business to argue against any form of regulation. This booklet challenges the assertions made by business and provides a better understanding of what ‘red tape’ really is.

Download the report »