What’s the problem?
Irresponsible UK companies are getting away with seriously harming people and the environment around the world. Many hide behind complex corporate structures to evade responsibility for their risks and impacts.
Self-regulation and voluntary measures are insufficient to address harmful practises. Government must to put in place effective laws and policies to require all companies uphold human rights and environmental standards.
What’s CORE doing about it?
We are calling for reforms to hold companies accountable for their abuses.
Human rights due diligence (HRDD) and parent company liability
Key reading: campaign statement – publications
CORE and partners are campaigning to require companies to take action to prevent abuses throughout their domestic and international operations and supply chains, and to hold them to account when they fail to act.
We are calling for UK legislation to make human rights and environmental due diligence a legal obligation for companies. This means a company would need to take action to avoid risks and mitigate negative impacts on people and planet.
CORE is also supporting the proposals to develop an international treaty on business and human rights. This would create a binding global framework that holds companies responsible for abuses committed under their watch, including a requirement to put in place HRDD.
Criminal liability for corporations
Key reading: our amendment to the Criminal Finances Bill and submission to the Government’s consultation on economic crime
We are also calling for an overhaul of the UK’s corporate liability regime, to make it easier for companies to be prosecuted for global corruption and human rights abuses.
Under current laws, prosecutors must prove that senior board level executives actively intended misconduct to occur. This is known as the ‘controlling mind’ test and makes it near impossible to prosecute large firms.
One option for reform would be to introduce corporate offences of failure to prevent economic crime and human rights abuses, similar to the failure prevent bribery offence created by the Bribery Act 2010. An alternative would be to make companies vicariously liable for these offences. Both models would place the onus on multinational parent companies to have procedures in place to prevent misconduct occurring.
Accountability within companies
Key reading: blogs
CORE is supporting calls for desperately needed reform of corporate structures and business models.
We support legal requirements for companies to be accountable to more than just shareholders – but also to workers and other affected stakeholders.