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International Documents on Corporate Responsibility

Edited by Stephen Tully

International Documents on Corporate Responsibility includes the principal international, regional and national instruments drafted by intergovernmental organisations or states as well as codes of conduct formulated by industry associations, trade unions and non-governmental organisations. The coverage includes the fields of human rights, international criminal and environmental law, labour standards, international trade, armed conflict, sustainable development, corruption, consumer protection and corporate governance. Each document is accompanied by a brief explanatory commentary outlining the historical origins of the instrument, the principal actors involved, controversial negotiation issues, applicable implementation procedure, and identifies further reference material.
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Chapter 5: Friends of the Earth International: Proposed International Convention on Corporate Accountability, 2002


Commentary: Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) is an international network of environmental NGOs spanning some 70 countries. It proposed an international convention at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002: see FoEI (2002), ‘Towards Binding Corporate Accountability: A FoEI Position Paper for the WSSD’, pdf). The Convention imposes additional directors’ duties with respect to reporting and prior consultation; extends corporate liability; establishes mechanisms for adversely affected stakeholders to obtain redress and secure access to justice; establishes community rights to natural resources; establishes minimum environmental, social, labour and human rights behavioural standards; introduces sanctions; extends the role of the International Criminal Court; improves monopoly controls; and establishes implementation mechanisms. Elements of Binding Corporate Accountability A framework for binding corporate accountability would (directly or indirectly): 1. Introduce Duties on Corporations Impose duties on publicly traded companies, their directors and board-level officers to: (i) report fully on their environmental and social impacts, on material risks and on breaches of environmental or social standards (such reports to be independently verified); (ii) ensure effective prior consultation with affected communities, including the preparation of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) for significant activities and full public access to all relevant documentation; and (iii) take the negative environmental and social impacts of their activities fully into account in their corporate decision making. 2. Extend Liability of Corporations Extend legal liability to directors for corporate breaches of national environmental and social laws and to directors and corporations for breaches of international laws or agreements. Introduce...

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