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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 7: European Parliament: Resolution on EU Standards for European Enterprises operating in Developing Countries: towards a European Code of Conduct, 1999


Commentary: The extracts below are derived from the ‘Report on European Union standards for European Enterprises operating in developing countries: towards a European Code of Conduct’ by Rapporteur Richard Howitt on behalf of the European Parliament’s Committee on Development and Cooperation, 17 December 1998, European Parliament Document Reference PE 228.198/DEF. The Explanatory Statement to the Resolution (A4-0508/98 (1999), OJEC C104/180) observes that the European Parliament ‘has consistently supported the need to develop and monitor codes of conduct for the corporate sector’, particularly in the context of human rights (1996), foreign direct investment within third States (1997) and fair trade (1998). It supports PVIs provided that they reflect internationally agreed minimum standards and are accompanied by appropriate monitoring systems. The Parliament has assumed ‘a more active role in standard-setting’ in the light of the number of European corporations lacking codes relative to their US counterparts, to strengthen its development assistance programme and to assist small businesses to respond to proliferating but inconsistent initiatives. An EU Code ‘could create a level playing field, reward best practice and drive up standards in underperforming companies’: Report of the EU Committee on Development and Cooperation, A4-0508/98 (1998). Consultations occurred with industry, trade unions, NGOs, indigenous groups, international organisations, academics and parliamentarians: see the Hearing on EU standards for European Enterprises operating in developing countries, Committee on Development and Cooperation, 1998. The Development Committee also held parliamentary hearings during 2000. A European Monitoring Platform provides for a complaints procedure and remedial action. It would receive and...

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