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John Ruggie calls on UK Business Secretary to push for "robust reporting standards" at EU level during discussions on proposed non-financial reporting directive

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22 January 2014

Cambodia shootings put firms on the spot

Author: Guardian Sustainable Business blog

The shooting of Cambodian garment factory workers on strike over low wages...is yet another example of the impact that making our clothes can have on people far away. It's right that clothing brands call for an investigation. But there are many problems linked to the making of our everyday products, from unfair pay and dangerous working conditions to environmental destruction. To help prevent these, a range of solutions is needed. A first step is greater transparency about the impacts companies have. It's disappointing, therefore, that the UK government is trying to water down proposed new EU rules requiring all large companies to report on these impacts...Vince Cable has the opportunity to show this by supporting strong EU regulation to ensure all large companies – both listed and unlisted – are required to report on their full supply chains, in compliance with the UN guiding principles on business and human rights. [Signed by Peter Frankental Economic relations programme director, Amnesty International; Neil Thorns Director of advocacy, Cafod; Kitty Ari Acting director of policy and advocacy, Christian Aid; Marilyn Croser Coordinator, Core Coalition; Andy Atkins Executive director, Friends of the Earth; Philippa Bonella Head of communications and education, SCIAF; Catherine Howarth CEO, Share Action; Nicola Smith Head, economic and social affairs department, TUC; Trevor Hutchings Director, UK and EU advocacy, WWF-UK]

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22 January 2014

[PDF] The European Commission’s proposal on the disclosure of non-financial information by companies

Author: John Ruggie (Professor at Harvard Kennedy School of Government, chair of Shift, former UN Special Representative on business & human rights)

Discussions at EU level on the proposed non-financial reporting directive are reaching their conclusion. This presents a significant opportunity to put in place a requirement that is likely to improve the way companies report on their social and environmental impacts. Given that the UK has recently taken the very positive step of amending its own legislation to require company directors to reflect human rights issues in their Strategic Report, it would make sense for the UK to push for similarly robust reporting standards at EU level.

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