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Sherpa releases proposal paper with 46 ideas to foster transnational regulation of companies

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22 February 2010

Workers at Chinese mobile phone supplier poisoned by cleaning chemical

Author: Tania Branigan, Guardian [UK]

Workers at a Chinese factory [Wintek] that makes parts for mobile phone companies…have been in hospital for months after being poisoned by a chemical used in production…The owner of the plant says it stopped using the screen-cleaner n-hexane…last year after 47 workers were taken ill…A spokesman for Wintek said…that the company had paid the workers' medical bills…topped up with food and nutrition supplements amounting to more than their usual wage. In a statement, Nokia…said: "We became aware of the allegations regarding the use of n-hexane in July 2009 and started our investigation immediately. Although it was confirmed that the n-hexane was not used on our production lines at the supplier…we agreed on a development plan for health and safety management at …[the] factory and a series of corrective measures have been taken…"…A spokesperson for Apple confirmed that the company had received the Guardian's email queries, but no response was forthcoming…

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1 December 2010

[PDF] Regulating Transnational Companies - 46 proposals

Author: William Bourdon, Yann Queinnec, SHERPA

This Proposal Paper hopes to provide an explanation of the constraints and a series of proposals for a system of TNC regulation. This requires us to first set out the fundamental obstacles that make the question of regulating the activities of TNCs so problematic. The crisis in the financial system that hit economies worldwide proved the importance of regulating for-profit private and public transnational actors. The difficulties states have in agreeing to a common set of rules reflect the scale of the various factors that have to be reconciled if we are to prevent and repair damage to the environment and violations to basic rights...The interests that may be shaken up by some of the proposals outlined in this paper are powerful. Although they are factors of inertia, they are also waiting for a sign, which could come either in the form of “Business as usual ” or “Let’s work together to invent a new economy.” We cannot accept the status quo. Unequal access to wealth, learning, food security and water are some of the many issues that transnational corporations impact strategically...

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Author: William Bourdon, Yann Queinnec, SHERPA

L’ambition du présent Cahier de propositions est d’expliquer les contraintes et de dessiner des propositions pour une régulation des entreprises transnationales. Elle implique de dresser au préalable un état des lieux des obstacles fondamentaux qui rendent la question de la régulation de l’activité des ETN si problématique. Lacrise du système financier, qui frappe l’ensemble des économies du globe, a montré l’enjeu que représente la régulation d’acteurs transnationaux privés ou publics à but lucratif...Nous ne pouvons nous résoudre au statu quo. Les inégalités de richesse ou d’accès au savoir, la sécurité alimentaire ou l’accès à l’eau, sont autant de défis...sur lesquels les entreprises transnationales ont une influence stratégique.

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16 January 2012

China's Foxconn workers: from suicide threats to a trade union?

Author: Lijia Zhang, Guardian [UK]

[I]n Wuhan, in central China's Hubei province…up to 200 workers from the Microsoft Xbox production line of Foxconn (part of Hon Hai)…a major supplier of Apple…staged a strike...[and] threatened to kill themselves…In 2010…18 of their colleagues…did attempt suicide; 14 died. Some employees and labour organisations blamed a combination of factors for the workers' deaths: low wages, long working hours – sometimes up to 16 hours a day – and inhuman treatment...[However,] migrant workers [are] beginning to resist…This year, there has been a wave of factory revolts across six provinces in China…in southern China's Guangdong province…villagers staged well-organised protests…The intensive standoff ended…when top provincial leaders agreed to some of their demands...I hope China's leaders will really listen to the farmers, opening up more channels for them to express their grievances, and allowing some kind of independent labour union or at least a collective bargaining mechanism to ease the conflicts. And ultimately, they'll have to grant the same rights to those who make gadgets...[also refers to Honda]

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23 February 2012

[PDF] Sherpa releases 46 ideas to foster transnational regulation

Author: SHERPA

Corporate Social Responsibility is still seen by many companies as a communication tool, rather than involving a real change to their strategy and aims. As scandals over corporate activities keep hitting the headlines, French organisation SHERPA acknowledges the failure of self-regulation and increases its efforts towards implementation of CSR. SHERPA‘s new book “Regulating transnational companies – 46 proposals”, released today, is a valuable contribution to the on-going debate...46 Proposals explains in non-technical terms the mechanisms giving rise to both corporate impunity and citizens’ suspicion of the globalized economy and financial markets. The objective is to contribute to the debate over corporate accountability and suggest concrete solutions. Legal tools are not meant to weigh multinational corporations down, but to help turn CSR into a reality.

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