Campaigners thank North West MEP for backing tough action on irresponsible companies

29th November 2013
news
release

Greater Manchester campaigners thanked Arlene McCarthy MEP for backing tough action to make companies come clean about their effect on people and the environment in a meeting in Manchester today.

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L-R: Elizabeth Shepherd (Bolton FOE), Arlene McCarthy MEP, Ali Abbas (Manchester FOE)

The group welcomed the MEP’s support for strengthening a proposed EU law – which would mean that for the first time companies have to report on the most serious risks their operations pose throughout their supply chain, including accidents and problems in factories, mines and farms.

The potentially game-changing new law on Non-Financial Company Reporting is currently being debated in the European Parliament. British MEPs like Arlene McCarthy have a crucial role to play in ensuring it is stringent enough to ensure companies take responsibility for the impact of how they do business.

Ali Abbas from Manchester Friends of the Earth said:

“Too often the way that our favourite products are made involves appalling conditions for workers as well as serious damage to the environment.

“We’re asking our MEPs to stand up for a strong new law that would mean companies have to come clean about what they do and how they do it.

“This proper understanding of their supply chains would help companies to design better products, so we can feel confident that the things we buy are made without hurting people or the environment.”

Arlene McCarthy MEP said:

“Companies relying on parts and labour from around the world should be responsible for the impact of their operations.  How companies disclose the impact of their operations is an important indicator of strong corporate governance.

“I’m working with NGOs to get the EU to adopt tough new laws that will require companies to disclose any significant human rights and environmental impacts and risks throughout their supply chains.  EU corporate social responsibility disclosure rules will expand the toolkit available to investors and citizens for spotting risky corporate behaviour that is often not possible to detect using traditional financial models.”

Strong new EU company laws would help prevent tragedies like the deaths of Rana Plaza garment-factory workers in Bangladesh – and make it easier to hold companies to account for their impact.

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. High-resolution photos available at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/manchesterfoe/sets/72157638176886063/

2. Further information – see our EU briefing on the Make it Better law at http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/make_it_better_law.pdf, and our website at www.foe.co.uk/makeitbetter

3. Thousands of people have joined Friends of the Earth’s Make It Better campaign, launched in November 2012, to help end problems in production. It calls for EU legislation requiring large companies to report on their full human and environmental impacts – including indirect impacts through suppliers – such as accidents, pollution incidents, greenhouse gas emissions and how much of the world’s water, land and raw materials they use. We’re also celebrating positive steps companies are taking towards more planet-friendly production and how innovative design can reduce the environmental impact of our favourite items.

4. Manchester Friends of the Earth is an award-winning environmental campaign group, raising awareness and lobbying for policy changes at a local, regional, national and international level. The group consists entirely of volunteers, and its campaigns are funded by membership fees and individual donations. Up-to-date information is available on the group’s website: www.manchesterfoe.org.uk.  Manchester Friends of the Earth is a Licensed Local Group of Friends of the Earth, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

5. Manchester Friends of the Earth has endorsed Manchester: A Certain Future, an action plan for the city of Manchester to cut its carbon emissions by at least 41% by 2020. For more information, visit www.manchesterclimate.com.