Christians tackle Labour over corporate responsibility - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
September 28, 2004

Christians tackle Labour over corporate responsibility

-28/9/04

The Christian Socialist Movement (CSM) has dedicated its latest magazine to the issue of ëcorporate social responsibilityí and contains criticism of the governmentís approach to companies on their social and environmental impact.

91% of those who took part in a CSM survey earlier in the year believe the government should legislate to force companies to behave in a more responsible way. An even larger percentage, 97%, claimed that ethical issues influenced their decisions about which products to buy. Most (95%) are prepared to pay at least 25% more for products made by socially responsible companies.

The publication demonstrates the breadth of opinion present within the UK Labour Government on how best to encourage companies to become more responsible. Andy King, MP for Rugby and Kenilworth, argues that new legislation is needed to compel companies to report on their progress in raising social and environmental standards.

However the CSR Minister, Stephen Timms, firmly rejects the need to legislate. Timms writes, "I do not agree that the answer is to pass laws. Even if we could come up with a viable legislative formulation it would wreck the goodwill and innovation in UK CSR".

Editor Beth Breeze says, "CSR is in danger of becoming a meaningless TLA (three letter acronym). No one disagrees with the suggestion that business should act more responsibly. But disputes arise the moment we try to put flesh on that uncontroversial bone.î

The governmentís approach is to lavish praise on companies that are demonstrably striving to be more responsible but it may be time to do less backslapping and more arm-twisting, says CSM, which is affiliated to the Labour Party but tries to maintain critical distance too.

Christians tackle Labour over corporate responsibility

-28/9/04

The Christian Socialist Movement (CSM) has dedicated its latest magazine to the issue of ëcorporate social responsibilityí and contains criticism of the governmentís approach to companies on their social and environmental impact.

91% of those who took part in a CSM survey earlier in the year believe the government should legislate to force companies to behave in a more responsible way. An even larger percentage, 97%, claimed that ethical issues influenced their decisions about which products to buy. Most (95%) are prepared to pay at least 25% more for products made by socially responsible companies.

The publication demonstrates the breadth of opinion present within the UK Labour Government on how best to encourage companies to become more responsible. Andy King, MP for Rugby and Kenilworth, argues that new legislation is needed to compel companies to report on their progress in raising social and environmental standards.

However the CSR Minister, Stephen Timms, firmly rejects the need to legislate. Timms writes, "I do not agree that the answer is to pass laws. Even if we could come up with a viable legislative formulation it would wreck the goodwill and innovation in UK CSR".

Editor Beth Breeze says, "CSR is in danger of becoming a meaningless TLA (three letter acronym). No one disagrees with the suggestion that business should act more responsibly. But disputes arise the moment we try to put flesh on that uncontroversial bone.î

The governmentís approach is to lavish praise on companies that are demonstrably striving to be more responsible but it may be time to do less backslapping and more arm-twisting, says CSM, which is affiliated to the Labour Party but tries to maintain critical distance too.

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