ECGD changes cause upsetMay 2010
An open letter to the UK government attacking its plans to abolish CSR requirements on foreign investment projects has been written by Mary Robinson, chair of the Institute for Human Rights and Business.
Robinson has expressed concern over proposals by the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) to make changes to the environmental, social and human rights due diligence requirements that it imposes on companies.
She says there is particular concern that the reform proposals, if approved, ‘could result in any future screening for child and forced labour being entirely discretionary for projects of a certain size and duration’. This would ‘significantly weaken’ the protection that ECGD offers in these areas.
The ECGD, which provides billions of pounds of public funds every year as insurance for UK companies bidding for contracts in foreign countries, introduced ethical due diligence clauses in 2001.
A UK-based anti-corruption non governmental organization, The Corner House, is threatening to mount a legal challenge to the government’s changes. It says it intends to request a judicial review of the decision to drop human rights and child labour specifications.
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