Labour member of the UK Parliament, Linda Perham, has tabled a proposal for a corporate ethics bill. It would make environmental and social reporting a legal requirement.
The proposed bill aims to make it mandatory for companies to provide yearly social, environmental and financial reporting. It would also require companies to consult stakeholders on big projects, and it would establish a new regulatory body to oversee environmental and social standards in the UK.
The proposed bill is being introduced at a time when the debate on mandatory reporting regulations is high on the agenda both nationally and in the EU. Mrs Perham’s initiative is a reaction to the lack of voluntary reporting initiatives in the UK. In 2000, the Prime Minister Tony Blair challenged the UK’s top 350 companies to produce social and environmental reports on a voluntary basis by 2001. Over 75% of the companies did not respond at all.
Mrs Perham states that 170 UK MPs have already expressed their support for the new bill. NGOs, such as Amnesty and Save the Children are also backing the proposal, while the British industry states that mandatory rules might stifle innovation.