A Commission plan about how the EU can make companies more accountable is a step towards ending the global damage European businesses cause people and planet, according to the European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ). However, the plans to improve corporate social responsibility (CSR), unveiled by the European Commission today in the CSR Communication, miss the opportunity to make real progress that would help victims of EU-based companies find justice and hold companies accountable for their impacts.
New rules proposed today by the European Commission will shed light on betting on food commodities by financial traders, but will not do enough to prevent speculation from fuelling high and volatile food prices. The warning comes from environment and development groups in a joint reaction to the new draft Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) and accompanying regulation.
Brussels, July 18, 2011– The European Commission is expected to release the names of seven voluntary certification schemes tomorrow, approved to certify biofuels according to the 'sustainability criteria' set out in the Renewable Energy Directive. This follows a lawsuit filed by environmental law organisation ClientEarth, Friends of the Earth Europe (FOEE), FERN and Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) against the Commission's refusal to provide access to information regarding the approval of such schemes.
Over 70,000 citizens' signatures and the supporting pledge of 140 policy makers were handed over to Commissioner for Trade and Enterprise, Antonio Tajani, marking the climax of the 'Rights for People, Rules for Business' Campaign in 2011. European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ) Board Members Paul de Clerck, Antonio Manganella and Filip Gregor joined Amnesty International Europe representative Nele Meyer to meet with Commissioner Tajani, and discuss the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Communication before its release the following autumn.
Brussels, 12 July – More than 73,000 EU citizens and 140 elected representatives and MEPs have signed a petition, to be delivered to the European Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, vice president Antonio Tajani today, calling on the Commission to hold companies operating in the EU legally accountable for any harm they cause to people and the environment around the world .
Members of the European Parliament voted today on the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR), the first ever legislative proposal put forward by the European Commission to regulate 'Over-The-Counter' (OTC) derivatives markets. NGOs welcome the agreed text as a first step to tackle excessive speculation in agriculture commodities by providing for transparency in completely opaque trillion Euro trade fuelling food price volatility and endangering the food security of millions in developing countries.
Friends of the Earth France and ATTAC launched the joint campaign 'Banks are ours!' today, with local groups in Antony (Hauts-de-Seine) and Paris 13e bringing a game of Bancopoly to Antony's market.
The group involved passersby in the game to learn more about their own banks, and to compare their bank's investments with the social and environmental impacts, while promoting alternatives – such as ethical and transparent banks.
As part of our work for greater corporate accountability, together with Friends of the Earth International and Friends of the Earth Netherlands, we published a parody erratum to Shell's sustainability report, in which Shell apologises for all previous wrong-doings. We distributed the spoof erratum amongst shareholders at Shell's AGM today in The Hague, drawing attention to their flagrant green-washing. In the erratum, Shell 'admits' that it is "causing a lot of unwanted and unnecessary damage" in its global oil, gas and agrofuels operations.
As part of our ongoing sustainable finance work (see, for example, the European Commission consultation responses we have submitted), Friends of the Earth Europe has co-founded the first watchdog focusing on EU financial regulation.
'Finance Watch''s mission is to strengthen the voice of society in the reform of financial regulation by conducting citizen advocacy and presenting public interest arguments to lawmakers and the public. It will act as a counterweight to the private interest lobbying of the financial industry.
In Brussels at the weekend, 2,000 demonstrators marked the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster and demanded the acceleration of the phase out of nuclear power in Belgium.
The event was organised by Friends of the Earth Flanders & Brussels, and the newly formed movement for climate and social justice ‘Climaxi’, amongst others.
The demonstration demanded that Electrabel pay the price for the transformation to a sustainable, renewable-based, economy.