Green Liberal Democrats back Corporate Responsibility Bill
The Green Liberal Democrats have decided to back the Corporate Responsibility Coalition's Corporate Responsibility Bill in light of last week's publication of the Private Members Bill ballot in the House of Commons.
This ballot determines which MPs will be allocated time in the House to sponsor a Private Members Bill of their own. Liberal Democrat Energy Spokesperson Andrew Stunell has topped the poll.
The Corporate Responsibility Bill calls for big business to take greater care in looking after the environment. It calls for:
- Better reporting: Companies should report any major impacts they've had on people and the environment. Use this to improve each year.
- More than profits: Directors should have a duty to reduce the damage their companies do - rather than maximise profits at any cost.
- Better protection overseas: Help ensure companies who damage the environment or communities abroad can be held liable by the people affected.
The Bill already has the backing of more than 300 MPs and has a real chance of being made law.
Green Liberal Democrats Chair Mark Hinnells said:
"The Green Liberal Democrats have been involved in several campaigns to promote Private Members' Bills in recent years, most notably in Don Foster's Road Traffic Reduction Act and Diana Maddock's Home Energy Conservation Act. More recently, we worked with Andrew Stunell in getting members to lobby their MPs to back the recently-passed Sustainable Energy Act.
"We are keen to score a hat trick and to that end are encouraging Green Liberal Democrats, Party Members and members of the public to demonstrate to Andrew the level of support for the Corporate Responsibility Bill."
The Green Lib Dems are encouraging people to do three things:
- Sign their online petition form to Andrew urging him to support the Corporate Responsibility Bill.
- Write to Andrew personally (by post, not email!), encouraging him to sponsor the Bill.
- Spread the word and encourage as many other people as possible to do the same.
"Our record on the environment has proven to be highly popular with voters and this Bill could form a major strand of Liberal Democrat campaigning throughout 2004. We believe this will reap dividends during the next year's local and European Elections," Mark said.
- Sample letter:
Note, this letter has been written assuming that the author of the Liberal Democrats. Please rewrite this into your own words, adapting it as you see fit, and send it to: Andrew Stunell MP, House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA.
Congratulations on your success in the Private Members' Ballot. Now that you have the opportunity to introduce a new law, I am writing to ask you to introduce the Corporate Responsibility Bill. I understand from Friends of the Earth that over 300 MPs have now declared support for Corporate Responsibility, and believe that you could use this support to make this important new policy happen.
The Liberal Democrats have an enviable record in supporting important Private Members' Bills in recent years and as a party member I am keen to see us continue the trend set by Diana Maddock's Home Energy Conservation Act and Don Foster's Road Traffic Reduction Act.
Corporate Responsibility is an issue that resonates with voters - ensuring a fair playing field in which communities and the environment succeed as much as business, makes sense. The measure is well supported by grassroots organisations such as Friends of the Earth, Christian Aid, Amnesty International and WWF who are already working with communities to help them bring about this fair playing field. Church groups of all denominations, unions such as the TUC and UNISON, membership organisations such as the National Federation of Women's Institutes and charities like War on Want all support this Bill and will support you in your endeavours to make it Law.
In our 2001 General Election Manifesto, we pledged to "Encourage ethical business practice … We will require the largest companies to report on their social and environmental performance."
The Corporate Responsibility Bill will help make this a reality.
With such broad support inside and outside Parliament the Bill, if introduced, would stand an excellent chance of becoming law within a year. I look forward to hearing from you as to whether you would happily take this up as a Ballot Bill.