The Ethical Council Annual Report 2013 – Impact through dialogues
Press Release, April 22, 2014
The Ethical Council is developing its preventive dialogues in order to get companies to act more responsibly and thereby reduce the risk that they violate international conventions. The focus areas for the Ethical Council in 2013 included human rights, business ethics and environmental issues in the telecom, pharmaceutical, tobacco and cocoa industry. The Ethical Council has seen several examples of dialogues as an effective tool for influencing companies to improve their sustainability performance. 2013 brought the Ethical Council in dialogue with 133 companies around the world. Furthermore the Ethical Council held, with the assistance of external consultants’ dialogue with 101 companies.
“In 2013, the Ethical Council has developed its process in preventive work with companies,” says Arne Lööw, Chair of the Ethics Council 2014. “In dialogue with the company, we see that there often are changes in the business environment and the company during the course of dialogue. New problems may apply, while other problems are solved. Therefore, we see that it is important that there is an improvement in the company, but to seek a specific solution to a problem. Simply put a more flexible working model that takes height for changes over time. ”
In 2013 eight reactive dialogues ended. With our new approach we were able to complete four dialogues where the objectives were met. In dialogues with AES, Toyota, Alstom and Veolia objectives where met in accordance with the Ethical Council’s intentions. AES now has policies in place for human rights tailored to each country’s legal structure. Toyota’s Philippine subsidiary now respect the right of employees to freedom of association and the right to organize. Alstom has sold their share of the tram project in the West Bank. Veolia has attempted to dispose their interest in a project on the West Bank, but sales have been delayed due to local authorities.
In four of the completed dialogues, assessed by the Ethical Council, continuing dialogues were not meaningful and therefore the Council recommended the AP funds to exclude the companies. Freeport McMoRan was excluded because of the serious negative environmental impacts at the Grasberg mine in Indonesia. Incitec Pivot and Potash intends to continue to buy and use phosphate from Western Sahara. Walmart shows no signs of improving their behavior regarding violations of workers’ rights. All funds followed the Ethical Council’s recommendations.
For more information please contact:
Arne Lööw, Chair of the Ethical Council 2014
Phone: +46 8 787 75 00
E-mail: info[at] ethicalcouncil.com