However these companies lack any real accountability for the way they treat communities and the environment. The UK is a key player in the global economy and UK based companies can have a positive impact in terms of reducing poverty overseas. However, some UK companies have been involved in human rights abuses and/or significant environmental damage through their overseas operations. Currently there is a lack of both authoritative guidance for companies to avoid such negative impacts, as well as for solutions and accountability when such breaches occur. This void creates greater risk for people, the environment, and businesses — as well as the UK’s reputation as a whole. Better systems need to be introduced to ensure all UK companies respect human rights and protect the environment when operating abroad. You may remember our successful campaigning towards the Companies Act in 2006 which introduced directors’ duties and more transparency to the way MNCs work. But the biggest gap remaining in UK company law is still access to justice for victims of corporate abuse abroad. We believe the creation of a UK Business, Environment and Human Rights Commission by the Ministry of Justice is the most achievable way of plugging this gap.
51 of the world's 100 biggest economies are Multinational Corporations (MNCs) - they are richer, and often more powerful than governments.