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Case #152

Promoting Corporate Responsibility through the Right to Know


International Right to Know legislation aims to expose corporate behavior. In a global economy, no corporation should be allowed to hide its record simply by operating overseas. No citizen, in any country, should be denied their right to know about business practices that affect their lives and the lives of their children.

Without visibility, there can be no accountability. We believe it is time to end the veil of secrecy that shrouds corporate behavior at home and abroad. International Right to Know legislation would give citizens of every country access to basic information about the environmental, labor and human rights practices of companies.

Recent protests at meetings of the World Trade Organization, World Bank and International Monetary Fund illustrate a growing concern about globalization and the actions of corporations. The public is increasingly aware that trade and investment agreements enable big business to move from country to country around the globe, but place no requirements on corporations to operate responsibly.

U.S. corporations should be held accountable for their impacts on the environment, human rights and workers around the world. A recent survey by the University of Maryland's Program on International Public Attitudes showed that nearly 90 percent of the American public expect U.S. companies to follow U.S. environmental and safety standards overseas.

A coalition of environmental, labor, social justice and human rights organizations has joined together to ensure that at a minimum, basic U.S. right-to-know laws are applied to the overseas operations of U.S. owned companies. Groups working on this initiative include EarthRights International, Friends of the Earth, Amnesty International, AFL-CIO, American Lands Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council, Community Right-to-Know Working Group, Natural Heritage Institute. We believe that the public here and abroad has a right to know how U.S. owned corporations are treating their workers, local communities, and the environment.

The coalition has developed an International Right To Know legislative proposal that would require U.S. corporations to report on their operations in foreign countries. This proposal would extend key domestic right-to-know laws in the environmental, labor, and human rights areas to the overseas operations of U.S. owned companies.


Location: U.S.A.
Action: Direct
Setting: Developed World
Extent of Action: Multi-Country
Issues: Environment, Human Rights, Corporate/Economic Abuses
Year(s): 2001
Outcome in progress
Source: Earth Rights International at www.earthrights.org


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Website: www.earthrights.org
Prepared By: rja, 10/01
Rating: 1
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