BIG BUSINESS AND
I have been appointed as the European Parliament's
spokesperson on Corporate Social Responsibility and have
used this position to secure a very important personal goal; to
ensure that big businesses are made to act in a responsible way.
The way multinationals operate right across the
world, but particularly in developing countries can have a devastating
effect on our environment and on local communities.
I drove legislation through the
European Parliament that will ensure businesses have to report annually
on the impacts of their work and have to meet a set of common standards.
I agree wholeheartedly with the concerns that
many of my constituents have expressed about the big companies who
shut down overnight, frustrate legitimate efforts to organise trade
unions, or who profit from notorious cases of abuse overseas.
It's important though to praise businesses
that have set good examples, not least because this enables consumers
to vote with their wallets, encouraging the more ruthless corporate
bodies to mend their ways.
When it comes to business ethics I try
extremely hard to practice what I preach. You will never find a
jar of Nescafe coffee on my kitchen shelf because I abhor the way
Nestle promotes baby milk to mothers in developing countries.