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You are here: Home / Media / Archive / 2003 / 0516

0516

G8 DROPS PLAN FOR BUSINESS STANDARDS, FAILS DEVELOPING NATIONS

MAY 16, 2003 - PARIS (FRANCE) -- Leaders of the G8 group of
countries* have abandoned plans to announce a ‘Charter of Principles
for a Responsible Market Economy’, Friends of the Earth International
revealed today. The news emerges as G8 Finance Ministers meet today in
Deauville, France, in preparation for the G8 Summit of Heads of State
in the French Alpine resort of Evian from June 1-3.

French President Jacques Chirac had prioritized ‘Corporate Social
Responsibility’ as an issue at the G8, but the ‘Charter of Principles’
proposal has been abandoned, throwing the G8’s agenda into disarray.
Since making a commitment to corporate accountability and
responsibility at last year’s United Nations Earth Summit in
Johannesburg, some G8 governments have pulled back from taking
measures to halt bad corporate practices.

The US and UK Governments claim that commitments they made at
the Johannesburg Summit relate to existing feeble voluntary measures
and not to the ‘full development’ of an international framework for
corporate accountability as promised. The G8 was set to make follow up
commitments to the Johannesburg commitments, and the “Charter of
Principles” was set to be a concrete centrepiece at the Evian Summit.

Instead of the ‘Charter of Principles’, G8 Finance Ministers and world
leaders are pressing for an investment agreement under the World Trade
Organization (WTO) which would secure more rights for multinationals
to take developing world countries to court if these countries try to
improve operating standards or favour national enterprises.

“It looks as though the power and influence of big business is taking
precedence over the rights of affected citizens and communities. The
G8 leaders are walking away from the promises they made just a few
months ago in Johannesburg,” said Helene Ballande of Friends of the
Earth France in Paris.

“Multinationals from the G8 countries are involved in conflicts and
controversies all around the world. Leaders from the G8 countries must
ensure that corporations are properly held to account for their
offences,” Ballande added.

According to Bobby Peek of Friends of the Earth South Africa, “The G8
has invited a few developing countries to Evian this year, but the
reality is that this exclusive club of the richest nations is simply
failing all developing countries.”


*NOTE TO EDITORS: The G8 comprises Britain, Canada, France,
Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States.


FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Friends of the Earth in Paris, FRANCE: Helene Ballande:
+33-1- 48 513 222 (direct line) and + 33-6-77107125 (mobile)
Friends of the Earth in the US: Colleen Freeman: +1-202 7837 400
Friends of the Earth in the UK: Matt Phillips:
+44 7817 314 706 or (mobile); +44 20 7566 1660 (direct line)
Friends of the Earth in SOUTH AFRICA, Bobby Peek:
+27-33-342 5662 (direct line); +27-82-464 1383 (mobile)

 

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