CNCA Statement: Prime Minister Harper Urged to Show Leadership on Corporate Social Responsibility - June 11, 2007

The Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) commends the G8 for addressing the issue of corporate social responsibility (CSR) during its summit last week.  The CNCA is encouraged that particular emphasis was placed on the operations of mining, oil and gas companies. 

Allegations of serious human rights violations committed by Canadian extractive companies in developing countries have prompted Canadians to call for clear, legally-binding standards.

G8 leaders expressed concern that, “in some cases, (...) extraction and processing of resources are associated with misuse of revenues, environmental destruction, armed conflict and state fragility,” and identified the need for “further enhancing the contribution of mineral resources to sustainable growth.”

The heads of state called for the development of a “consolidated set of principles and guidelines” that apply to the international mining sector in developing countries to ensure that the sector contributes to development.  They emphasized that all stakeholders be involved to build consensus around appropriate standards for the mining sector.

In Canada, such consensus was recently reached among industry and civil society representatives through a national consultation process on the Canadian extractive sector in developing countries.  Prime Minister Harper highlighted the consultation as a Canadian initiative that is supportive of G8 objectives. The Prime Minister affirmed that “implementation of the recommendations from this process will place Canada among the most active G8 countries in advancing international guidelines and principles on corporate social responsibility (CSR) in this sector.”

The CNCA calls on Prime Minister Harper to seize this opportunity for global leadership and adopt the Canadian CSR Roundtable recommendations, including the Canadian CSR Standards and accompanying guidelines.  Canadians lead the world as investors in extractive operations; it’s time we showed similar leadership with our environmental, social and human rights practices.     

June 11, 2007