On regulating business

I almost could not believe what I have just heard today from CORE Coalition, UK: EU Parliament demands environmental and social regulation for business by passing a resolution earlier today (13/3/06) (Here is the news). This is truly a good news for me, and I believe, also for many people who want to see the corporate world acts more justly, responsibly and accountably.

Last year, the UK Parliament passed the Companies Act 2006 (8/11/06) which requires publicly listed companies to report not only on their financial/economic performance, but also economic and social performance (Here is the analysis. Also by CORE). Now, EU takes similar, even further, steps. European Parliament resolution, entitled “Corporate Social Responsibility: a new partnership”, urges the European Commission to extend legal obligations in relation to corporate accountability, such as directors’ duties, foreign direct liability and environmental and social reporting.

To me, this recalls two important things. One, the fact that business sector has played important role in the development cannot just be taken for granted for it also has contributed to the degradation of social life and environmental disaster. Profit motive is both vice and virtue. Two, business sector is therefore not a “sacred” sector which should enjoy the privilege of being exempted from public scrutiny and accountability measures. Business practice is subject to control and regulation.

One implication: corporate social responsibility might not suffice as a term, now … 🙂

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