Issue 12 – July, 2011
ADOPTION OF THE UPDATED OECD GUIDELINES FOR MULTINATIONAL ENTERPRISES - On May 25, 2011, at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) annual Ministerial Council Meeting, the Update of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises was unanimously adopted by representatives of the 42 adhering countries. Representing Canada was the Honourable Ted Menzies, Canada's Minister of State for Finance. Led by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and with the integral support of other government departments and key stakeholder organizations, Canada contributed to the development of substantive updates throughout the text, including:
Key revisions were also made to the text on employment and industrial relations, anti-corruption, the environment, consumer interests, competition, and taxation. In addition, based on a submission by Canada, the updated Guidelines also include a new recommendation advising enterprises to undertake stakeholder engagement.
The updated text will help ensure the continued relevancy of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises as a leading global instrument of CSR. To view the updated text and to find more information about the Guidelines, please visit the OECD website.
IFC UPDATES PERFORMANCE STANDARDS ON SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY - On May 12, 2011, the International Finance Corporation announced that its Board of Directors approved updates to the Performance Standards on Social and Environmental Sustainability, concluding an 18-month comprehensive consultation process with stakeholder groups around the world. Since the Performance Standard's inception in 2006 they have become the de facto performance benchmark for projects in developing countries that require substantial financial investment. The update includes new environmental measures to enhance energy and water efficiency and target greenhouse-gas reduction in projects, as well as a new focus on supply chain management to ensure primary suppliers are not contributing to environmental degradation. For projects with potential significant adverse impacts on indigenous peoples, the IFC has adopted the principle of "Free, Prior, and Informed Consent" informed by the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The IFC's Performance Standards are the basis for the Equator Principles, a voluntary environmental and social risk-management framework used by 71 financial institutions worldwide, including Export Development Canada. For more information on the update please visit the IFC website.
NEW CAPACITY BUILDING INITIATIVE FROM CIDA - The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is working to support initiatives to build the capacity of developing countries to manage the development of minerals, oil, and gas, and to benefit from these resources to reduce poverty. From 2011 to 2015, CIDA will be implementing the new Regional Andean Initiative (ARI), a governance capacity building project that is designed to promote effective Corporate Social Responsibility in Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. The newly approved ARI, a $20 million project, seeks to strengthen national and local governments, as well as community capacity to plan, develop and implement sustainable development projects for the well-being of the population, and will enhance communities' capacity for engagement with extractive sector firms. Building capacity in host countries is one of four pillars of Canada's CSR Strategy for the Extractive Sector, Building the Canadian Advantage.
RECEIVE ONLINE UPDATES FROM THE CSR COUNSELLOR - You can now sign up online to receive updates directly from the Office of the Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor. Sign up at the Counsellor's website.
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA COMMITTED TO ANTI-CORRUPTION EFFORTS - In April 2008, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's (RCMP) set up two units mandated to investigate international corruption cases. An Ottawa-based team services the eastern region of the country, while a Calgary-based team services the west. Both International Anti-Corruption Units (IACU) investigate allegations of international corruption in accordance with the Criminal Code and the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA). The IACUs focus on detecting, investigating and preventing international corruption, including bribery, embezzlement and money laundering. Their main goal is to target public sector corruption. In an effort to raise awareness of the work they do, members of the IACU teams have identified at-risk companies and have approached them to offer education and guidance. They've also attended and made presentations at several local and international conferences and workshops. DFAIT employees and RCMP Liaison Officers deployed in other countries receive training on the CFPOA. To further publicize the work of the IACU, a flyer and a poster were developed and distributed to the public, both here in Canada and abroad. To report an offence under the CFPOA the RCMP can be reached at 613-993-6884 (east) or 403-699-2550 (west), or through the RCMP's Reporting Economic Crime On-Line website.
DFAIT'S CONTINUES CSR FUND FOR 2011/2012 - The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) has continued its dedicated fund of $250,000 for CSR initiatives in the 2011/2012 fiscal year. In the past two years, DFAIT has provided approximately $500,000 in funding to nearly 100 corporate social responsibility initiatives in over 30 countries around the world. The intention of the fund is to support the CSR initiatives of posts and regional offices, in advancing Canada's approach to CSR and enhancing the engagement of Trade Commissioners with Canadian business clients and local stakeholders, on corporate social responsibility. Funds have been allocated for a variety of initiatives at posts and regional offices around the world. For a list of some examples of projects previously supported by the CSR Fund please visit DFAIT's CSR website.
Albania - On March 7-8 the Canadian Embassy in Rome presented its inaugural initiative on CSR in Albania. The event consisted of a roundtable discussion with Canadian companies, Albanian government representatives and international institutions followed by a workshop attended by approximately 40 participants. This initiative was organised in close partnership with Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR) and Canada's local Honorary Consulate, with support from DFAIT's CSR Fund. The purpose of the initiative was to provide participants with an overview of how the Canadian government and Canadian companies are working to promote and implement socially and environmentally responsible practices at Canadian owned and operated extractive sector projects in Albania. The initiative also sought to provide the Albanian government with a better understanding Canada's efforts to promote CSR internationally. The event was praised by the Albanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and noted for being the first CSR event in Albania organized by a foreign government. Potential follow up activities include capacity building assistance to the Albanian government and network development with NGOs and local communities.
Algeria - In February the Canadian Embassy in Algiers partnered with a local organization, HAWKAMA El Djazair and Dr. Andrée De Serres, Professor at the School of Management at University of Quebec at Montreal and Director of the International Research Group in Financial and Fiduciary Ethics, to organize a series of events on CSR and Corporate Governance. The series built upon the Embassy's CSR workshop last April, and included a training session on corporate governance with a focus on finance and risk management; a session about the role of the media in CSR for local journalists; and a business seminar on "Corporate Governance in Emerging Economies".
WEF'S RESPONSIBLE MINERAL DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE RELEASES NEW RESEARCH REPORT - The World Economic Forum's Responsible Mineral Development Initiative (RMDI) recently released its new research report on Stakeholder Perceptions and Suggestions. The RDMI aims to provide new paths forward on how to govern mineral wealth in mineral-based emerging economies. The research report is the product of a series of multi-stakeholder consultations that occurred across 13 developing countries, and include a variety of international organizations, such as the International Bar Association and the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development. Key findings of the report include a recognition that there is an insufficient understanding of the nature of the mining industry itself, including the timeframe in which benefits may be realized, and that Mineral Development Agreements (MDAs) can potentially act as framework for a transparent and constructive relations between investor, state, and society. The RDMI report can be accessed at the WEF's website (PDF*, 6.11 MB).
CHILE-CANADA CHAMBER OF CONGRESS RELEASES BEST PRACTICES REPORT - Building upon their 2002 report on CSR activities, the Chile-Canada Chamber of Congress has published an informative report on CSR best practices, entitled "Partners in Development: A Report on CSR Practices of Canadian Companies in Chile". The report discusses three specific issues: the evolving policy landscape of CSR within Chile and the kind of CSR guidelines and standards Canadian companies are adopting; the specific practices of Canadian companies and their driving factors, including the idea that there is a specific 'Canadian Brand' of CSR; and the evolution of CSR practices in Chile in the last 10 years, as well as challenges for the future. The report, available in English and Spanish, can be accessed at the Chamber of Congress' website.
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