OTTAWA, May 2, 2012 /CNW/ - In a report issued today, Responsible business conduct in a complex world, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce describes how the government should oversee the international conduct of Canadian companies and how companies themselves can improve their performance.
"For most Canadian businesses, responsible business conduct has moved from doing 'good' to doing 'right.' It's not about philanthropy anymore - it's at the core of their operations." said Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. "During recent debates about government oversight of Canadian companies' international conduct, business explained what it did not want but still needed to set out its own vision," he added. "Responsible business conduct in a complex world makes it clear that companies are not satisfied with the status quo and want change."
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce sought ideas from business leaders and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The paper summarizes these discussions. It outlines areas of strength in current federal government oversight and identifies potential improvements. It also sets out ways businesses could improve the execution and communication of their behaviour.
"The majority of Canadian companies continually strive to exceed accepted standards in the host countries where they work with respect to health, safety and environmental standards. Canadian companies must always respect the local, regional and national cultural needs of their host countries. We would encourage governments to consider a less punitive approach to one that promotes accountability and transparency with respect to their corporate social responsibility initiatives," said René Marion, President of Aurico Gold.
Beatty concluded that: "While the Canadian Chamber of Commerce opposes imposing punitive legislative measures and expensive, duplicative offices on Canadian companies, we strongly believe that ethical and responsible behaviour is an important part of the Canadian brand. Businesses need to conduct their activities safely, respectfully, legally and sustainably. Governments remain the primary means for ensuring economic, environmental and social protections and business must respect these protections. If government, business, NGOs and communities work together more constructively, everyone can benefit."
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 420 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 192,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. News and information are available at www.chamber.ca or follow us on Twitter @CdnChamberofCom.
For further information:
Émilie S. Potvin
Director, Public Affairs & Media Relations
Office: 613.238.4000 (231)