Washington, D.C. | Today, the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) released Building a Rights-Based Economy: A Corporate Accountability Agenda, a document that aims to bring together the interconnected lines of work taking place across the corporate accountability movement into a unified narrative that addresses the need to both dismantle systems of corporate power and enact legal safeguards against abuse.
“The theory behind this Agenda is that nearly every progressive issue is, at least in part, a corporate accountability issue. Amassed corporate power is often deployed to prevent progressive change, further an exploitative and abusive economic system, and avoid liability for abuses. This Agenda offers a vision for how sometimes disparate-seeming issues are inherently linked when viewed through the lens of corporate power and accountability,” said ICAR’s, Executive Director, David Mckean.
The Corporate Accountability Agenda argues that corporations have successfully built global, social, and economic structures that allow them to accumulate power and wield that power to further their own interests. The document calls for the need to build a rights-based economy where goods and services are produced through the fair treatment of workers, communities, and the environment. This requires a political system where corporations cannot write their own rules for the game and governments ensure businesses disclose key information about their value chains and business practices and impose enforcement mechanisms to address abuses.
“Corporate interests have consistently pushed their own agenda—and with relative success. Over the last century, we have seen the slow erosion of the right to unionize, the de-regulation of corporate operations, and the unchecked consolidation of corporate political power,” said Jackie Lewis, Advocacy Counsel at ICAR, and author of the report. “To build a rights-based economy that works for everyone, we need a coordinated effort across progressive movements that recognizes our shared interests in holding corporations accountable.”
But until now, unlike the labor rights or climate movement, there has been no comprehensive corporate accountability agenda focused on the U.S. published in any one location and no concerted effort to compile the diverse ideas of the corporate accountability community. Organizing the collective thinking on corporate power and accountability across varied areas of expertise into a shared concept of a unified movement can help lay a foundation for building a broader, stronger coalition fighting corporate abuse of power.
Building a Rights-Based Economy: A Corporate Accountability Agenda was developed with input from over 33 different organizations collected through bilateral consultations, thematic group discussions, and a 2-month written comment period. The document was drafted by Jackie Lewis, Advocacy Counsel, ICAR with editorial support from David McKean, Executive Director, ICAR; Noor Hamadeh, Advocacy Counsel, ICAR; and Nicole Vander Meulen, Legal & Policy Director, ICAR.