A brief history of ECCR
ECCR was formed in 1989 by a group of people active in Industrial Mission after a conference of British industrial chaplains had heard from visiting trade unionists about alleged malpractice of a UK company in the Philippines.
ECCR’s founders were already involved in the work of the Church in economic life and concerned with ethics and practicalities of company behaviour in Britain.
Much of the early work consisted of defining what corporate responsibility means in terms of ethics, human rights, and social and environmental concerns, in the context of a Church with investments in companies and a faith that speaks of justice and care for the marginalised.
It became clear that the Church is sometimes an investor in companies whose policies needed to change. ECCR therefore decided to explore the route of using church share holdings as a basis for dialogue with companies.
Key dates in ECCR’s development
|1988||Visiting trade unionists from the Philippines challenge delegates at a UK Industrial Mission workers' conference with concerns about the impacts of a UK multinational company’s subsidiary operations on lives and livelihoods in their country.|
|1989||ECCR is launched.|
|1992||Christian Aid and CAFOD commission a study guide on transnational companies, based on ECCR research, for use by churches, unions and communities.|
|1994||Is the Best Good Enough?, a research report on ICI, prompts the question: how do we define a good company? This becomes the impetus for the development of the Principles for Global Corporate Responsibility: Bench Marks for Measuring Business Performance.|
|1994||A Roman Catholic sister contacts ECCR about oil company Shell's impact in the Niger Delta. Research begins; a question is asked at the company's AGM; dialogue starts.|
A 'first round' text of the Bench Marks is launched with partners in the USA and Canada.
|1996||Research on Marks & Spencer is used to test the Bench Marks. A report is published and there are discussions with the company.|
|1997||Jointly with Pensions Investment Research Consultants (PIRC), ECCR submits a shareholder resolution to the AGM of Shell Transport & Trading, raising questions about the environmental and human rights impacts of the company’s operations in Ogoni, Nigeria. The Chemical Engineer comments: `A new political era is emerging … [the resolution] could signal a change in the way multinational companies … do business throughout the world.’|
|1998||Following international consultation, a fully agreed ‘second round’ text of the Bench Marks is released. ECCR attends a World Business Council for Sustainable Development stakeholder dialogue.|
|1999||ECCR convenes the 'Globalising the Principles' international conference. Delegates from 22 countries representing South and North debate the Bench Marks as a common basis for holding companies accountable. A steering group is established to ensure that the document adequately represents Southern perspectives.|
|2001||ECCR delegation visits Nigeria to check on progress since the 1997 shareholder resolution.|
|2002||Publication of ECCR reports Telling Shell and BP: Beyond Innovations?.|
|2003||Publication of ECCR report AstraZeneca: Making 'Inspiring Ideas’ a Reality?.|
|2004||Revised edition of the Bench Marks launched following a conference in South Africa in 2002. The text is published at www.bench-marks.org. The Bench Marks secretariat moves to South Africa.|
|2004||Publication of ECCR report GlaxoSmithKline: Getting Better?.|
|2005||Publication of ECCR report BHP Billiton: The End of the Pipe - Policies into Practice?.|
|2006||ECCR submits a resolution to the AGM of Royal Dutch Shell Plc arising from concerns about the company’s social and environmental performance in the Niger Delta, County Mayo (Ireland) and Sakhalin (Russia).|
ECCR and two Czech partner organisations organise European-Union-supported workshop in Prague on Churches, Multinational Companies and Corporate Responsibility in Central and Eastern Europe.
Participants at the Prague workshop, October 2006 (photo: Rita Liepina, Lutheran Church, Lavia)
|2006||Publication of ECCR report Rio Tinto – Revisiting the Principles: A Decade of Corporate Responsibility Reviewed.|
|2007||Following a strategic review, ECCR embarks on new three-year work programme.|
|2008||Publication of ECCR report Water Sustainability: Meeting the Challenge and Guide to Investment and Engaging with Companies. Merger with Christian Ethical Investment Group.|
|2009||Publication of ECCR report Vulnerable Migrant Workers: The Responsibility of Business. ECCR and partners organise Companies, Communities and Religious Investors conference in Dublin, Ireland.|
Publication of ECCR report Shell in the Niger Delta: A Framework for Change. ECCR and the Church of Scotland Church and Society Council organise Banking on Justice: Churches Investing for a Fairer Future conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. ECCR, FairPensions, Co-operative Asset Management and others initiate and file shareholder resolutions on the Canadian tar sands with BP and Shell.
Celebration without exploitation: Working for an exploitation free Olympics. ECCR working with a coalition including ICCR and Fairpensions is calling for companies to strengthen their focus against human trafficking and modern slavery in advance of London 2012.
The Publish What You Pay coalition including ECCR Calls for Extractive Industry
Transparency through an Advert in the Financial Times to EU decision makers.