Firms told: report social impact

The PR community and shareholder groups this week welcomed government proposals that would oblige UK quoted companies to give shareholders information on their policy towards employees, customers, suppliers and the environment.

The plans, unveiled by trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt at a seminar with the Institute of Directors and the Association of British Insurers (ABI), would oblige around 1,290 companies quoted on the London Stock Exchange to complete an operating financial review (OFR).

ABI director-general Mary Francis said the Government’s approach was ‘hugely preferable to one that makes detailed reporting on a broad range of issues mandatory, regardless of their relevance to the company concerned.’

Fishburn Hedges head of CSR Martin Le Jeune called the plans ‘a good balance between openness and transparency. The lunatics have been put back in the box so let’s go forward with this plan’.

The consultation period for the proposed regulations lasts until 6 August with draft regulations expected before the end of the year.

If all goes to plan, quoted companies will have to comply with the new regulations from 2005.

Leader, p19

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