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Greg Jones: Social justice reporting obligations for corporations

Corporations Act Section 300 and associated sections to be amended requiring public companies to comprehensively provide in their annual reports their compliance with social justice objectives in Australia and overseas.

Public companies should be obliged to undertake their activities in accordance with a Code of Conduct incorporating social justice objectives which not only encompass domestic and internationally recognised human rights standards but also measures towards achieving a more equitable, just & transparent society.

To monitor compliance with the Code section 300 of the Corporations Act should be amended and associated penalty provisions introduced so that public companies are compelled to include in their annual reports comprehensive and audited compliance reports addressing social justice objectives. For example, BHP would have to demonstrate in its annual report its compliance not only with anti -discrimination and Fair Work legislation but also that it has implemented effective, appropriate methods to minimise the impact of its activities on the environment. Such amendments would encourage public companies to behave responsibly & co-operatively engage with their stakeholders helping to create a more just society which would also benefit their shareholders and investors.

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