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Business Ethics

Volume 472: debated on Monday 3 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which (a) Minister and (b) departmental division is responsible for policy on corporate social responsibility in his Department. (191213)

My noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, the right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown, is responsible for Corporate Social Responsibility at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). The FCO’s Sustainable Development and Business Group is currently responsible for the FCO’s work on Corporate Social Responsibility. However, this Department will be closed at the end of March as a result of the FCO’s recent reprioritisation of policy work and the majority of the Department’s work on Corporate Social Responsibility will be redistributed to other Departments.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the budget for promoting corporate social responsibility (a) internally in his Department and (b) externally by his Department to British companies was in each of the last five years. (191214)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has provided an annual contribution of £80,000 to the Trust Fund for the UN Global Compact, the largest international initiative promoting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and the FCO annually contributes £3,000 towards the running costs of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. Over the last five years the FCO has also made the following allocations of project funding for CSR related projects globally:

Amount (£)

2003

348,602

2004

484,636

2005

462,533

2006

309,577

2007

567,537

20081

192,813

1 Projected for 2008.

This has included funding £125,000 over three years (March 2006 to September 2008) to pilot a civil society co-ordinator with the UN Global Compact. The FCO also funds an annual Chevening Fellowship course for 12 professionals from around the world to study CSR at the university of Nottingham.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many full-time equivalent staff work on corporate social responsibility matters in his Department. (191215)

At present, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has one full-time member of staff working on corporate social responsibility.