|In a global community supported by communications
and other technology that break down distances,
an organisation cannot be oblivious to its environment.
What happens in one country has world wide ripple
impacts. If company X is exposed as a violator
of child labour because its suppliers use children in production,
the negative effect on Xs share value is
If a state violates its citizens political
rights, pressures through the international community mounts
for it to change.
International non-governmental organisations
provide a vibrant and strong conduit for information flow
regarding multinational and governmental practices with regard
to human rights, labour standards and the environment. Given
this reality, the issue of accountability is relevant for
Civil Society Organisations
||Boards of directors/trustees
are entrusted with donor funds to provide oversight for
the voluntary sector organisations for which they are
responsible. Like their corporate counterparts, their
fiduciary duties are clear: DUTY OF CARE; DUTY OF LOYALTY;
DUTY OF OBEDIENCE.
Although their accountability is not to shareholders they
are accountable to a multiplicity of stakeholders.
Non-profit are challenged to provide credible information
demonstrates their relevance, their efficiency and added
| their observance of relevant
legislation, and the ethical conduct of administrative
personnel as well as board members.
||Interest in corporate citizenship
and social responsibility is growing as the role of business
in society increases. The role of government is retreating
to that of a referee, setting standards, originating legislation
and working as a facilitator rather than a provider. A
number of news stories have put corporate citizenship
at the top of the agenda in recent years and alerted the
public to issues of social responsibility.
(McIntosh, Leipziger, Jones and Coleman, Corporate
|Recent scandals such as ENRON
(US), the arms deal (South Africa), and others
(WorldCom, Qwest, Tyco, Xerox, Merck, and Arthur Andersen)
have galvanised government and civil society to take action
regarding the exclusive prerogatives of private corporations.
More transparency and accountability from corporate directors
and senior management is required.
Corporations are juristic persons and, therefore, they
assume obligations, as do ordinary citizens, for the respect,
protection, promotion and fulfilment of human rights.
They are also accountable and legally liable to their
Corporations are called to account for their performance/impact
regarding sustainable development based on international
Consumer activism and civil society pressure for the observance
of human, labour and environmental rights cannot be ignored.
Only through rigorous performance management systems can
corporations credibly demonstrate positive impact at all
links in their supply, production, retail, and service
|The accountability mandate is most direct
for the institutions, administrations, and political processes
of democracies with a culture of human rights, such as
South Africa, because the state has legal duties to ensure
the respect, protection, promotion and fulfilment of basic
human rights. The measurement and enforceability of such
obligations presents a significant challenge in that it
requires the state to anchored its development plans in
its human rights obligations and to balance this with
the realities of resources limitations. In this regard,
the state needs to design, develop and implement appropriate
performance management systems that generate credible
information to concretely show its progressive realisation
of its human rights obligations.