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Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation

A Ministry of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate

United States Province

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New Haven Declaration on Corporate Financial Transparency Brings Together Unique Coalition of Asset Management Firms and Civil Society Organizations

January 16th, 2011

A unique coalition of asset management firms and civil society organizations issued a statement on January 11th committing to call on governments and relevant multilateral institutions to establish a country-by-country financial reporting standard for multinational corporations. The “New Haven Declaration on Corporate Financial Transparency” establishes links between corporate accountability, business practices, and economic development and poverty alleviation.

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate was among the initial signatories of the declaration, alongside groups like Trillium Asset Management and Wealth for the Common Good. The signatories together represent $20 billion in combined assets under management.

The statement notes that “approximately $100 billion in tax revenue leaves developing economies each year due to trade-related price manipulation by corporations,” and goes on to assert that “one of the first responsibilities of business to society is to pay its fair share of taxes.” One of the problems is that “…aggressive and ‘creative’ global tax strategies have become commonplace among multinational corporations, resulting in significant tax losses to both developed and developing countries. Some of these strategies involve violations of local law.”

The statement asserts that “current financial reporting requirements allow companies to hide these practices from investors and governments” and that signatories “strongly urge the G8, G20, WTO, the European Union and other international fora, as well as national governments, world leaders, faith groups, civil society organizations and corporations to recognize the linkage between corporate financial transparency, good corporate governance, social justice and stable market.”

The Rev. Seamus Finn, OMI, who represented the Oblates at the Yale meeting which developed the statement, said, “In a globally integrated financial system, corporations are being granted numerous opportunities and mechanisms to escape completing their financial responsibilities to local and sovereign jurisdictions. At a time when governments around the world are finding it more and more difficult to raise the revenues they need to provide basic services to their citizens and communities, the gaps and loopholes that facilitate secrecy and make accountability to local communities optional must corrected.”

The Oblates also were signatories to a December 21st letter to the European Commission’s Consultation on Financial Reporting on a Country-by-Country Basis by Multinational Companies, in which the group asked “the European Commission to require country-by-country reporting within the annual audited financial statements of all multinational corporations listed on a stock exchange.”

Click here to read the full New Haven Declaration on Corporate Financial Transparency.

Organizations wishing to add their names to the Declaration, can do so by visiting http://newhaven.gfip.org

Click here to download a PDF of the December 21st letter to the European Commission.

Learn more – visit the Global Financial Integrity website

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