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Good business – Focus on social issues urged

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The Internet is forcing corporations to incorporate social issues into business decisions – or risk being attacked by advocacy groups throughout the world in an instant, The New York Times reports.

According to a report by Amnesty International, multi-national corporations no longer can ignore the transgressions of governments that host them.

Instead, the group says, corporations must be prepared to confront governments on issues ranging from political repression to child labor.

“To go without a policy on human rights is to go naked into a dangerous world,” warned Sir Geoffrey Chandler of Amnesty International. 

Advocacy groups have targeted senior corporate managers in its recent campaign to hold corporations accountable for their behavior. 

Factors like corrupt regimes, labor rights and land rights have become more critical as multinational corporations increasingly dominate economic development, the report says. 

A survey of Fortune 500 companies found that 36 respondents had recently abandoned investment projects because of human rights concerns. 

The study also found that less than half of companies explicitly refer to human rights in their code of ethics or business principles, the Times said. 

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