Non-profit

International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR)

Website:

www.icar.ngo

Type:

“Social Justice” Advocacy Group

Project of:

Tides Center

The International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) is an international, left-of-center project of the Tides network which pushes governments around the world to implement and enforce left-of-center business regulations. [1] ICAR launches initiatives to increase corporate regulation, specifically in supply chains, while pushing for left-of-center principles of economic redistribution. [2]

History

ICAR is a project sponsored by Tides, a left-of-center organization that consults for and manages grantmaking for left-of-center nonprofits, individual donors, corporations, and activists. [3] [4] Today, ICAR has over 40 left-of-center member organizations which support the project, including the AFL-CIO, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch. Based on press history, ICAR began in 2011. [5]

ICAR engages in targeted left-of-center advocacy and research in several areas, including global governance, labor rights, corporate influence and corruption, and trade. [6]

Labor and Human Rights

International Corporate Accountability Roundtable has supported the implementation of stricter international labor codes in recent years, supporting the Fair Labor Association’s 2019 plan to require all affiliate companies to disclose their supplier lists. [7] The support comes as part of a larger ICAR initiative to promote transparency in supply chains, with ICAR launching the Transparency Pledge which requires members (who are mostly large apparel brands) to disclose supplier information. [8] ICAR research argues that taking the pledge improves a brand’s reputation, efficiency, and legal standing. [9] In November 2019, Amazon adopted the Transparency Pledge and released a list of names, addresses, and other details of over 1000 facilities producing Amazon products. [10]

ICAR has dedicated significant resources to combatting human trafficking through top-down intervention, arguing that international governments need to impose stricter regulations on labor and back these regulations with stronger enforcement mechanisms. [11] ICAR former interim executive director Meg Roggensack claimed that the influential 2015 Modern Slavery Act in the United Kingdom did not go far enough to address labor exploitation, arguing that the international community must impose global regulations to deal with corporate supply chains. [12]

In March 2019, ICAR released a report arguing that supply chain transparency regulations have failed to motivate companies to meaningfully address the problem of forced labor in supply chains. [13] The report calls on governments to strengthen enforcement tactics, increase the scope of regulations, and ensure that all companies are compliant with forced labor reporting statutes. [14]

ICAR has also been involved in shaping US legislation on human trafficking, supporting the passage of California Assembly Bill 15 in 2015 which extended the statute of limitations for filing a civil suit in cases of human trafficking to ten years. [15]

Opposition to Business Speech

ICAR also claims to fight “corporate capture,” arguing that allowing corporations to lobby and engage in litigation tactics place democratic values at risk. [16] ICAR has accused companies of using “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs),” to intimidate journalists and public interest groups by exercising their legal right to file lawsuits. [17]

In 2017, the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline filed suit against three left-of-center organizations who were protesting the project. [18] In response, ICAR formed the Protect the Protest task force to try to prevent corporations from filing these lawsuits in 2018, organizing launch events in three different cities across the United States in association with other left-of-center organizations, including Greenpeace and the Center for Constitutional Rights. [19] Today, the Protect the Protest Initiative works to dismiss lawsuits which they deem to be “SLAPPs”  and educate individuals in smaller protest organizations about the practice. [20] The initiative is also creating legislation in an attempt to end the practice altogether. [21] Today, Protect the Protest ihas over 20 left-of-center members, including ICAR, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Amnesty International, and Greenpeace. [22]

Most of ICAR’s further anti-corporate influence advocacy occurs through press releases, open letters, and recommendations to various government agencies. Most recently, ICAR has submitted a recommendation to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights which claims that US trade policies neglect human rights to protect corporations, and a recommendation to the United States Trade Representative to remove the investor-state dispute settlement system from NAFTA. [23] [24]

ICAR has also supported increasing regulation in the United States to fight corruption, pushing for the ILLICIT CASH Act which was introduced in November 2019 by four Democrats and four Republicans in the United States Senate. [25] The bill would require American companies to disclose the information of those who own or control them, a move which ICAR argues would increase accountability. [26]

People and Funding

ICAR is a project of Tides, a left-of-center foundation and network that supports and directs funding for progressive organizations. The exact funding for ICAR is unknown.

Alison Kiehl Friedman is the current executive director of ICAR. Prior to her role at ICAR, Friedman worked with People for the American Way, a left-of-center advocacy group. [27] Friedman also worked for former U.S. Representative Jane Harman (D-CA). [28] Friedman co-founded ASSET, a non-profit which focuses on supply chains and human rights, where she worked to author the California Transparency in Supply Chains law. [29] Friedman later served in President Barack Obama’s State Department as Deputy Director in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and she ran as a Democrat for a the U.S. House in Virginia’s 10th District. [30]

References

  1. “Mission.” ICAR. Accessed December 7, 2019. https://www.icar.ngo/about/mission. ^
  2. “Mission.” ICAR. Accessed December 7, 2019. https://www.icar.ngo/about/mission. ^
  3. “ICAR.” ICAR. Accessed December 7, 2019. https://www.icar.ngo/. ^
  4. “Our Solutions.” Tides. Accessed December 7, 2019. https://www.tides.org/solutions/. ^
  5. “Press.” ICAR. Accessed December 7, 2019. https://www.icar.ngo/press. ^
  6. “Press.” ICAR. Accessed December 7, 2019. https://www.icar.ngo/press. ^
  7. Ruvo, Christopher. “FLA Will Require Affiliates To Publicly Reveal Factories.” Advertising

    Specialty Institute, March 25, 2019. https://www.asicentral.com/news/newsletters/promogram/march-2019/fla-will-require-affiliates-to-publicly-reveal-factories/. ^

  8. “Promoting Supply Chain Transparency.” ICAR. Accessed December 7, 2019. https://www.icar.ngo/promoting-supply-chain-transparency. ^
  9. Salfino, Catherine. “Why Being Transparent Is Vital-and Profitable-for Fashion.” Sourcing

    Journal. Sourcing Journal, June 5, 2019. https://sourcingjournal.com/topics/lifestyle-monitor/why-being-transparent-is-vital-and-profitable-for-fashion-155114/. ^

  10. “Amazon Takes Transparency Step.” Human Rights Watch, November 20, 2019. https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/11/20/amazon-takes-transparency-step#. ^
  11. McLoughlin, Bill. “’UK Is a Guiding Light’ in Addressing Modern Slavery but More MUST

    Be Done Warns Expert.” Express.co.uk. Express.co.uk, April 11, 2019. https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1113176/UK-Modern-slavery-act-human-rights-Theresa-May-modern-slavery-act-human-trafficking. ^

  12. McLoughlin, Bill. “’UK Is a Guiding Light’ in Addressing Modern Slavery but More MUST

    Be Done Warns Expert.” Express.co.uk. Express.co.uk, April 11, 2019. https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1113176/UK-Modern-slavery-act-human-rights-Theresa-May-modern-slavery-act-human-trafficking. ^

  13. Abdulla, Hannah. “How to Move towards Better Modern Slavery Reporting.” Just-Style,

    March 28, 2019. https://www.just-style.com/analysis/how-to-move-towards-better-modern-slavery-reporting_id135874.aspx. ^

  14. Abdulla, Hannah. “How to Move towards Better Modern Slavery Reporting.” Just-Style, March 28, 2019. https://www.just-style.com/analysis/how-to-move-towards-better-modern-slavery-reporting_id135874.aspx. ^
  15. “Legislation to Ensure Victims of Human Rights Abuses Get Their Day in Court Becomes Law.” Monrovia Weekly, October 7, 2015. https://www.monroviaweekly.com/news/legislation-to-ensure-victims-of-human-rights-abuses-get-their-day-in-court-becomes-law/. ^
  16. “Corporate Capture.” ICAR. Accessed December 7, 2019.

    https://www.icar.ngo/corporate-capture/. ^

  17. Morgan, Jana. “Protect the Protest Task Force Launches with a Promise: An Attack on One Is an Attack on All.” ICAR. ICAR, August 30, 2018. https://www.icar.ngo/news/2018/8/30/protect-the-protest-task-force-launches-with-a-promise-an-attack-on-one-is-an-attack-on-all. ^
  18. Paynter, Ben. “This New Coalition Protects Protesters’ Right to Civil Disobedience.” Fast

    Company. Fast Company, September 20, 2018. https://www.fastcompany.com/90237335/this-new-coalition-protects-protesters-right-to-civil-disobedience. ^

  19. Morgan, Jana. “Protect the Protest Task Force Launches with a Promise: An Attack on One Is an Attack on All.” ICAR. ICAR, August 30, 2018. https://www.icar.ngo/news/2018/8/30/protect-the-protest-task-force-launches-with-a-promise-an-attack-on-one-is-an-attack-on-all. ^
  20. Paynter, Ben. “This New Coalition Protects Protesters’ Right to Civil Disobedience.” Fast Company. Fast Company, September 20, 2018. https://www.fastcompany.com/90237335/this-new-coalition-protects-protesters-right-to-civil-disobedience. ^
  21. Paynter, Ben. “This New Coalition Protects Protesters’ Right to Civil Disobedience.” Fast Company. Fast Company, September 20, 2018. https://www.fastcompany.com/90237335/this-new-coalition-protects-protesters-right-to-civil-disobedience. ^
  22. Paynter, Ben. “This New Coalition Protects Protesters’ Right to Civil Disobedience.” Fast Company. Fast Company, September 20, 2018. https://www.fastcompany.com/90237335/this-new-coalition-protects-protesters-right-to-civil-disobedience. ^
  23. Lin, Sophia. “ICAR Submission on Poverty Impact of Corporate Influenced Trade Policy in the United States.” ICAR. ICAR, October 5, 2017. https://www.icar.ngo/news/2017/10/5/icar-submission-on-poverty-impact-and-corporate-capture-of-trade-policy-in-the-united-states. ^
  24. Lin, Sophia. “ICAR and Others Call on USTR to Remove ISDS Provision under NAFTA in Renegotiations.” ICAR. ICAR, September 25, 2017. https://www.icar.ngo/news/2017/9/25/icar-and-others-urge-to-ustr-to-remove-isds-provision-from-nafta. ^
  25. “US: Approve Bill to Curb Money Laundering.” Human Rights Watch, November 19, 2019. https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/11/18/us-approve-bill-curb-money-laundering#. ^
  26. “US: Approve Bill to Curb Money Laundering.” Human Rights Watch, November 19, 2019. https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/11/18/us-approve-bill-curb-money-laundering#. ^
  27. “Alison Friedman.” ICAR. Accessed December 7, 2019.

    https://www.icar.ngo/alison-friedman. ^

  28. “Alison Friedman.” ICAR. Accessed December 7, 2019. https://www.icar.ngo/alison-friedman. ^
  29. “Alison Friedman.” ICAR. Accessed December 7, 2019. https://www.icar.ngo/alison-friedman. ^
  30. “Alison Friedman.” ICAR. Accessed December 7, 2019. https://www.icar.ngo/alison-friedman. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Katie Redford
    Board Member
  See an error? Let us know!