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Ian Hudghton
Scottish National Party
Member of the European Parliament

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Press Releases
7 October
New Commissioner challenged on ethical investment labelling

SNP European Leader Ian Hudghton MEP pressed the case for establishing a European 'ethical investment' label at today's European Parliament confirmation hearing of Ireland's European Commissioner Designate, Charlie McCreevey. Mr Hudghton told the Commissioner Designate for Internal Market and Services that eco-labels for products already exist successfully, and asked him to consider establishing an ethical investment label so that potential investors can make a more informed choice.

Speaking at the confirmation hearing, Ian Hudghton MEP asked the Commissioner designate:

"Investors might be interested in putting their money into companies which, for example, are not involved in the arms trade, have plans to reduce negative environmental impact, pay decent wages to staff, respect collective agreements and do not source products made using child labour. We have eco-labels for products - is there not a case for an 'ethical investment' label?"

Mr McCreevy responded that this is a very difficult area and that the best way to approach it is through openness and making recommendations on disclosure so that potential investors can make up their minds about whether to invest or not. He intimated that he did not favour new regulations that would put European businesses at a competitive disadvantage in world trade.

Speaking later, Ian Hudghton MEP, a member of the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, said:

"I agree with Mr McCreevy that we don't want to take action that would put businesses at a competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace, but that doesn't mean we can't encourage companies to be more open and transparent with potential investors. I welcome the fact that Mr McCreevy seemed open to further discussion on arrangements for disclosure of companies' trading activities to potential investors.

My proposal for an 'ethical investment' label would allow potential investors to make an informed choice and avoid putting their money into companies who engaged in activities that they found disagreeable. Far from putting businesses at a competitive disadvantage, I believe this could actually stimulate competition as investors are becoming increasingly conscious of ethical considerations.

On the whole, I thought that Mr McCreevy performed very well at today's hearing and I look forward to pursuing this issue with him, assuming he is confirmed as a Commissioner ."

Each nominee for a job in the new 25 member Commission has to undergo a three hour hearing before a special European Parliament committee, before the full parliament takes a vote to accept or reject the whole Commission later this month.

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