Businesses need guidance on how to comply with complex “woke” rules to prevent scandals such as the Nigel Farage banking fiasco, MPs say.
Politicians urged the Government to intervene after the former Ukip leader had his account closed, and some UK defence firms which provide equipment to the Armed Forces were denied access to financial services.
Alexander Stafford, chairman of an all-party Parliamentary group which looks at business ethics, will this week lead a Commons debate calling for clearer rules.
The Conservative MP says managers are getting it wrong as they try to ensure firms comply with demands from customers and shareholders to protect the environment, treat staff fairly and avoid exploiting low-paid workers in foreign countries.
Official guidance on how to behave “ethically” would help firms keep them happy without making mistakes, he says.
Larger firms are required by law to provide information about their approach to ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) policies.
Many smaller businesses choose to publish details voluntarily.
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Mr Stafford says firms getting it wrong include NatWest Group, which controversially closed Mr Farage’s account with subsidiary Coutts after an internal memo said he was “seen as xenophobic and racist”.
The scandal led to the resignation of Nat West group chief executive Dame Alison Rose. “We need to make sure global companies are improved,” Mr Stafford said.
“You can’t just be measured by one thing. A good example was with Alison Rose and Nigel Farage. She was very good on the social side, but absolutely failed on the governance.”
He will call on the Department for Business and Trade to explain exactly what firms need to do to comply with ESG rules, and set up a mechanism for judging whether firms are meeting the requirements.
Earlier this year the MoD launched an investigation into banks refusing to provide services to some UK defence firms which provide vital equipment to our armed forces.
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