Almost all of the 35 companies listed on the Spanish stock exchange use tax havens, according to a report from Observatorio RSC, an organisation that monitors corporate social responsibility.
The figures, based on company reports for 2012, show a 31.9% increase in the use of tax havens compared with 2010, with 33 firms (94%) using them. The favourite haven is the US state of Delaware, followed by the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Ireland. In total, the 33 companies have 449 subsidiaries in 17 tax havens.
The report’s authors claim that no advance was made regarding fiscal responsibility in 2012. They argue that commitments to corporate social responsibility (CSR), good governance and fiscal responsibility made in the annual reports of Spain’s top 35 companies have little substance.
“There is no evidence that investment decisions are made with any thought of their impact beyond the purely financial. The reports usually have a positive and narrative focus without any process of accountability or way of measuring to what extent they are achieving stated objectives,” Orencio Vázquez, the study’s co-ordinator said.
The report points to an overall lack of transparency and says that “either companies are omitting financial data in a premeditated manner or are not analysing it correctly from a CSR point of view”.
It concludes that “there continues to be a gap between commitment and action”. It says only five companies are expressly committed to protecting workers’ rights in countries where the international norms of freedom of association and free collective bargaining do not apply, and only two have a commitment to developing these rights. It also says that the annual reports generally cover up or gloss over the risks associated with their activities, and that risk assessment in regard to the environment is “practically non-existent”.
via The Guardian
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