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2. State duty to protect human rights

2.3 Actions taken

Danish Government’s expectations to companies [page 11]

“As part of the promotional activities among Danish companies the government has committed to providing courses and guidance on responsible business conduct. The Government has launched an information campaign specifically aimed at companies and NGOs on compliance with the Guiding Principles in connection with the establishment of the mediation and grievance mechanism (for more information see section 4.3).

The Trade Council under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises Danish companies and their local partners on how they should handle their social responsibility in a number of export markets. The advisory services include human rights due diligence. The advisory services are demand-driven and offered to companies on the same terms as the other business services of the Trade Council, i.e. chargeable by the hour in accordance with Danish legislation (UNGPs 3c).

In addition, at Danish embassies in emerging markets, the Trade Council in co-operation with the Danish Business Authority holds workshops in responsible supply chain management, especially focusing on small and medium sized companies and their local business partners (GP 3c). The courses are held on an annual basis. They include practical guidance on how to demonstrate due diligence in business operations in regard to adverse impacts on human rights. To further assist Danish companies in emerging markets, the embassies are also conducting CSR reviews of local business partners. The reviews include a due diligence component (UNGPs 3c).

The Guiding Principles have proved to be an excellent instrument in rallying stakeholders for joint action. Using the Guiding Principles as the basis for a new Partnership for Responsible Garments Production in Bangladesh, the Danish government, business associations and enterprises have agreed on a number of detailed commitments to improve conditions within their sphere of influence. The partnership, which was agreed within the framework of the Danish Ethical Trading Initiative (DIEH), will be implemented in close co-ordination with international partners as well and stakeholders in Bangladesh.”

Providing effective guidance on how to respect human rights [page 13-14]

Since 2005, the Danish Government has worked directly with promoting CSR among Danish companies. The efforts have focused on providing companies with tools and guidance to implement CSR policies in a manner which is both strategic and manageable (GP 3c). Examples of relevant tools include:

  • The CSR Compass – which is a free online tool that helps companies implement responsible supply chain management. http://www.csrcompass.com/
  • The Global Compact Self-Assessment Tool – which helps companies to test their performance on all ten UN Global Compact principles, and how well these issues are managed: http://www.globalcompactselfassessment.org/

The tools have been developed in collaboration with the UN Global Compact and other partners from Danish civil society and industry organisatons.

The Danish Government is committed to continuously improving and promoting guidance provided to companies on how to work with CSR in general and human rights in particular. To ensure that companies have the right tools and the necessary guidance to handle the new due diligence requirements, the Government has updated the existing web tool, the CSR Compass and the Global Compact Self-Assessment Tool in accordance with the due diligence requirements of the UNGPs. The revised Compass includes a guide for small and medium-sized companies on how to exercise due diligence (GP 17) and also gives guidance on ways to solve company conflicts by actively engaging in a dialogue with the company’s stakeholders (GP 29). The revised Global Compact Self-Assessment Tool works as a self-Assessment guide to a CSR due diligence going through a questionnaire covering aspects of human rights, worker’s rights, environment and anti-corruption and including a template for a follow up action plan.”

3. The corporate responsibility to respect human rights

3.2 Recommendations from the Council for CSR on the corporate responsibility to respect [page 17-18]

Since its creation in 2008, the Danish Council for CSR followed the work of the SRSG John Ruggie closely. In 2009, the Government asked the Council to produce a set of guidelines for responsible supply chain management to help companies meet international social and environmental requirements and expectations in their supply chain.

In June 2010, the Council published a set of guidelines for responsible supply chain management based on the Protect, Respect, Remedy Framework. The Council also made sure that the guidelines were aligned with recognised international principles like the UN Global Compact, ISO 26000 etc. The guidelines were meant as a supplement to the Protect, Respect, Remedy-Framework, intended to provide greater clarity about responsible supply chain management by offering a practical, easy-to-read guide and online tool. The guidelines are supplemented by a checklist of self-help questions intended to help the individual company find the solutions that address their specific challenges. For the guidelines in its entirety,  see: www.csrcouncil.dk/guidelines.

While the guidelines are focused on assisting companies with the implementation of the UNGPs with regard to supply chain management, implementation of the corporate responsibility to respect continues to be a very important part of the council’s agenda.

4. Access to remedy

4.3 Actions taken [pager 20-21]

Access to non-judicial remedy

“In the second national action plan for CSR from March 2012, the Danish Government announced the establishment of a Mediation and Complaints-Handling Institution for Responsible Business Conduct. … So far the promotional activities have included among other: …

  • Survey among Danish companies on the knowledge of the institution and of the OECD Guidelines in order to be able to measure the progress in the coming years;
  • Information leaflet in Danish, English, French and Spanish; the leaflet has been distributed through 112 Danish embassies for audiences abroad;
  • Translation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises into Danish;
  • Briefings, presentations and dialogue with interest groups, NGOs, etc. in order to raise awareness of the institution and the OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises and the UN Guiding Principles;
  • Development of guidance on due diligence in the supply chain and company-based conflict resolution;”

Appendix 1, GP 3c

State Duty to Protect [page 26]

“(c) Provide effective guidance to business enterprises on how to respect human rights throughout their operations;”

Initiatives taken or planned as a dedicated measure to implement the UNGPs (after the UN ratification of the Guiding Principles) [page 26]

  • “To make sure companies have the right tools and the necessary guidance to handle the new reporting requirements, the Government will continue to improve and promote the guidance provided to companies via a revision of an existing web-based tool.
  • To promote responsible business conduct among Danish businesses, the government has also committed to providing courses and guidance on responsible business conduct.
    In connection with the establishment of the Mediation and Complaints-Handling Institution for Responsible Business Conduct the Government has therefore launched an information campaign on compliance with the UN Guiding Principles.
  • The Trade Council under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises Danish companies and their local partners on how they should handle their social responsibility in a number of export markets. The advisory services include human rights due diligence. The advisory services are demand-driven and offered to companies on the same terms as the other business services of the Trade Council, i.e. chargeable by the hour in accordance with Danish legislation.
  • The Trade Council in co-operation with the Danish Business Authority holds workshops in Responsible Supply Chain management, especially focusing on small and medium-sized enterprises and their local business partners (GP 3c). The courses are held on an annual basis. They will include practical guidance on how to demonstrate due diligence in business operations in regard to adverse impacts on human rights. To further assist the Danish companies in emerging markets, the embassies are also conducting free CSR reviews of local business partners. The reviews include a due diligence component.
  • Whenever necessary, the government also initiates and drives multi-stakeholder partnerships based on the Guiding Principles. This year the government established the partnership for Responsible Garments Production in Bangladesh, gathering all the major Danish stakeholders within the industry and linking the partnership up with international public and private partners to achieve joint action.
  • Companies involved under Danida Business Partnerships are required and guided to undertake a CSR due diligence covering human rights, workers’ rights, environment and anti-corruption and to follow-up with an action plan in order to mitigate adverse impacts of business activities on employees and society at large.
  • The ministry of Foreign Affairs is also working on competence development courses within UNGPs and CSR for embassy staff, including e-bites, guidance on how to perform CSR due diligence and workshops for Danish companies operating abroad and local companies in new growth markets.
  • In 2013, a number of Danish organisations have been granted support by Danida for initiatives focusing on the promotion of ethical trading initiatives and supply chain management, CSR and Fair Trade.”

Appendix 1, GP 7

Initiatives taken or planned as a dedicated measure to implement the UNGPs (after the UN ratification of the Guiding Principles) [page 30]

“The Danish Institute of Human Rights will launch a Business Guide to Human Rights in December 2013. The Guide to Human Rights is a free website for companies to identify, assess and address their human rights impacts around the world. It provides country- and sector-specific information about the human rights impacts of businesses, alongside concrete recommendations for preventing and mitigating adverse impacts, as well as maximising positive ones. The Guide to Human Rights emphasises multi-stakeholder engagement and dialogue, and seeks to build the capacity of local Portal partners on human rights and business.”

Appendix 1, GP 8

Initiatives taken or planned as a dedicated measure to implement the UNGPs (after the UN ratification of the Guiding Principles) [page 31]

“The Government has updated the CSR Compass which is an online tool that helps companies exercise due diligence in the supply chain. The guide has been updated in accordance with the UNGPs and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. This online tool will also be promoted to governmental departments, agencies and other State-based institutions.”

Appendix 1, GP 28

Initiatives taken or planned as a dedicated measure to implement the UNGPs [page 35]

“An initiative dedicated to implementing the UNGPs which has been implemented recently is the development of a guide for small and medium-sized companies on ways to solve company conflicts by actively involving and engaging in a dialogue with the company’s stakeholders.”

Appendix 1, GP 29

Initiatives taken or planned as a dedicated measure to implement the UNGPs [page 35]

“The two online tools which help companies to integrate due diligence into their own company and into the businesses of their sub-suppliers, the CSR Compass and the UN Global Compact SelfAssessment tool, both include guidance on company level grievance mechanisms.”

Appendix 1, GP 30

Initiatives taken or planned as a dedicated measure to implement the UNGPs [page 35]

“The guide on company conflicts resolution in the CSR Compass promotes the active involvement and engagement of the company’s stakeholders.”

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