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Denmark

2. The state duty to protect human rights

2.2 Recommendations from the Council for CSR on the state duty to protect [page 10-11]

“In November 2011, the Danish Council for CSR started working on recommendations to the Government on how the UNGPs on the state duty to protect could be implemented. The council finished its work in January 2012 where the recommendations were handed over to the Government.

Among other initiatives, the Council for CSR recommended that the Danish Government:

  • Expands the existing Danish corporate non-financial reporting requirement to include mandatory reporting on human rights;
  • Encourages responsible public procurement by requiring government contractors to perform due diligence on human rights in relation to the products or services covered by the contract, including regularly supervising the contractual requirements;
  • Requires state-owned companies and governments agencies which distribute significant government funds to incorporate due diligence in their business activities; …”

2.3 Actions taken

Danish Government’s expectations to companies [page 11]

“… 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 mediumsized 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.”

Protection of human rights through state regulation and policy [page 12]

“Companies involved in Danida Business Partnerships – an instrument that facilitates and provides economic support to develop commercial partnerships between Danish companies and partners from developing countries – are now required to integrate CSR strategically in their business operations and to demonstrate due diligence, including human rights, in order to mitigate adverse impact.”

Companies that receive substantial support and services from State agencies [page 13]

“The Environmental & Social Due Diligence Policy of the Danish Export Credit Agency (EKF) states that EKF is committed to implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Businesses and Human Rights (GP 4).”

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

“…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 SelfAssessment 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 followup action plan.”

3. The corporate responsibility to respect human rights

Introduction [page 17]

“While, the Danish Government has an important role in promoting the UNGPs by clarifying and communicating expectations towards companies, the Government acknowledges that in the short term it can be a significant challenge for companies to implement due diligence in their business operations – especially if the company has a complex supply chain or if the company is an SME. Thus, the Government supports the implementation of the corporate responsibility to respect by carrying out initiatives which are aimed at supporting and assisting companies with this effort.”

3.1 UNGPs on the corporate responsibility to respect human rights [page 17]

“In order to meet their responsibility to respect human rights, business enterprises should have in place policies and processes appropriate to their size and circumstances, including: …

b) A human rights due-diligence process to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how they address their adverse impacts on human rights; …”

4. Access to remedy

4.3 Actions taken

Access to non-judicial remedy [page 20-21]

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. …

The institution will base its assessments on the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, which incorporate the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human
Rights, including in particular the due diligence concept as described in the UN Guiding Principles, when looking at a complaint. …

So far the promotional activities have included among other:

  • Development of guidance on due diligence in the supply chain and company-based conflict resolution;”

Appendix 1, GP 2

Status in Denmark (initiatives implemented before the UN ratification of the Guiding Principles) [page 24]

“In 2004 the Ministry for Business and Growth in collaboration with the Confederation of Danish Industry developed the CSR Compass. The CSR Compass is an online tool which Danish companies can use when requiring customers and suppliers to respect human rights and perform due diligence.”

Appendix 1, GP 2 continued

Status in Denmark (initiatives implemented before the UN ratification of the Guiding Principles) [page 25]

“Together with other OECD members, Denmark has worked and will continue to work to ensure that project-related social and human rights impacts are included in the OECD Common Approaches, including that relevant elements from the UNGP and Human Rights become part of the way export credit agencies undertake their due diligence”

Initiatives taken or planned as a dedicated measure to implement the UNGPs (after the UN ratification of the Guiding Principles) [page 25]

“Denmark has contributed actively to the discussions in OECD on how to embrace Human Rights in the ”Recommendation of the Council on the Common Approaches for Officially supported Export Credits and Environmental and Social Due Diligence (Common Approaches)”. Together with other OECD members, Denmark has worked to ensure that project-related social and human rights impacts are included in the OECD Common Approaches, and also that relevant elements from the UNGPs and Human Rights become part of the way export credit agencies demonstrate due diligence. Furthermore, the revised Common Approaches now ensure policy coherence with the OECD Multinational Guidelines.”

Appendix 1, GP 3c

Initiatives taken or planned as a dedicated measure to implement the UNGPs (after the UN ratification of the Guiding Principles) [page 27]

  • “…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 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. …
  • 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. …”

Appendix 1, GP 4

State Duty to Protect [page 28]

“States should take additional steps to protect against human rights abuses by business enterprises that are owned or controlled by the State, or that receive substantial support and services from State agencies such as export credit agencies and official investment insurance or guarantee agencies, including, where appropriate, by requiring human rights due diligence.”

Status in Denmark (initiatives implemented before the UN ratification of the Guiding Principles) [page 28]

  • “EKF’s Environmental & Social Due Diligence Policy states that EKF is committed to implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Businesses and Human Rights.
  • When conducting due diligence IFU uses the Global Compact SelfAssessment tool, which contains a robust assessment of human rights conditions.”
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