1. The State Duty to Protect

1.1 Basic rules of economic policy

Bi and Multilateral economic relations [page 17]

…Environmental, social and human rights standards should firmly underpin free-trade agreements, which should be accompanied by impact-assessment and monitoring mechanisms.

The Current situation

Germany supports the EU practice of agreeing on provisions designed to safeguard human rights in framework agreements with trading partners and using sustainability chapters in all new free-trade agreements to enshrine …environmental standards. Germany is committed to the negotiation of comprehensive binding standards for inclusion in these sustainability chapters. The EU ‘Trade for All’ strategy which was presented in the autumn of 2015 also emphasises that commercial policy should advance sustainable development and human rights throughout the world.

2. Challenges in corporate practice

2.1 Ensuring the protection of human rights in supply and value chains

The current situation [page 28]

Host countries are assisted by means of capacity-building measures in introducing and upholding environmental and social standards. The Federal Government has long been supporting multi-stakeholder initiatives that have been launched in various sectors for the purpose of devising strategies and monitoring procedures.

  • These include, for example, the Sustainable Cocoa Forum, founded jointly by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the business community and civil society. In the Forum, the Federal Government, together with representatives of civil society, the confectionery industry and the food trade and in cooperation with partner countries, presses … sustainable cocoa farming.
  • The Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, which was initiated by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, has established an obligation to comply with sustainability standards and to guarantee corporate due diligence in the textile and clothing sector. All members of the Partnership are required to pursue its social and environmental objectives. They submit to a review process, which is conducted by an independent third party and is designed to bring about continuous improvement.

Measures

The Federal Government will support the systematic inclusion of sustainability chapters in free-trade agreements, which will prescribe, among other things, compliance with the ILO Core Labour Standards. Through its development cooperation programme, Germany supports the application of sustainability standards in host countries, for example through the regional project entitled “Social and labour standards in the textile and garment sector in Asia”, which covers three countries – Bangladesh, Cambodia and Pakistan.

3. Available means of practical implementation support

Measures

  1. Information services and best practices [page 35]
  • The Federal Government CSR Award recognises exemplary enterprises for their contributions to sustainability. It also promotes a learning process, since each enterprise is scored on the basis of its individual contribution to sustainability.