3. The Corporate responsibility to respect human rights
Due diligence [page 33]:
In order to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how they address their adverse human rights impacts, business enterprises should carry out human rights due diligence. The process should include assessing actual and potential human rights impacts, integrating and acting upon the findings, tracking responses, and communicating how impacts are addressed. Human rights due diligence:
(a) Should cover adverse human rights impacts that the business enterprise may cause or contribute to through its own activities, or which may be directly linked to its operations, products or services by its business relationships;
(b) Will vary in complexity with the size of the business enterprise, the risk of severe human rights impacts, and the nature and context of its operations;
(c) Should be ongoing, recognizing that the human rights risks may change over time as the business enterprise’s operations and operating context evolve.
Norwegian NAP refers to HRDD also in following sections:
The Government’s expectations of business enterprise [page 9]:
Business enterprises have an independent responsibility under the UN Guiding Principles to respect human rights by developing a public strategy or policy, exercising due diligence and helping to ensure a consultation and remediation process for individuals and communities affected by their activities. (…) In brief, the Government expects business enterprises to: (…) exercise due diligence and assess the human rights-related risks in the context of their operations. This applies particularly to enterprises that operate in demanding markets.
Due Diligence by GIEK, Export Credit Norway and Innovation Norway [page 24]:
GIEK and Export Credit Norway often provide financing for the same projects, and have established formal cooperation on CSR. The cooperation includes human rights due diligence based on the expectations of export credit institutions set by the UN Guiding Principles, and is an integrated part of GIEK’s and Export Credit Norway’s loan and guarantee activities. All projects for which financing is being considered are submitted to an internal risk classification, even projects where this is not required by the OECD Recommendation of the Council on Common Approaches for Officially Supported Export Credits and Environmental and Social Due Diligence. On the basis of the risk classification and considerations relating to opportunities for exerting influence, appropriate measures are taken to avoid, reduce and/or remedy potentially negative outcomes. In markets where there is a high risk that human rights will not be safeguarded in connection with business operations, it may be logical for example to require business enterprises to have adequate systems and strategies for risk assessment and follow-up. Innovation Norway practises environmental and social due diligence when dealing with all financing applications from business enterprises. The information on the company and the project for which support has been requested is assessed on the basis of a red flag checklist and a checklist based on the 10 principles of the UN Global Compact and adapted to Innovation Norway’s mandate and target groups.
The red flags are: risk of corruption, the nature of the company’s activities in low-cost countries, ethical dilemmas and environmental pressure from commercial activities. CSR scores reflect the level of CSR-related risk connected with the project or whether CSR may be a reason for giving the case priority. One of the conditions laid down in the contract with the client is that the enterprise must have high ethical standards and avoid contributing to corruption, human rights violations, poor working conditions or adverse impacts on local communities or the environment.
The Corporate responsibility to respect human rights with regards to conflict areas [page 32]: Political unrest and conflict entail a particularly high risk of human rights abuses. Companies that operate in such areas should therefore exercise particular due diligence if they are to avoid becoming involved in such abuses.