2 The corporate responsibility to respect human rights [page 13-14]
“Internationally recognised instruments provide guidance for companies in their human rights efforts.2 The UN Guiding Principles focus on businesses and human rights. The United Nations Global Compact, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the Children’s Rights and Business Principles take a broader approach and address not only human rights but also other issues such as the environment, working conditions and anti-corruption. …
UNICEF, Save the Children and the UN Global Compact have developed the Children’s Rights and Business Principles, which provide guidance for companies in their work. …
February 2015 saw the launch of the first comprehensive guidance for companies on human rights reporting in line with the UNGP: UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework. Five international companies are ‘early adopters’ of the reporting framework: Ericsson, H&M, Nestlé, Newmont and Unilever”
Annex: Measures taken [page 22-25]
The State as actor
- “… Sweden is carrying out awareness-raising activities on this issue and supports the OECD’s work on how companies are to identify risks in the supply chain and avoid trade in conflict minerals (OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas).”
The State as owner
- The Government has held seminars for the chairs of boards and managing directors of all state-owned companies on the Government’s expectations regarding the companies’ application of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. A study was carried out in 2013 on the international guidelines from the UN and the OECD, aimed at facilitating companies’ application of the state ownership policy.
- A CSR network has been established for the discussion of relevant CSR-related issues and to allow companies to exchange knowledge and experience. The international guidelines with which the companies are expected to comply were discussed at one of the network meetings. The Government Offices corporate management organisation has also held a workshop for the companies on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
- A business analysis tool that sheds light on relevant areas of CSR, including human rights, has been developed for state-owned companies by the Government Offices corporate management organisation. The analysis increases the owner’s awareness of the companies’ risks and opportunities and how these can be managed. The result of the analysis is integrated in corporate governance and taken into account in the Government’s regular dialogue with the company, in monitoring the company’s development, and in the recruitment and nomination of board members.
Action by government agencies
- The Swedish Export Credits Guarantee Board (EKN) has been instructed in its appropriation directions to pursue continuous development of its work on human rights, working conditions, the environment, corruption and internet freedom, based on OECD recommendations in these areas (‘Common Approaches’ and ‘Bribery and Officially Supported Export Credits’). EKN also has instructions to ensure that its activities comply with, and information has been provided about, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the principles of the UN Global Compact and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
In its ‘Common Approaches’ recommendations, the OECD prescribes a method that the EKN (and its equivalents in other OECD countries) should follow when assessing the environmental and human rights impacts of projects in particularly sensitive sectors to which it guarantees deliveries by Swedish companies.
Over and above the projects and sectors covered by the OECD’s ‘Common Approaches’ recommendations, the EKN has requirements and processes in place for conducting due diligence with respect to the environment and human rights in all other business transactions. The EKN also produces country risk analyses for many countries (www.ekn.se). The due diligence and any more in-depth review proceed from the potential seriousness of the impact of a business transaction and depends on the size of the transaction.
- Business Sweden (the Swedish Trade & Invest Council) is required to follow the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the principles of the UN Global Compact and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. It is also required to actively inform and encourage companies in their CSR work, in accordance with established global guidelines.
- The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) has developed forms of cooperation with the private sector with a view to mobilising additional resources for development. CSR is a precondition for cooperation. Based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the principles of the UN Global Compact, a due diligence tool has been developed for assessing and facilitating dialogue with potential partners on business and human rights. Sida works actively with the business community on human rights, including by cooperating with companies on poverty reduction projects. This is also the starting point for discussions and activities in Swedish Leadership for Sustainable Development (SLSD), a network that encompasses around twenty large corporations with links to Sweden. …
- The Swedish Institute (SI) has a management programme that provides leadership training for young leaders from Europe, China and India. By offering individuals in leading positions – established business people and opinion-makers in the private and public sectors – an advanced management programme in CSR, SI brings together people who are interested in advancing these issues in their particular areas of business. At the same time, this creates a business network for CSR in which Sweden is an active and natural party
Annex: Measures planned [page 28]
How can the State support the business sector?
- “The Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ reports on the human rights situation in countries around the world will be developed to more easily provide companies with guidance on human rights issues and risks in the countries in which they operate. These human rights reports are available on the Swedish Government website.”
Annex: Links [page 30]
“The European Commission has produced a guide to human rights for small and mediumsized enterprises in Swedish, based on the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights. The Commission has also developed industry-specific guides for extractive industries (oil and gas), temporary-work agencies and the ICT sector. These are available on the Commission website: www.ec.europa.eu …
Information about the Government’s CSR work in state-owned companies can be found in the State’s Ownership Policy and guidelines for state-owned companies: www.regeringen.se”