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Sweden

Foreword [page 3]

“Business and respect for human rights go hand in hand and should be part of an active corporate social responsibility policy. Corporate social responsibility therefore plays an important role in both trade policy and export promotion. We are now developing a more ambitious policy for corporate social responsibility while working on an export strategy to strengthen export and internationalisation opportunities for Swedish companies in important growth markets around the world. Our export strategy will help to ensure that Sweden has the lowest unemployment rate in the EU by 2020.”

The three pillars of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights [page 6-7]

“The action plan is also an important part of the Government’s heightened ambitions for foreign trade, through the export strategy, CSR and other areas. …

Trade and CSR can also help influence the human rights situation in other countries, for example where respect for democracy and human rights is inadequate.”

Annex: Measures taken [page 21-24]

The State as actor

  • “Sweden has pushed for the inclusion of references to CSR in the chapters on sustainability in the EU’s bilateral and regional trade agreements, investment agreements and partnership and cooperation agreements. …
  • The conduct of companies in relation to armed conflicts is highly relevant to respect for human rights. Sweden has proposed sharper formulations in the draft regulation on responsible trade in minerals from conflict areas that is currently being discussed in the EU. In other words, we consider it should be mandatory for importers from particularly problematic countries to obtain certification. 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).”

Action by government agencies

  • “Business Sweden (the Swedish Trade & Invest Council) is required to follow the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights …”

Annex: Measures planned [page 27-29]

“The Government aims to raise its ambitions in foreign trade, including in CSR and implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. To achieve these aims, a number of concrete measures will be implemented by 2017.”

Trade promotion

  • “Business Sweden (the Swedish Trade & Invest Council) will be instructed to strengthen its implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and, in particular, to support small and medium-sized enterprises in this area.
  • Sweden will act to ensure that the EU includes references to CSR, including the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, in the sustainability chapters of its bilateral and regional trade agreements, investment agreements and partnership and cooperation agreements.
  • Sweden will work with like-minded countries in the EU to strengthen EU policy in this area, for example, by persuading more EU countries to adopt national action plans based on the Guidelines.
  • In the OECD, Sweden will work to strengthen efforts to promote the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises among non-OECD countries.”

The State as development partner

  • “The Government will integrate sustainability issues into trade policy and export promotion and in the context of the relaunch of the Policy for Global Development and its efforts to contribute to the new global sustainable development goals (SDGs).”
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