Businesses are integral to the business and human rights discourse, but more often than not they will not have human rights experts within their workforce. Providing guidance to business is a good way to educate shareholders, management, and staff on relevant business and human rights issues.
The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), details in Guiding Principle 3 that states should “
rovide effective guidance to business enterprises on how to respect human rights throughout their operations”. Commentary to Guiding Principle 3 clarifies that [page 5]:
“[G]uidance to business enterprises on respecting human rights should indicate expected outcomes and help share best practices. It should advise on appropriate methods, including human rights due diligence, and how to consider effectively issues of gender, vulnerability and/or marginalization, recognizing the specific challenges that may be faced by indigenous peoples, women, national or ethnic minorities, religious and linguistic minorities, children, persons with disabilities, and migrant workers and their families.”
Among the earliest guidance for businesses supported by states was the CSR COMPASS; developed with support from the Danish Government. The Dutch government has also supported the development of an online tool, which is designed to help companies exporting to, importing from, or have production facilities, in foreign countries, identify which corporate and social risks are related to their business activities, and what their options are for managing these risks. Further efforts include that of the U.S. administration assisting companies to eradicate forced and indentured child labour by developing a list of specific goods made in certain source countries, where production is likely to involve child labour and/or forced labour. Additionally, the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade provides a platform for the State and USAID to work in partnership with U.S. companies and civil society to support conflict-free sourcing from the DRC and African Great Lakes region.
The Commentary to Guiding Principle 3 adds that [page 6] “National human rights institutions [NHRIs] that comply with the Paris Principles have an important role to play in helping States identify whether relevant laws are aligned with their human rights obligations and are being effectively enforced, and in providing guidance on human rights also to business enterprises and other non-State actors.”
Certain NHRIs, such as the Danish Institute for Human Rights, the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission, and the Australian Human Rights Commission provide support to companies interested in learning more about integrating human rights into their management practices and everyday operations.
Further resources available to businesses include the ILO Help Desk for International Labour Standards, ILO Better Work programme, and the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre.
- CSR COMPASS
- The CSR Risk Check tool
- US, List of Products Produced by Forced or Indentured Child Labor
- UN Global Compact Self Assessment Tool
- Canadian Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Maturity Model
- Human Rights Due Diligence Tool
- The ILO Help Desk for International Labor Standards
- DIHR, Human Rights Compliance Assessment
- Global Compact Self Assessment Tool
- Human Rights & Business Country Guides
- DIHR, Decision Map: Doing Business in High-Risk Human Rights Environments
- Aim for Human Rights, Guide to Corporate Human Rights Impact Assessment Tools, 2009
What National Action Plans say on Guidance to business
Action point 5, Assurer la diffusion de la boîte à outils et de la brochure sur les mécanismes de réparation parmi les représentants belges à l’étranger et sensibiliser ceux-ci à la question [Ensure the dissemination of the toolbox and brochure on grievance mechanisms among Belgian representatives abroad and raise awareness of the issue] which aims at awareness-raising the Belgian diplomacy on the issues of social responsibility, sustainable development and the problem of companies involved in human rights violations, briefly mentions that “at the present, diplomats do not always have the necessary tools or knowledge on “human rights and business” in particular, to inform and guide the companies in question in order to ensure that their extraterritorial activities take account of their impact on human rights.” Belgian representatives will receive a practical toolbox (Action point 3) to better inform companies who contact them with a wish to expand their activities abroad. The toolbox will also include elements on grievance mechanisms (based on Action 2), enabling the Belgian diplomatic network to better inform businesses, victims of possible violations and all other interested parties about the access to remedy in Belgium.
- The regional governments added that they will spread the toolbox to enterprises through agencies Flanders Investment & Trade, l’Agence wallonne à l’Exportations et à aux Investissements étrangers (AWEX ), l’Agence pour l’Entreprise et l’Innovation (AEI), Bruxelles Invest & Export – as well as other regional institutions. At least every second year, economic and trade attachés from the Brussels Invest & Export gather for a one-week seminar in Brussels. On this occasion, Brussels Invest & Export will propose an awareness-raising session on the theme of “Business & Human Rights”.
Action point 7, Sensibiliser les entreprises concernant les questions des droits de l’Homme dans le cadre de missions économiques à l’étranger [Raise awareness among companies on issues of human rights in the context of economic missions abroad]. The aim of this action is to ensure that the economic missions organized by Belgium, in consultation and cooperation with the regional authorities, include awareness-raising on the issue of corporate social responsibility, and sustainable development in general, but especially the respect for human rights. The federal government adds that “economic missions are a good opportunity to distribute and publicize the toolbox discussed in action 3. This awareness raising also offers the possibility of bringing Belgian companies in contact with the network of UNCG Belgium and, where applicable, the UNCG network of the country visited.
- Action point 10, La Belgique s’engage à intégrer des critères « droits de l’Homme » et de Responsabilité sociétale des entreprises (RSE) dans la stratégie d’appui au développement du secteur privé local de la coopération belge [Belgium is committed to integrating human rights and corporate social responsibility (CSR) criteria into the local private sector development support strategy of Belgian cooperation] briefly mentions that the Trade for Development Center aims to improve market access for Southern producers and entrepreneurs by directly supporting local producer organizations, local businesses, or professional organizations as well as developping expertise on the themes of trade aid, fair trade and sustainable trade in order to put in place strategies for awareness raising and transfer of knowledge.
On the Action point 22, Encourager la gestion responsable des chaînes d’approvisionnement avec une approche sectorielle [Encourage responsible supply chain management with a sector-wide approach], the federal government describes that the NCP will continue, through a sectoral approach, its work of informing and raising awareness of Belgian companies on the sustainable management of supply chains.
In the context of Action point 24, Accorder une attention particulière à la question des droits de l’enfant dans la sensibilisation des entreprises [Pay special attention to the issue of children’s rights in awareness raising of enterprises], the NAP describes that in 2010 UNICEF launched a process, alongside the UN Global Compact and Save the Children, to develop a set of principles that provide concrete advice on what companies can do to respect and support children’s rights.
One of the engagements will be the active support and awareness raising of companies on the Principles governing enterprises in the field of children’s rights, in order to allow Belgian companies to maximize the positive effects of their activities on the lives of children by supporting and respecting their rights and those of their parents or guardians, including the right to a decent wage.
Action point 27, Sensibiliser les entreprises belges à la problématique de la corruption et renforcement des engagements belges sur cette thématique [Educate Belgian companies on the problem of corruption and strengthen Belgian commitments on this theme] also briefly covers the matter of guiding companies, specifically on the issue of corruption. One of the actions will be the awareness-raising of Belgian companies on the problem of corruption (through the Brochure of the Belgian Federal Authorities (NCP, Ministry of Economy and Ministry of Justice) with the Confederation of Belgian Enterprises and the International Chamber of Commerce; as well as through the network of Belgian diplomacy).
On Action point 28, Exécution du Plan d’action flamand “Entrepreneuriat international durable 2014-2015-2016” (« Duurzaam Internationaal Ondernemen 2014-2015-2016 ») [Implementation of the Flemish Action Plan “Sustainable International Entrepreneurship 2014-2015-2016”] the government of Flanders explains that Flanders Investment & Trade 2015 plan includes contributing to the education of Flemish companies on socially responsible international entrepreneurship through awareness-raising activities. The FIT “wants to offer concrete information to companies, both through their website and in national dossiers, through training courses for the benefit of Flemish economic representatives and advisers in international entrepreneurship.”
Pillar II Action Point 1.1 (p. 68): The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will streamline they webpage on business and human rights to include tools, guides, guidelines and news, as well as the progress made by the National Action Plan. For this, it will seek the support of international institutions.
Pillar I Action point 1.1 (p. 40): “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will, through the General Directorate of International Economic Relations (DIRECON), will raise awareness and further knowledge of relevant international instruments and their link with the United National Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, such as the Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Business Enterprises and ILO’s Social Policy, and ISO 26,000. The above will be carried out through presentations, seminars, dialogues, briefings and publications in the website, as relevant.
Pilar I Action Point 1.4 (p. 42): The Ministry of Energy will, through the Division of Participation and Social Dialogue and within the implementation framework of the Indigenous Chapter of the 2050 Energy Policy, perform the following actions:
- Develop training sessions in renewable energy for indigenous leaders with focus on business and human rights.
- Carry out activities to transfer experiences and knowledge to companies, so that they have information available for the development of energy projects in indigenous contexts.
- Develop actions to build the human rights and business capacity of business enterprises with a focus on indigenous rights and their cosmovision.
Pilar I Action Point 1.5 (p. 42): The Ministry of Social Development will:
- Through the Indigenous Affairs Coordination Unit, carry out a Training Plan on indigenous peoples’ issues and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights for businesses operating in the North and South macro-zones. Contents of these training sessions will include relevant international standards, which will be discussed with indigenous representatives and have the involvement of business enterprises. Through the Indigenous Affairs Coordination Unit, the Ministry will publish a Participatory Guide on Indigenous Rights and the cosmovision of Indigenous Peoples, to guide and train business enterprises on these peoples and the respect for their rights.
- Create of a module on the “UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and their connection with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” in a workshop-seminar for business executives.
- Through the National Disability Service, will:
- Train public and private business enterprises to include inclusive for disabled people in inductions and training programmes.
- Organise seminars for public services and bodies, business enterprises and the civil society to address subject concerning disability. A course on Human Rights and Disability will be given at universities, and outreach actions will be carried out involving public services and bodies, business enterprises and the civil society.
Pillar II Action Point 2.2 (p.71): The Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism will agree with business enterprises represented in the Social Responsibility Council for Sustainable Development, upon the development of memorandums of understanding, guides, handbooks and guidelines containing best practices, so that they can become an integral part of business and human rights standards in the following subject matters: labour practices, impact on communities, corporate practices and supply chain management
Pilar I Action Point 1.5 (p. 42): The Ministry of Social Development, through the Division of Public-Private Cooperation, will include the focus on business, human rights and sustainable development in training activities about Public Incentives to Benefit Social Development by means of Workshop-seminars about Public Incentives to Benefit Social Development for Business Enterprises and public-private cooperation in accordance with the Guiding Principles and the 2030 Agenda, thus strengthening the State-Business nexus and promoting due diligence in human rights.
Pillar II Action Point 3.1 (p.71) The Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism will:
- Encourage the development of a Guide about the duty of public enterprises regarding human rights.
- Foster the use of reporting mechanisms about human rights between public business enterprises.
Pilar I Action Point 6.2 (p.52): The Ministry of Social Development will draft a proposal for gathering information about business and human rights, which includes the following:
- To review the international experience in the subject;
- To analyse current instruments for gathering information;
- To draft a proposal that includes indicators using the information available and require the gathering of new information.
- Through the National Service of the Elderly, will coordinate dialogues on services that provide elderly residences and a human rights approach through protocols guidelines. The dialogues will be with enterprises at a regional level that provide services of care to elderly people to disseminate the guidelines the Service has define.
Pilar I Action Point 3.6 (p. 49): The Ministry for Women and Gender Equality will carry out activities in conjunction with the Danish Embassy to encourage the respect of human rights in women regarding corporate activity. The activities will be performed within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding about “Gender Equality and Sustainability, including Business and Human Rights.”
Pillar II Action Point 2.1 (p.70): The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the General Directorate of International Economic Relations, will disseminate the UN Guiding Principles with business enterprises who are members of ProChile, thus helping, as far as possible, to incorporate them in their business activities. It will do this through information available on the website, talks or sets of tools to strengthen their capacities, and/or through the publication of handbooks containing the UN Guiding Principles or other relevant instruments, with special focus on information and training provided to SMEs.
Pilar I Action Point 1.5 (p. 42): The Ministry of Social Development will, through the Indigenous Affairs Coordination Unit, carry out a Training Plan on indigenous peoples’ issues and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights for businesses operating in the North and South macro-zones. Contents of these training sessions will include relevant international standards, which will be discussed with indigenous representatives and have the involvement of business enterprises. Through the Indigenous Affairs Coordination Unit, the Ministry will publish a Participatory Guide on Indigenous Rights and the Cosmovision of Indigenous Peoples, to guide and train business enterprises on these peoples and the respect for their rights.
Pilar I Action Point 2.1 (p. 44): Through the Indigenous Affairs Coordination Unit of the Ministry of Social Development, opportunities for involvement and dialogue will be generated at a local level between business enterprises and indigenous peoples aimed at preparing a territorial development plan seeking to generate a dialogue at a local level involving municipalities, thus carrying out a participatory exercise about what happens in a territory and how this is planned. This would consider the participation and planning demands regarding territorial matters of indigenous peoples submitted within the context of the Participatory Dialogues of this Plan, as well as what is set out in Convention 169, the national regulations connected with such Convention, and the national instruments of territorial planning.
Pilar I Action Point 3.7 (p. 49): The Ministry of Energy will promote the respect of human rights of indigenous peoples in the development of energy projects. It will do this through the implementation of the Indigenous Chapter the 2050 Energy Policy, developing consultation and participation processes pursuant to ILO Covenant 169, and drafting a guide for indigenous participation in the development of energy projects.
Theme 3 (p.46): The Country Guide on Business and Human Rights to Chile identifies groups at risk of suffering different adverse human rights impacts by business operations, such as women, indigenous peoples, migrants, LGBTI individuals and people suffering from disabilities. Potential negative impacts on these groups may take place both inside the business enterprise (hiring, firing or discrimination) and outside the business for situations derived from corporate activity.
Pillar II Action Point 1.2 (p. 69): The National Human Rights Institute will disseminate and update the Human Rights and Business Country Guide to Chile with the participation of business, civil society, trade unions, and academia.
Action Point 4.1 (p. 50): The Ministry of Energy will:
- Include, within the framework of the Indigenous Chapter of the 2050 Energy Policy, in conjunction with the Ministry of Economy and the Indigenous Affairs Coordination Unit, business and human rights standards in the Indigenous Participation Guidance in the Development of Energy Projects.
- Promote, within the framework to implement the Indigenous Chapter of the 2050 Energy Policy, the right conditions for the social and technical viability of power generation projects, with total or partial participation in their ownership by the indigenous communities.
Pilar I Action Point 5.1 (p.52): The Chilean System of Public Purchases, (Chilecompra), has the mission to facilitate the contracting of goods and services by the State through a public market web platform, in the different purchase procedures. Chilecompra will:
- Train suppliers on the issues of business and human rights.
- Assess the possibility to gather, through a relevant guideline, recommendations for buyers aimed at safeguarding the respect for human rights in the process of acquiring goods and services.
Pillar II Action Point 2.2 (p.71): The Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism will:
- Agree, with business enterprises represented in the Social Responsibility Council for Sustainable Development, upon the development of memorandums of understanding, guides, handbooks and guidelines containing best practices, so that they can become an integral part of business and human rights standards in the following subject matters: labour practices, impact on communities, corporate practices and supply chain management
Pilar I Action Point 4.2 (p. 50): The Public-Private Cooperation Division of the Ministry of Social Development will include questions about the Guiding Principles in the 2017 Study about Social Performance of Business Enterprises, as well as the result of these variables in the final performance report, which will include an analysis of the results and their relationship with the SDGs. Medium and large-size public and private business enterprises will participate in the study.
Pillar II Action Point 1.6 (p. 69): The Environmental Assessment Service will prepare the Guide for Describing the Human Environment with Gender Focus for the Assessment of Environmental Impact. Such Guide is meant for the owners of projects submitted to the SEIA.
Contributions by other actors (p. 88):
- Fundación Casa de la Paz, with the support of the Inter-Ministerial Working Group, will lead the process to create the “Guías Chile” initiative, with the purpose of gathering business enterprises, civil society organisations and the Government to improve business practices in the field of human rights in the Chile.
- Global Compact Chile will organise a series of activities with technical support by the Directorate of Human Rights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and international organisations. This will have the purpose of building capabilities regarding the Guiding Principles and the Sustainable Development Goals in business enterprises that are members of Global Compact Chile, such as:
- Creation of a Working Group on Business and Human Right in Global Compact.
- Introduction workshop about their application, practice and connection with the SDGs.
- Four working sessions aimed at including the human rights focus and how it is applied by business enterprises about the SDGs.
- Collection and dissemination of tools for the adoption of due diligence by companies, in line with the SDGs, introducing material available of the Global Compact World Office.
- Creation, in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of the criteria to choose best practices available about human rights in the System for the Integration of Compact Principles (SIPP). The Framework for Reporting in Human Rights will be taken as a reference.
- Work with the Ministry of Economy to promote the subscription by business enterprises who are members of the Global Compact, in the Ministry’s initiatives that have incidence on this Plan.
- The Santiago Stock Exchange will coordinate with trading business the holding of training workshops on business and human rights. For this, it will have the technical support of the Directorate of Human Rights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and international institutions.
- Fundación ACCIÓN Empresa will:
- Prepare a study about main challenges existing in this field, starting by the corporate role, to comply with the Guiding Principles, with the purpose of contributing strategies to resolve issues through good corporate practices in this field.
- Create a Corporate Committee for Responsible Supply, aimed at identifying the best corporate practices in place to minimise the infringement of rights in their value chain. It includes 4-6 annual sessions.
- The Social Responsibility Council for Sustainable Development will create a working group for business and human rights. This initiative will have the purpose of analysing strategies introducing human rights standards in corporate activity, sharing best practices y reviewing documents and tools to be promoted by the Council in this field.
- Action point 1.6 (p. 11):
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will disseminate and promote this plan internationally through its Diplomatic Missions, Permanent Representation Offices and Consular Sections.”
- Action point 1.7 (p.11):
“The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, through its offices and agencies charged with business internationalization, will promote respect for human rights in the business activities, providing support regarding the contents of this Plan.”
- Action point 1.9 (p .12):
“The Post-Conflict Directorate, jointly with the Council to the President for Human Rights, will promote the agenda on human rights and peacebuilding in the business sector, in alliance with the Chamber of Commerce of Colombia; thus, a training and knowledge transfer process by the Government, as well as cooperation with enterprises and the enterprises’ employees will be created.”
- Action point 1.11 (p. 12):
“The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will join forces to provide the enterprises and Embassies in Colombia with better knowledge of the stipulations of this Plan.”
- Action point 2.5 (p. 13):
“The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism and its entities (PROCOLOMBIA) will work to make the Colombian enterprises observe the human rights standards and will strive for incentives in the international market.”
- Action Point IV is dedicated to the “State’s guidance towards respect for Human Rights in the business activities”:
- Action point 4.1 (p. 15):
“The Government will strengthen the subscribing to these multi-actor initiatives: Guias Colombia, Swiss Ethical Committee and the Mining-Energy Committee, as well as the implementation of guides or the provided recommendations by such initiatives.
- “Action point 4.2 (p. 15):
“The Council to the President for Human Rights will have a microsite on its website for the business and human rights issue, where the information on the implementation of this plan will be available.”
- Action point 4.3 (p. 15):
“With the purpose of preventing enterprises from engaging in actions involving any kind of discrimination, the National Government will boost the knowledge transfer and the transfer of the developed tools in the context of the National Human Rights Strategy in respect of rights to equality and non-discrimination.”
- Action point 4.4 (p. 15):
“Within the State Policy for the LGBTI population, which the National Government is preparing, business practices respecting, recognizing and appreciating this population’s diversity will be supported.”
- Action point 4.5 (p.15):
“The Ministry of Labor will advise the businessmen on the labor inclusion of people with disabilities and employment mediation services, in agreement with the National Public Policy on Disability and Social Inclusion.”
- Action point 4.6 (p.15):
“The Council to the President for Women Equality will strengthen the coordination for the application of the international standards on women’s rights, intended to guarantee such rights in the business world.”
- Action point 4.7 (p.15):
“The Ministry of Labor and the Colombian Institution for Family Welfare will strengthen actions intended to provide advice, training and monitoring to enterprises in respect of the integral protection of the children’s rights, as well as the implementation of the children’s rights and business principles in the priority sectors.”
- Action point 4.8 (p.15):
“The Ministry of Labor will strengthen actions to prevent the commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents, and will create strategies engaging the private sector in the actions to prevent the violation of the children’s and adolescents’ rights.”
- Action point 4.9 (p.15):
“The Ministry of Labor will strengthen actions aiming at protecting the rights to union freedom and collection negotiations.”
- Action point 4.11 (p. 15):
“The Ministry of the Interior will implement actions at the institutional level to identify the real issues in the prior-consultation process and its effect on human rights. It will also improve such practices allowing for the involvement of the affected population, protecting and respecting the rights of the native, afro-descendant and ethnic minority communities, according to the OIL agreements and the standards of the Inter-American Human Rights System.”
- Action point 4.12 (p.15):
“In the year following the Plan’s launching, the Ministry of Mines and Energy will design a strategy to step forward as for the respect for human rights in the mining-energy sector, which will adjust the Principles and Criteria of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to the national needs.”
- Action point 4.1 (p. 15):
- Action point 5.1 (p. 16):
“The Working Group will coordinate the preparation of a guide intended to define what executing due diligence means; what the practice is, particularly applied to the high risk business activity sectors.”
- Action point 5.3 (p. 16):
“Promote the implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles and other international standards on business and human rights by the trades and the enterprises part thereof, so they may adopt human rights policies. Thus, during the first year of the execution of this Plan, the Council to the President for Human Rights will convene high level meetings with the trades to determine the inclusion goals in the multi-actor initiatives and human rights performance follow-up mechanisms. These actions must be coordinated with the entities of the Working Group, especially with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism and in cooperation with the Post-Conflict Directorate.”
- Action point 5.4 (p. 16):
“The Council to the President for Human Rights and the Ministry of National Defense will encourage the implementation of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. To that end, they will alternately engage in the areas where such issue is treated.”
- Action point 5.5 (p. 16):
“Develop a guide on the increasing human rights risks of the business activities in zones historically affected by the armed conflict. Thus, the Council to the President for Human Rights and the Post-Conflict Directorate will coordinate with the Comprehensive Conflict Prevention and Management System the development of such guide, which must be worked upon in a participatory manner with the enterprises and the civil society. According to the provided period to create the Comprehensive Conflict Prevention and Management System, this action must be carried out within the year following the coming into operation of such system.”
- Action point 5.6 (p. 17):
“The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism will promote the business efforts to adjust their policies to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, for which purposes it will assess, within six month from the execution of this Plan, its strategy to disseminate the Guidelines so as to make them widely known.”
- Action point 5.7 (p. 17):
“The Working Group will assess and analyze the best ways for enterprises to include the reporting of the human rights due diligence in their Sustainability Reports or rendering of accounts. Such assessment will be carried out within the year following the launching of this Plan and accompanied by the several sectors.”
- Action point 6.1 (p. 18):
“The Council to the President for Human Rights, within the following year of this Plan being launched, will encourage business to define and publicly disclose their political commitment to respect human rights.”
- Action point 6.3 (p. 18):
“The Unit for Care and Integral Repair for Victims, as the coordinator of the National Care and Integral Repair for Victims (SNARIV), jointly with the Post-Conflict Directorate, will develop strategies aiming at getting companies to contribute to the recovery of historical memory for peacebuilding, reconciliation and promotion of human rights and the reconstruction of the fabric of society, wherefore memory and peacebuilding culture initiatives might be created.”
- Action point 6.4 (p. 18):
“The Council to the President for Human Rights, the Colombian Agency for Reintegration and the Post-Conflict Directorate will prepare a joint strategy for companies to actively promote major participation of people in the reintegration process into the business field, in the production field, and in the peacebuilding processes.”
- Action point 6.5 (p. 18):
“The Working Group will encourage enterprises to exchange their experiences in order to better understand the human rights and peacebuilding management.”
- Action point 6.6 (p. 18):
“The Post-Conflict Directorate will hold a public debate on the role and power of business enterprises in peacebuilding.”
- Action Point VII is dedicated to the State’s promotion and support for implementation of due diligence procedures in business enterprises:
- Action point 7.1 (p. 19):
“The Working Group, advised by the Expert Committee, will encourage discussion fora to determine the best ways for enterprises to establish easy-to-access, transparent and effective complaint and claims offices or mechanisms for prevention and mitigation and remedy of adverse human rights effects as may be caused by their activities.”
- Action point 7.2 (p. 19):
“The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism will encourage large enterprises to foster and boost their human rights support and guidance efforts for such SME they have business relationships with.”
- Action point 7.3 (p. 19):
“The Ministry of Labor will guarantee respect for the labor rights.”
- Action point 7.4 (p. 19):
“The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism will encourage business enterprises to foster talks with consumers.”
- Action point 7.5 (p. 19):
“The Office of the Transparency Secretary of the Presidency of Republic will support the adoption of transparency covenants by enterprises so as to contribute to the corruption struggles in corporate governments, for which purposes a year will be given upon the Plan’s launching.”
- Action point 7.6 (p. 19):
“The Working Group will tend towards enterprises, through their complaint offices, receiving and diligently managing the citizen and community claims, as considered to be affected by the adverse effects caused by their operations.”
- Action point 7.7 (p. 20):
“The Working Group, advised by the Expert Commission, will encourage companies to have follow-up strategies in place to know about the progress and follow-up to the mitigation of adverse impacts caused by the development of business activities.”
- Action point 7.8 (p. 20):
“The Working Group, advised by the Expert Commission, will encourage business enterprises to assess their risks and impacts on people and the environment as a result of their operation.”
- Action point 7.1 (p. 19):
- Action Point VIII is dedicated to the State’s incentives for diligent business enterprises:
- Action point 8.1 (p. 20):
“The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism will design a differentiated incentive strategy for large, medium and small enterprises with the purpose of having them to implement human rights policies involving:
- Public commitment
- Due diligence procedure
- Result verification mechanism”
- Action point 8.2 (p. 20):
“The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, supported by the Council to the President for Human Rights, the Post-Conflict Directorate and the National Authority for Environmental Permits, will incentivize the establishment of public-private alliances for the creation of social and environmental quality enterprises, particularly in the scattered rural areas.”
- Action point 8.3 (p. 20):
“The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, jointly with the Council to the President for Human Rights will create a Human Rights business incentive to be provided every year and to value the advances the business enterprises might have in adopting the international standards on business and human rights in their operations. This incentive regulation will be developed by the Working Group within the year following this Plan’s launching.”
- Action point 8.4 (p. 21):
“The Council to the President for Human Rights will publicly disclose on its website the advances and good practices implemented by the enterprises in respect of the human rights implementation in the business field.”
- Action point 8.5 (p. 21):
“The Council to the President for Human Rights will coordinate an annual international event with the international community, where business enterprises with the largest progress might show and share their challenges and issues.”
- Action point 8.6 (p. 21):
“The Council to the President for Human Rights, jointly with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, will facilitate international exchange among business enterprises for better practices in the implementation of human rights in the business activity.”
- Action point 8.7 (p. 21):
“The Post-Conflict Directorate, in cooperation with the Council to the President for Human Rights will identify and recognize the joint work opportunities between the business and the public sectors for development and peacebuilding.”
- Action point 8.8 (p. 21):
“The Council to the President for Human Rights will generate cooperation strategies between the State and the enterprises for the implementation of affirmative actions.”
- Action point 8.9 (p. 21):
“SENA will boost and disseminate the business enterprises’ support to the processes developed by the State for the workers’ training.”
- Action point 8.1 (p. 20):
- Action point 9.1 (p. 22):
“The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, jointly with the Council to the President for Human Rights will support the coordination of corporate human rights policies with the Corporate Social Responsibility institutional programs.”
- Action point 9.3 (p. 22):
“Increase the recognition of Corporate Social Responsibility and dissemination of good practices by establishing sector platforms for the enterprises and stakeholders to make commitments and jointly supervise progress. The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism will supervise this process.”
- Action point 11.4 (p. 24):
“The Ministry of Labor and the Public Employment Services will continue to support the talks among workers, unions, enterprises and government for negotiation, as well as the employment mediation and agreement through the mechanisms defined for such purpose.”
Publication and dissemination of existing documents, education and awareness-raising [page 9-11]
“Implements Principles 2, 3c and 8
Increasing attention is paid to the theme of business and human rights in recent years. Many countries, international organisations and universities have produced numerous documents, model professional and theme-based codes of conduct, examples of good practice, recommendations and guidelines. Examples include recommendations and model codes published by the OECD, EU bodies, the Council of Europe and the ILO, as well as examples of good practice from the business community. However, these documents have not been gathered in one place. Businesses wishing to guard against human rights risks in their operations, perhaps by introducing new internal control mechanisms, adopting a code of conduct or incorporating human rights clauses into their contracts, may find it difficult to look up information.
A sound of response would be to find these documents, collect them in one place, classify them and, where necessary, translate them into Czech so that texts on business and human rights are made available to the general public. When new materials are drawn up, they should be written in plain language that a layman can easily understand.
The world’s universities are also aware of how important this subject is. The “Teach BHR” platform, grouping together those who teach business and human rights at universities, currently has 240 members from 140 institutions in 32 countries. It also offers ready-made study materials, workshops and experience-sharing forums. When it comes to Czech higher-education institutions, the University of Economics, Prague, runs a specialised course called “Business and Human Rights”, and other colleges cover this topic, for example, as part of their business ethics courses.
Current state of play:
- The Quality Council of the Czech Republic runs the National CSR Information Portal.
- The supreme judicial bodies publish summaries of key rulings, especially those relevant to human rights.
- Every year, the Government publishes a Report on the State of Human Rights and numerous other reports and documents analysing respect for human rights in the Czech Republic. Reports in the same vein are also published by other institutions, including the Ombudsman.
- The National Contact Point for the implementation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises is responsible for promoting the Guidelines and their instruments (seminars, training, promotional materials, etc.).
- The Ministry of Industry and Trade, in cooperation with the Czech Trade Inspection Authority has launched the “Consumer Protection” project to provide information on the latest developments in consumer law.
- Propose changes to the website of the National CSR Information Portal.
Coordinator: Ministry of Trade and Industry
Co-coordinator: Ministry for Human Rights
Deadline: 30 June 2018
- On the National CSR Information Portal, post documents and materials of business associations (the Czech Chamber of Commerce, the Confederation of Industry, the Confederation of Employers’ and Business Associations of the Czech Republic, industry associations, and others), trade unions and NGOs active in corporate social responsibility for those businesses that take the voluntary decision to subscribe to human rights commitments.
Coordinators: Ministry for Human Rights, Ministry of Industry and Trade
Deadline: Running, following the completion of the previous task
- Translate the UN Guiding Principles and other key documents into Czech.
Coordinator: Ministry for Human Rights
Deadline: 31 December 2017
- Provide the National Portal administrator with business and human rights documents that the ministries have at their disposal and that concern their scope of responsibilities.
Coordinators: All ministries
- Assess the vehicles in place to provide businesses with information on human rights risks in countries or regions where they are planning to set up operations.
Coordinator: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Deadline: 31 December 2020”
Supply chains and conflict minerals [page 21]
“Current state of play:
- The Czech Republic was involved in the consultation and approval of the OECD-FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains. The Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture will arrange for this Guidance to be published and publicised at their seminars and workshops.
- The Czech Republic was involved in the consultation and approval of OECD recommendations on the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas and Due Diligence Guidance for Meaningful Stakeholder Engagement in the Extractive Sector. The Ministry of Industry and Trade is now considering how they can best be implemented in the Czech Republic.”
Non-financial reporting [page 21-22]
“Current state of play: …
- The European Commission (DG FISMA [Directorate‑General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union]) has produced general guidelines for businesses on how to apply the Non-financial Reporting Directive.
- Publish the European Commission’s general guidelines on the websites of the National CSR Portal, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Finance, and in Finanční zpravodaj (“Financial Bulletin”).
Coordinator: Ministry for Human Rights, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Finance
Deadline: 31 December 2017
- Provide information on the guidelines as part of training courses or in guidance and informational materials on non-financial reporting.
Coordinator: Ministry of Finance
Public procurement [page 23-24]
“…guidance should be drawn up for award procedure in accordance with human rights. This guidance should encompass specific practical examples, including model contractual provisions and/or a model tender dossier. The guidance should be accompanied by an overview of international platforms and initiatives sharing experience and information on socially responsible public contracts. This guidance should be preceded by consultations and should be produced in collaboration with business associations.
Current state of play:
- Guidance on a responsible approach to public procurement and purchasing is being drawn up.
- Incorporate human rights issues into the guidance that is being drawn up.
Coordinator: Ministry of Regional Development
Co-coordinators: Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Ministry of Human Rights
Deadline: 31 December 2017”
State enterprises and companies in which the state has a shareholding [page 26]
“Current state of play: …
- Guidelines on Corporate Governance of State-Owned Enterprises are taken into account in the management of state enterprises and companies in which the state has a shareholding.”
External policy [page 28]
“Current state of play: …
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs already provides enterprises with a wide range of information to help them do business abroad.
- Provide businesses abroad – through embassies – with advice and assistance to help them navigate the local environment, including the issues of the rule of law, human rights and corruption risks.
Coordinator: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Deadline: Running, with an assessment in 2020”
Cooperation [page 39]
“Businesses in the same industry or in the same geographical area are exposed to similar problems, so it is more efficient for them to tackle them together. Cooperation could result in the exchange of good experience and practical examples, and in the creation of new instruments (in particular the conclusion of sectoral agreements or the adoption of sectoral standards).”
Documents and sources of information [page 39]
“The Office of the Government of the Czech Republic collects model documents, guidelines and materials intended for businesses to improve the performance of tasks in this chapter, and posts them on the National Corporate Social Responsibility Portal:
2. State duty to protect human rights
2.3 Actions taken
Danish Government’s expectations to companies [page 11]
“As part of the promotional activities among Danish companies the government has committed to providing courses and guidance on responsible business conduct. The Government has launched an information campaign specifically aimed at companies and NGOs on compliance with the Guiding Principles in connection with the establishment of the mediation and grievance mechanism (for more information see section 4.3).
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 advisory services are demand-driven and offered to companies on the same terms as the other business services of the Trade Council, i.e. chargeable by the hour in accordance with Danish legislation (UNGPs 3c).
In addition, 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 medium sized 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. To further assist Danish companies in emerging markets, the embassies are also conducting CSR reviews of local business partners. The reviews include a due diligence component (UNGPs 3c).
The Guiding Principles have proved to be an excellent instrument in rallying stakeholders for joint action. Using the Guiding Principles as the basis for a new Partnership for Responsible Garments Production in Bangladesh, the Danish government, business associations and enterprises have agreed on a number of detailed commitments to improve conditions within their sphere of influence. The partnership, which was agreed within the framework of the Danish Ethical Trading Initiative (DIEH), will be implemented in close co-ordination with international partners as well and stakeholders in Bangladesh.”
Providing effective guidance on how to respect human rights [page 13-14]
Since 2005, the Danish Government has worked directly with promoting CSR among Danish companies. The efforts have focused on providing companies with tools and guidance to implement CSR policies in a manner which is both strategic and manageable (GP 3c). Examples of relevant tools include:
- The CSR Compass – which is a free online tool that helps companies implement responsible supply chain management. http://www.csrcompass.com/
- The Global Compact Self-Assessment Tool – which helps companies to test their performance on all ten UN Global Compact principles, and how well these issues are managed: http://www.globalcompactselfassessment.org/
The tools have been developed in collaboration with the UN Global Compact and other partners from Danish civil society and industry organisatons.
The Danish Government is committed to continuously improving and promoting guidance provided to companies on how to work with CSR in general and human rights in particular. 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 Self-Assessment 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 follow up action plan.”
3. The corporate responsibility to respect human rights
3.2 Recommendations from the Council for CSR on the corporate responsibility to respect [page 17-18]
Since its creation in 2008, the Danish Council for CSR followed the work of the SRSG John Ruggie closely. In 2009, the Government asked the Council to produce a set of guidelines for responsible supply chain management to help companies meet international social and environmental requirements and expectations in their supply chain.
In June 2010, the Council published a set of guidelines for responsible supply chain management based on the Protect, Respect, Remedy Framework. The Council also made sure that the guidelines were aligned with recognised international principles like the UN Global Compact, ISO 26000 etc. The guidelines were meant as a supplement to the Protect, Respect, Remedy-Framework, intended to provide greater clarity about responsible supply chain management by offering a practical, easy-to-read guide and online tool. The guidelines are supplemented by a checklist of self-help questions intended to help the individual company find the solutions that address their specific challenges. For the guidelines in its entirety, see: www.csrcouncil.dk/guidelines.
While the guidelines are focused on assisting companies with the implementation of the UNGPs with regard to supply chain management, implementation of the corporate responsibility to respect continues to be a very important part of the council’s agenda.
4. Access to remedy
4.3 Actions taken [pager 20-21]
Access to non-judicial remedy
“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. … So far the promotional activities have included among other: …
- Survey among Danish companies on the knowledge of the institution and of the OECD Guidelines in order to be able to measure the progress in the coming years;
- Information leaflet in Danish, English, French and Spanish; the leaflet has been distributed through 112 Danish embassies for audiences abroad;
- Translation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises into Danish;
- Briefings, presentations and dialogue with interest groups, NGOs, etc. in order to raise awareness of the institution and the OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises and the UN Guiding Principles;
- Development of guidance on due diligence in the supply chain and company-based conflict resolution;”
Appendix 1, GP 3c
State Duty to Protect [page 26]
“(c) Provide effective guidance to business enterprises on how to respect human rights throughout their operations;”
Initiatives taken or planned as a dedicated measure to implement the UNGPs (after the UN ratification of the Guiding Principles) [page 26]
- “To make sure companies have the right tools and the necessary guidance to handle the new reporting requirements, the Government will continue to improve and promote the guidance provided to companies via a revision of an existing web-based tool.
- To promote responsible business conduct among Danish businesses, the government has also committed to providing courses and guidance on responsible business conduct.
In connection with the establishment of the Mediation and Complaints-Handling Institution for Responsible Business Conduct the Government has therefore launched an information campaign on compliance with the UN Guiding Principles.
- 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 advisory services are demand-driven and offered to companies on the same terms as the other business services of the Trade Council, i.e. chargeable by the hour in accordance with Danish legislation.
- 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.
- Whenever necessary, the government also initiates and drives multi-stakeholder partnerships based on the Guiding Principles. This year the government established the partnership for Responsible Garments Production in Bangladesh, gathering all the major Danish stakeholders within the industry and linking the partnership up with international public and private partners to achieve joint action.
- 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.
- In 2013, a number of Danish organisations have been granted support by Danida for initiatives focusing on the promotion of ethical trading initiatives and supply chain management, CSR and Fair Trade.”
Appendix 1, GP 7
Initiatives taken or planned as a dedicated measure to implement the UNGPs (after the UN ratification of the Guiding Principles) [page 30]
“The Danish Institute of Human Rights will launch a Business Guide to Human Rights in December 2013. The Guide to Human Rights is a free website for companies to identify, assess and address their human rights impacts around the world. It provides country- and sector-specific information about the human rights impacts of businesses, alongside concrete recommendations for preventing and mitigating adverse impacts, as well as maximising positive ones. The Guide to Human Rights emphasises multi-stakeholder engagement and dialogue, and seeks to build the capacity of local Portal partners on human rights and business.”
Appendix 1, GP 8
Initiatives taken or planned as a dedicated measure to implement the UNGPs (after the UN ratification of the Guiding Principles) [page 31]
“The Government has updated the CSR Compass which is an online tool that helps companies exercise due diligence in the supply chain. The guide has been updated in accordance with the UNGPs and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. This online tool will also be promoted to governmental departments, agencies and other State-based institutions.”
Appendix 1, GP 28
Initiatives taken or planned as a dedicated measure to implement the UNGPs [page 35]
“An initiative dedicated to implementing the UNGPs which has been implemented recently is the development of a guide for small and medium-sized companies on ways to solve company conflicts by actively involving and engaging in a dialogue with the company’s stakeholders.”
Appendix 1, GP 29
Initiatives taken or planned as a dedicated measure to implement the UNGPs [page 35]
“The two online tools which help companies to integrate due diligence into their own company and into the businesses of their sub-suppliers, the CSR Compass and the UN Global Compact SelfAssessment tool, both include guidance on company level grievance mechanisms.”
Appendix 1, GP 30
Initiatives taken or planned as a dedicated measure to implement the UNGPs [page 35]
“The guide on company conflicts resolution in the CSR Compass promotes the active involvement and engagement of the company’s stakeholders.”
1 The state obligation to protect human rights
1.1 Human rights in Finnish legislation [page 13-14]
“For continuing both the national and international discussion, it would be essential to further clarify features such as the applicability of national legislation to international business activities. For this reason, the working group proposes that as a follow-up measure,
- a report be commissioned on Finnish legislation in relation to the regulation and guidance of international business activities, particularly to prevent serious human rights violations and to remedy any existing violations.
Principal responsible party: Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Employment and the Economy and Ministry for Foreign Affairs, schedule by mid-2015.”
2 The state and companies
2.1 The state as an economic operator [page 20-23]
SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE PUBLIC PROCUREMENT
“The Ministry of Employment and the Economy has published a guide to socially responsible procurement9, with practical examples gathered from procurement units, explaining how social aspects can be taken into consideration in each stage of the procurement process. In addition, the Ministry maintains the CSRkompassi.fi website (available in Finnish and Swedish, some material also in English), with information and material for taking social aspects into consideration in long production chains related to public procurement. …
As a follow-up measure, the working group proposes that
- references to Section 49 of the Act on Public Contracts and to the Guide to socially responsible procurement be added to the procurement guidelines for ministries; and
- the responsibility themes in the state procurement manual be updated; …
- A report will be made on the product groups that pose the highest risk for human rights violations. The report would increase the awareness related to responsible procurement and help target the consideration of the social aspect for the product groups that pose the highest risk. …”
“As an owner, the state expects that the administration and management of state-owned companies take human rights into consideration in a responsible and transparent manner, both in their own organisation and in their subcontracting chains.
As a follow-up measure, the working group proposes that …
- When the amended OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance of State-Owned Enterprises enter into force around the end of 2015, the new definitions of policy will be included in the ownership guidance practices of the Finnish state.
Principal responsible party: Prime Minister’s Office, schedule before the end of 2016.”
3 Expectations towards companies and support services
3.3 Training and counselling [page 27]
“Training plays a crucial role in the promotion of human rights related to business activities. As a party protecting human rights, the state also has the obligation to promote training, communications and counselling related to them. They may target companies, the authorities, and other operators. The Team Finland network (cf. next paragraph) may be used as one of the training channels. Companies may also independently acquire information and training related to human rights from various experts and consultants. However, compared to large companies, SMEs have limited resources for acquiring training related to human rights. For this reason, it is important to provide targeted training for SMEs.
As a follow-up measure, the working group proposes that
- the distribution of information on the UN principles and on the related interpretive guide published by the UN be ensured14.
- the need for training and information related to the impact of business on human rights and the responsibilities of Finnish companies with regards to international business activities be examined.
- training related to the theme of business and human rights be provided to companies. The special emphasis is on SMEs operating in branches of activity that pose a high risk for human rights.
Principal responsible parties: Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Employment and the Economy in conjunction with business sector organisations, schedule 2014 to 2016.
3.4 Team Finland cooperation [page 28]
“The Team Finland network was established in 2012 to promote the Finnish cause abroad. This entity includes Finland’s financial foreign relations, the internationalisation of Finnish companies, the foreign investments made in Finland and the image of Finland as a country. …
As a follow-up measure, the working group proposes that
- the Team Finland network provide interactive training on the theme of business and human rights;”
Part II on business responsibility to respect human rights, Introduction: the NAP refers to tools for companies to respect human rights: “Given the complexity of the subject, companies must therefore continue their efforts to develop tools and best practices in relation to human rights respect throughout their production chains. (…) To help them in these endeavors which are sometimes complex in logistical and financial terms, especially for SMEs, companies can rely on a wide range of tools and be supported and accompanied by all public and private actors. These resources are for the most part public, free and can be adapted to the needs of companies.” (paragraph 3, p40)
Part II, section 2 on information and training within companies (p42-43): the NAP listing existing tools and best practices (paragraph 3, p43), and indicates that “it is essential that all stakeholders be trained on CSR” and that “CSR is based on training” (paragraph 1, p43).
Annex, p 68: the NAP clarifies the positions of the different groups composing the CSR platform, which were not the object of a consensus but listed nonetheless in the CSR Plateform’s recommendation. The business group considers that “voluntary initiatives and best practice sharing are to be privileged , even though intervention by the State or through the law can be necessary and justified on certain specific issues (…)”, that “France must encourage homogenous initiatives and rules at the European and international level”, and finally that “companies are not per se opposed to binding frameworks, their opposition relates to the modalities of such frameworks, the implementation of which would prove to be purely punitive” (paragraph 2, p68).
Part II, Proposed Actions n°9, ongoing activities, p43:
“- Continue training efforts, notably for the functions of “Purchasing”, “Staff Representation”, etc.
– In order to encourage compliance with these rules, measures could be studied together with companies concerning the rules on products authorized for consumption and sale in countries that have ratified the UN Guiding Principles.”
III. Federal Government expectations regarding corporate due diligence in respecting human rights
Scope and practical structuring of due diligence in the field of human rights [page 8]
“Small and medium-sized enterprises in particular should make use of the advisory and support services to be offered by the Federal Government and business associations under the National Action Plan. The expertise of organisations within civil society and trade unions should also be brought to bear.”
1.3 State support
Measures [page 25]
- “The Federal Government will ensure that human rights, which have hitherto been an element of the environmental and social impact assessment, are given more specific consideration and a higher profile in assessment procedures. It will measure the existing assessment procedures against the requirements set out in chapter III above and make adjustments where necessary. One particular priority will be measures for better identification of risks to human rights as part of the assessment process.”
2.3 Business activity in conflict zones [page 32]
The current situation
“An important contribution to these efforts is being made by the deliberations, which Germany is backing, on what are known as ‘conflict minerals’, an intense discussion being conducted within both the OECD and EU frameworks. In 2011, the OECD published a guide to corporate responsibility along supply chains in which minerals from conflict zones are traded and handled. The guide, entitled OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas, has also been available in German since 2015. The primary aim of the Guidance is to curb the funding of armed conflicts from the proceeds of trade in raw materials; in addition, compliance with its recommendations would help to prevent serious human rights violations, especially child labour.”
3. Available means of practical implementation support [page 33-36]
The Federal Government would like to assist small and medium-sized enterprises in particular in fulfilling the extensive corporate due-diligence requirements and expectations relating to human rights (see chapter III above).
The current situation
Numerous measures and services are already available for this purpose. A selection of existing and planned measures is described in some detail below:
- The National CSR Forum, which was launched by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in 2009, consists of currently 41 members – high-ranking experts from business, trade unions, non-governmental organisations and research bodies as well as representatives of the participating federal ministries. Among the main tasks of the National CSR Forum are the provision of advice to the Federal Government on the continuing development of the national CSR strategy and the formulation of recommendations on specific issues. In 2010, the National CSR Forum, with the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in the lead role, discussed and developed a National CSR Action Plan. The measures and activities that have been carried out in the framework of the Action Plan have reached numerous enterprises. In a decision taken on 30 August 2012, the National CSR Forum expressed its support for “a smart mix of voluntary policy measures and, where necessary, complementary regulation” (2012, p. 11). Through the ESF promotion scheme for “social responsibility in SMEs”, more than 3,000 SMEs received advice and training in social responsibility, and regional CSR networks have been made permanent. Numerous specialised events have been staged in the framework of the CSR Forum to advise enterprises on the exercise of due diligence.
- The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development makes information and guidance available to enterprises of various sizes from various sectors, particularly by funding the work of the German Global Compact Network. Ever since 2004, the Ministry has been promoting the Network in close consultation with the Federal Foreign Office. The Network unites the German signatories of the UN Global Compact, whose core principles include respect for fundamental human rights and labour standards. As a business-driven multi-stakeholder forum, the Network has been providing training courses for management staff in the exercise of corporate responsibility for human rights ever since 2008.
- The Agency for Business and Economic Development of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development was expanded in 2015/2016 and provides advice on development-related support opportunities and information services for enterprises operating in developing and newly industrialised countries. In addition, ever since 2009 the ILO has been offering the services of a help desk to assist multinational companies in the practices of applying international labour standards and to advise them on the current legal situation in individual countries.
- Ever since 2012, the Federal Government has been supporting the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre information platform. In 2014, it succeeded in having a German-language version of the platform made available. The website provides information on human rights challenges by region, issue and risk group and even by enterprise.
- The Chambers of Industry and Commerce are already very active in providing enterprises with guidance. German Chambers of Commerce Abroad can inform enterprises of the current legal and de facto situation in foreign countries. In some countries, the Chambers, in cooperation with German development cooperation agencies, provide facilities known as “CSR centres of excellence”, which provide advice on CSR measures.”
I. Helpdesk and initial consultation
- The Federal Government will significantly increase the reporting and consultation output of German diplomatic and consular missions in collaboration with the other pillars of external-trade promotion, namely the Chambers of Commerce Abroad and Germany Trade and Invest. To this end, basic and continuing training will also be focused more sharply on advisory skills in the field of business and human rights.
- Within the Agency for Business and Economic Development of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, which operates as a one-stop business advisory centre on development-related support opportunities in developing and newly industrialised countries, a helpdesk on business and human rights will be created. The core task of the helpdesk will be to provide initial consultation on request or referral and to raise awareness of the issues involved. The Agency serves enterprises and business organisations as a first stop, informing them of existing services, contacts and networks. The services of the Agency are broadened and underpinned by the provision of advice in the framework of existing networks operating at the interface between business and development cooperation, such as “EZ-Scouts” and “ExperTS”.
II. Information services and best practices
- 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. An additional special prize is to be awarded in future for responsible supply chain management.
- The website http://www.csr-in-deutschland.de is currently being developed into the central Federal Government gateway to content on corporate social responsibility. Information on the main activities and measures of the Federal Government is to be posted there in a coherent whole-of-government format.
- Continued efforts will be made to increase the availability of information in German through the production of guides and through support for the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre.
III. Opportunities for training and dialogue
- The range of advisory and training services offered by the German Global Compact Network will be expanded and supplemented by services such as a graduated range of webinars and other formats relating to specific elements of human rights due diligence just like practical questions and answers.
- As the third-largest contributor to the International Labour Organization, the Federal Government is a major sponsor of the support services offered by the ILO. The ILO Helpdesk for Business on International Labour Standards assists enterprises in applying international labour and social standards correctly. Besides an informative website, the Helpdesk also provides prompt replies to individual queries on a confidential basis as well as training courses.
- In cooperation with business networks, ‘practice days’ for SMEs are offered nationwide. These sessions provide support, information and exchanges with other enterprises on responsible supply chain management and high-quality sustainability reporting.
IV. Creating a global level playing field
- In multilateral forums such as the G20, the EU and ASEM and in close cooperation with international organisations such as the ILO, the OECD and the UN, the Federal Government will press for the creation of a global level playing field with regard to terms of competition. To this end, the G7 leaders decision on sustainable supply chains will be further fleshed out with a view to arriving at a common global understanding of due diligence and of sustainable supply chain management.”
Section 1: International Context and Domestic Consultative Process
Other international initiatives [page 11]
“The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Tripartite Declaration on Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy provides direct guidance to enterprises on social policy and inclusive, responsible and sustainable workplace practices.”
Section 2: Current legislative and Regulatory Framework
Anti-trafficking [page 14]
“In October 2016, the Government launched the second National Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Human Trafficking. The plan contains 65 actions designed to crackdown on individuals and gangs involved in the crime, to support victims, to raise public awareness, and to enhance training for those likely to encounter victims.”
Section 3: Actions
II. Initial priorities for the Business and Human Rights Implementation Group [page 18]
“i. develop a practical toolkit on business and human rights for public and private entities within 12 months to assist them in their human rights due diligence
iii. Encourage and support awareness of effective human rights due diligence by State owned or controlled companies.
iv. Encourage and support effective human rights due diligence in the context of State support to business and NGOs.
vi. Provide clarity to relevant stakeholders on the applicable Irish law, reporting channels and protections for whistle-blowers/protected disclosures.
vii. Promote awareness of relevant multi-stakeholder and multilateral initiatives such as the UN global Compact, the Principles for Responsible investment and the Children’s Rights and Business Principles among state owned or controlled companies.
viii. Encourage business representative bodies to provide examples, templates and case studies to help support companies in their efforts to develop human rights focused policies and reporting initiatives.
xi. Encourage and facilitate the sharing of best practice on human rights due diligence, including effective supply chain audits.
xii. Create a fact sheet on the OECD anti-Bribery Convention, the criminal offences in Irish law on bribery, the reporting systems in place for reporting suspicions of foreign corruption and the protections provided by the Protected disclosures act to be distributed by enterprise Ireland to all Irish companies engaged in trade missions.”
Annex 1 – List of additional and ongoing actions to be carried out across Government
Trade and Investment [page 21]
“11. Provide information to participants in overseas trade missions led by Government representatives on human rights issues in the destination countries.
12. Ensure that State agencies and staff involved in promoting two-way trade and investment have received briefing and guidance on the purpose and implementation of the UN Guiding Principles.
13. Provide up to date guidance on the protection of human rights defenders working in the area of business and human rights through the circulation of Human Rights Defenders Guidelines to all Embassies.
14. Provide information from Embassies, working in cooperation with state agencies as appropriate, to Irish companies on business and human rights issues in their host countries.18. Provide advice to business enterprises of the possible risks of human rights situations when operating in conflict affected areas.”
The Italian NAP states in the Operational Principles section the GP3 that [page 13]: “The Italian Government is strongly committed to the protection of human rights and to prevent and redress abuses committed by companies and therefore: (…) Provide effective guidance to business enterprises on how to respect human rights throughout their operations (…)”.
In the section devoted to Children’s Rights, the Italian NAP mentions the Due Diligence Guidelines for SMEs [page 18]: “Since the 2011 review of the OECD Guidelines, the NCP developed tools to make international standards operational especially for SMEs such as the “Due Diligence Guidance for SMEs” and activities for awareness raising and pilot projects involving large companies and SMEs with the aim of spurring a proactive responsible supply chain management through training, information and assistance. (…) Other OECD guidance for due diligence are promoted among companies such as the “OECD-FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chain” and the OECD”.
Among the Planned Measures [page 19], the Italian NAP includes: “Providing guidance to Italian enterprises abroad through the diplomatic and consular network for the dissemination of UNGPs and the SDGs; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will develop a strategy to implement this process along actions of advocacy, watchdog activities and match making among enterprises. (…) Produce effective guidance for companies (with special focus on SMEs) including at sector level and disseminate Guidance tools developed by the OECD, EU and other international organizatons.”
Objective 1: ensuring State’s duty to protect, defend and respect human rights
C. Measures related to research and training on non-discrimination and other human rights [page 2-3]
1. “Research and training in non-discrimination. The Inter-institutional Action Plan for the Promotion of Non-discrimination for 2012-2014 was approved by Resolution No 1281 of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania of 2 November 2011, aims to ensure the implementation of educational measures on promotion of non-discrimination and equal opportunities, to increase legal awareness, mutual understanding and tolerance in terms of gender, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, belief, convictions or views, age, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin and religion, to inform the public about manifestations of discrimination in Lithuania and its negative impact on equal opportunities of certain social groups to actively participate in public life.”
2. “Promotion of employment of persons with disabilities … Measures foreseen:
- to organize training of the employers with a view to encourage their social responsibility as regards employment of persons with disabilities.”
D. Measures related to research and training on equality between men and women [page 3-4]
1. “Research and training on equal opportunities between men and women. National Programme on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men for 2010-2014, approved by Resolution No 530 of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania of 4 May 2010 and the Action Plan for the implementation of the National Programme on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men for 2010-2014, adopted by Order No Al-323 of the Minister of Social Security and Labour of7 July 2010, aims to ensure consistent, comprehensive and systematic cross-field implementation of the provisions of the Law on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, as well as European Union (hereinafter referred to as the EU) and international commitments regarding gender equality.
On-going measures: …
- to organise seminars to encourage employers to systematically promote equal treatment of women and men in the workplace and equal opportunities for women and men as regards access to employment or promotion to a senior position;
- to organise a round table discussion on the role of social partners in the implementation of equal opportunities for women and men in the labour market;
- to organise seminars on discriminatory treatment of women and men in education;
- to organise seminars in all regions of Lithuania on the implementation of provisional special measures;
- to organise a competition for employers ensuring equal treatment for men and women.”
Objective 2: promoting corporate responsibility and respect in the field of business and human rights
A. Implemented and on-going measures for the development of CSR in Lithuania [page 7]
3. “The application of CRS principles to the state-owned enterprises. … Lithuania already has SOEs engaged in socially responsible business initiatives. Model CSR application plan and its implementing guidelines for state-owned enterprises were prepared in 2012 aimed to facilitate introduction of CSR in state-owned enterprises, and to promote the use of CSR principles in their operations. This document lists examples of good practise of CSR in Lithuanian state-owned enterprises, naming among others AB Lesto, AB Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai, and Vilnius International Airport.”
4. “National network of responsible business. A Lithuanian National Network of Responsible Business was created in 2005 to provide training opportunities; promote cooperation and partnership among various sectors in Lithuania and abroad towards sustainable development. The Lithuanian Association of the Responsible Business (hereinafter referred to as the LAVA) was founded on 30 August 2013 on the basis of the former informal Lithuanian National Responsible Business Network, having brought together Lithuanian responsible businesses and organizations, mainly members of the United Nations Global Compact.”
C. Planned measures [page 8]
1. “Promotion of social and socially responsible business. The National Progress Programme 2014-2020 approved by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania by Resolution No 1482 of 28 November 2012 (hereinafter referred to as National Progress Programme) establishes priorities for the implementation of Lithuanian progress strategy ‘Lithuania 2030’. Lithuanian Progress Strategy ‘Lithuania 2030’ defines smart economy as able to compete in the world, generating high added value and based on knowledge, integrity and social responsibility. Task 3.3 ‘Implementation of sustainable development principals in businesses’ of the Lithuanian Progress Strategy goal 3 ‘Promotion of business productivity and sustainable development’ presents measures related to promotion of CSR and social businesses:
- to promote social and socially responsible business perceiving it as modern business practice;
- to promote social business by establishing a centre for competencies and good practice, accelerators, work environments for social business, mobility incentives and implementing other measures.”
3.1 An active role for the government
The OECD Guidelines Proactive Agenda [page 15]
“The Proactive Agenda was added to the OECD Guidelines in 2011 to elucidate the guidelines for specific sectors or situations, together with all the countries involved. In the context of the Agenda, the OECD is working with the financial sector on clarifying application of the guidelines. It is also working with the various interested parties in the extractive sector on a guide to using stakeholder engagement in their CSR policies. With the FAO, it is working on a guide for the agriculture sector on fulfilling CSR requirements such as responsible investment in agriculture supply chains and land. In the spring of 2014 a high level forum will be organised with the ILO on CSR in the textile sector. A multi-stakeholder approach to conflict minerals has proved highly successful in preventing funds being channelled into the civil war in the DCR.”
3.3 Clarifying due diligence
Raising companies’ awareness [page 22]
“It is essential for companies to have access to all available information on due diligence. The European Commission has published human rights guidance for three business sectors: ICT companies, oil and gas companies and employment and recruitment agencies. These guides advise companies on how they can implement their responsibility to respect human rights in their everyday operations. At each step, the guides give a short account of what the UN Guiding Principles expect of them, and present a whole range of strategies and examples to help them put the principles into practice. The European Commission has also published a guide for SMEs and has developed a number of case studies. As mentioned above, the OECD has published a guide on responsible supply chains for conflict minerals and is working on a guide for responsible investment in agriculture supply chains. In 2010 Global Compact Netherlands published the results of a pilot study of application of the Ruggie Framework in ten Dutch companies. A follow-up publication is currently being discussed with Global Compact Netherlands.”
3.3 Clarifying due diligence
CSR Risk Check [page 23]
“Using a grant from the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, CSR Netherlands has developed the CSR Risk Check for companies wishing to apply due diligence. Based on the sector and country in which a company is operating, this internet tool provides an indication of possible social impacts. CSR Netherlands works with the agency responsible for carrying out Sector Risk Analyses to harmonise the information on which the two instruments are based. This information will be used in the course of 2014 to compile sectoral world maps on which colour coding will be used to indicate whether a certain theme (e.g. child labour, discrimination of women) plays a role in a given country or region.”
Sector Risk Analysis [page 25]
“The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and the Minister of Economic Affairs have requested the SER to advise them on effective CSR agreements with the business community. The SER is expected to issue its recommendations in early 2014. The sectors with which the government plans to enter into voluntary agreements will be announced in mid-2014.”
Due diligence by government [page 27]
“Companies should always take responsibility for their activities and the ICSR [International Corporate Social Responsibility] assessment frameworks provide guidance in this respect. Participation in a voluntary CSR agreement will of course help companies wanting support from the government to fulfil the requirements set out in the frameworks.”
The Norwegian NAP makes an explicit reference to guidance to business in the section devoted to the State Duty to Protect Human Rights. The State as Adviser [page 20]: “A large number of public or officially supported institutions that work with business internationalisation provide guidance on CSR and human rights. Among them are the Foreign Service, Norad, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, and Innovation Norway. Norway’s OECD National Contact Point also provides information and guidance.”
Under Measures [page 21], the Norwegian NAP highlights the intention to “improve the level of competence on the UN Guiding Principles and the OECD Guidelines among the public bodies that offer guidance on CSR; strengthen guidance and dialogue with companies on human rights, business ethics, security and corruption in especially demanding markets.”
In the section devoted to Conditions for Government Support for Business Promotion and Private Sector Development – Measures [page 24], the Norwegian NAP notes the intention to “give companies with international operations that apply for public funding or services adequate and coherent information and guidance on the Government’s expectations concerning respect for human rights.”
The NAP makes an explicit reference to guidance to business in the section devoted Public Procurement [page 25]: “The Government has held a public consultation on a proposed amendment to section 6 of the Procurement Act to include a provision stating that contracting authorities should have adequate procedures for ensuring social responsibility in connection with public procurement. The Agency for Public Management and Government (DIFI) provides guidance on such matters.”.
In the section International Cooperation on CSR, the NAP stresses that [page 27]:“States should harmonize their expectations in international forums that support, enter into partnerships with and provide guidance to enterprises. Norway is therefore working for the integration of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises into the OECD framework for export financing.”
The Polish NAP mentions guidance to business only with regards to NCP OECD activities:
“The OECD NCP’s main task is to promote and disseminate the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises … The OECD Guidelines are recommendations for the standards of responsible business conduct addressed by governments to enterprises whose business extends in any way beyond the boundaries of one country. The Guidelines should be respected by enterprises that are based in one of the countries that implement the Guidelines and wherever they conduct their economic activity. For this reason, it is worth ensuring that the Guidelines are available to all entrepreneurs.
Guiding Principle 2:
“The Government will transfer the expectations described regarding human rights by companies to the business sector in a clear and consistent manner.”
“The Government will develop awareness and training actions based on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the National Plan for Business and Human Rights, and the expectations of the State in matters of business and human rights. These actions can be organized, among others, with the National Contact Point of the OECD Guidelines for multinational companies, business associations, networks of the United Nations Global Compact, and civil society organizations. This action will be directed as a priority to those companies in which the State has participation, or to which it provides financial, diplomatic, or other support; to companies that may affect vulnerable groups; as well as to those companies that have received the endorsement of Brand Spain. The awareness actions will be directed to the personnel of the companies at different decision-making levels, including the boards of directors and governing bodies.”
“In particular, the Government will develop awareness-raising campaign on actions aimed to protect groups with greater risk of vulnerability. In this sense, and in collaboration with the Spanish and international organizations, the Government will disseminate the UNICEF document, Save the Children and the Global Compact “Children’s Rights and Business Principles” among the business sector and will specifically take into account General Comment No. 16 of 2013 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.”
“The self-regulation codes will also be promoted, taking as an example relevant sector experiences, such as the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism of the World Tourism Organization (WTO) or the Code of Conduct for the protection of children and adolescents against sexual exploitation in the Tourism and Travel Industry, as well as the relevant labor conventions of the ILO.”
“Likewise, an awareness-raising strategy will be carried out on how to avoid discriminatory practices in public and private companies (by distinction, exclusion or preference) because of gender, age, ethnic origin, race, religion, disability, political affiliation or union, sexual orientation, nationality, marital status, socioeconomic origin or any other personal distinction.”
“Companies and vulnerable sectors will be informed about ILO Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples (1989), and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007). This awareness-raising action will demonstrate the benefits that the respect for human rights can have for companies, as well as highlight examples of good practices.”
“The Government will establish networks among Spanish companies or that the ones that operate in Spain for the promotion of: measures, procedures or internal systems that can effectively contribute to the prevention and/or mitigation of the negative consequences of business activities on human rights; as well as for the dissemination of good practices aimed to avoid these consequences, or to influence their avoidance, reduction or remedy. The establishment of procedures for internal assessment and determination of action will be promoted in a manner that avoids other negative consequences on human rights.”
“The Monitoring Commission will design and submit to the Government the adoption of an incentive system that includes both large companies and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that carry out policies in the field of human rights. These incentives may be economic, commercial, visibility and image, or other nature, to encourage companies to have policies and reliably certify that they have implemented adequate procedures at a global level according to their size and circumstances, namely:
- A public commitment to assume its responsibility to respect human rights in accordance with the provisions of the Principle no. 16;
- A process of due diligence aligned with the sectorial guides regarding the OECD (due diligence guidance), and based on the dialogue with stakeholders that allows identification, prevention, mitigation, and accountability of how they address the impact of their own activities and those that are directly related to their business relationships in accordance with the provisions of Principles no. 17 to no. 21;
- Some processes that allow to remedy all the negative consequences on human rights that have caused or contributed to provoke according to what is established in Principles no. 22, no.29, no. 30, no. 31.”
Guiding Principle 3:
“The implementation will be promoted by business and trade unions, general or sectorial, including representative organizations of social economy entities; as well as other institutions such as chambers of commerce, chambers abroad, universities, business schools, etc. of actions that should promote online training and advice and Resolution of queries, coordinated with those carried out in the application of the Spanish Strategy of Corporate Social Responsibility.”
“In accordance with the recommendations of the EU, the Government will promote information and training of SMEs and social economy entities, through all available means in business associations, and will promote the creation of sectorial forums of learning in order to discuss good practices and to reach commitments of interest for each sector.”
“In parallel, the Government, in collaboration with independent and specialized institutions with accredited experience in human rights matters where conflicts of interest do not arise, will collaborate in the creation and consolidation of on-site training programs and will promote the inclusion of specific contents on human rights in the training activities of business organizations and of the Public Administration.”
Guiding Principle 7:
“The Government, through its representations abroad, will inform companies about the risks involved in their business activities and relationships, especially in areas affected by conflicts.”
“Within the framework of the implementation of the II National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, the Government will develop tools and action guides directed to companies on how to address the risk of sexual violence and gender violence in conflict situations.”
Guiding Principle 28:
“The Government will promote the development of practical guides and compile good practices on the establishment of grievance mechanisms managed by companies themselves that respect the criteria identified in Guiding Principle 31.”
Guiding Principle 30:
“El Gobierno emitirá las recomendaciones que resulten oportunas a fin de que las empresas establezcan o participen en los mecanismos eficaces de reclamación de nivel operacional puestos a disposición de las personas que sufran sus consecuencias negativas.”
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”
The Swiss NAP makes an explicit reference to guidance to business in the section devoted to Operational Principles: Legislative and Information Policy Measures – GP3 where it quotes the UN Guiding Principles [page 13].
Furthermore, the NAP discusses the policy instruments to implement UN GPs: PI16 [page 16]: “Governments should provide business enterprises with guidance on action to respect human rights, by clearly defining and communicating their expectations. This was one of the primary demands made by the business sector during the consultation process” and PI18 [page 17]: “The federal government has supported the development of a variety of guidelines on business and human rights in recent years. Further to Recommendation 11 in the Federal Council’s Background Report on Commodities, the federal government is joining forces with NGOs and commodity trading firms to draw up guidelines for the implementation of the UNGP in commodities trading. Under the terms of the mandate, the guidance should include specific recommendations concerning human rights due diligence and reporting. (…) In the financial sector, SECO is supporting the OECD with the drafting of guidance on due diligence in this industry. Planned for the end of 2017, one of the objectives of the guidance is to support financial institutions in Switzerland to mitigate the negative impacts of their business activities on the environment on society around the world, including developing countries. The work is being supported by an advisory group of representatives of the federal government (SECO), industry (UBS), civil society (Public Eye [formerly the Berne Declaration]and the University of Zurich) In the agricultural and food sector, the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), as well as the Committee on World Food Security, the UN FAO and the OECD are supporting the formulation of Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems, as well as the OECD-FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains. Both instruments stress the important role that business has to play in responsible investment, and offer relevant guidance on action. Switzerland will also actively support their implementation.”
In the section devoted to Conflict Affected Areas – GP7, in the action oriented part, the NAP states that [page 26] “Over the years, the federal government has supported the drafting of a number of guidelines addressing the situation in conflict-affected areas. These include the Guidance on Conflict Sensitive Business Practice for the extractive sector issued by International Alert, and the Red Flags Initiative. Switzerland also provides financial support for the implementation of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas.”
The UK 2013 NAP in the section on Actions taken notes that [page 9]:
“To give effect to the UN Guiding Principles … :
…We will also continue to help develop, and monitor implementation of, OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict Affected and High-Risk Areas. The Government will also continue to encourage higher standards in the diamond supply chain.”
The UK 2013 NAP in the section on New Actions planed notes that [page 11-12]:
The Government will do the following to reinforce its implementation of its commitments under Pillar 1 of the UNGPs:
“(v) In line with the UK Cyber Exports Strategy, develop guidance to address the risks posed by exports of information and communications technology that are not subject to export control but which might have impacts on human rights including freedom of expression on line.
(x) Support the UN Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises in their role to promote uptake of the UNGPs and develop guidance and best practice (we contributed £100,000 in 2012).”
The UK 2013 NAP in the section on Actions taken to support business implementation of the UNGPs states [page 14-15]:
“To help businesses to fulfil their responsibility to respect human rights we have so far:
(iv) updated the Government’s “Business and Human Rights Toolkit” – a detailed guidance manual for officials – in light of the UNGPs and have brought it to the attention of all relevant officials, including through the training courses we run for FCO and UKTI staff.;
(vii) funded an online hub – in 6 languages – providing guidance and information on the UNGPs where companies can share successful outcomes and promulgate best practice. http://www.business-humanrights.org/UNGuidingPrinciplesPortal/Home”
The UK 2013 NAP in the section on Further actions planned provides that [page 15]:
“(i) continue to develop Government guidance so that it is accessible and helpful, especially to SMEs. We will work with relevant industry associations and other corporate groupings. And we will signpost guidance specifically intended to help SMEs, such as that available from the Equality & Human Rights Commission at:
and the European Commission at:
(ii) encourage trade associations/sector groupings of companies to develop guidance relevant to their members’ sector of activity on developing human rights policies and processes, including due diligence. There is generic guidance online about doing this e.g. at the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre. Some sector-specific guidance also exists, for example the International Council on Mining and Metals has produced a guide for mining companies on human rights due diligence. The European Commission has created guidance on the information communications technology (ICT), oil and gas and employment and recruitment sectors; http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sustainable-business/corporate-social-responsibility/human-rights/index”
The UK 2016 Updated NAP’s Introduction provides that [page 2 & 4]:
“This update allows us to:
-reflect the developments which have taken place at the international level since the UK’s National Action Plan was first published, including guidance on implementation and the experience of other countries;
As part of our commitment to updating the National Action Plan the Government held a series of public consultation events, looking at the plan as a whole, the approach to implementation, and examining in more detail some of the elements contained in the three pillars of the UNGPs. The consultations produced some clear messages from business and civil society regarding the Government’s responsibilities and actions in this regard. These included suggestions that the Government should:
- support, and signpost, sector-specific guidance, whilst recognising that Government is often not best-placed to be the primary source of such guidance;”
The UK 2016 Updated NAP in The existing UK legal and policy framework states that [page 6]:
“The UNGPs set out the general regulatory and policy measures a state may take in order to fulfil their duty to protect against human rights violations by third parties, including business enterprises. They recommend that states should:
- Provide guidance to business enterprises”
The UK 2016 Updated NAP in Actions taken states [page 9]
“To give effect to the UN Guiding Principles, the Government has:
(v) in 2015, the ISO 28007 maritime standard and ISO 18788 land standard for Private Security Companies were published. The UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) conducted a pilot certification process and has issued guidance for certifying bodies for ISO28007, including on human rights. UKAS will also issue guidance on ISO18788.
(vi) supported the UN Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises in their role to promote uptake of the UNGPs and develop guidance and best practice.
The UK 2016 Updated NAP makes an explicit reference to guidance to business in the section devoted to Government Expectations of Business [page 14]:
“The Government has supported important industry led initiatives that have gained ground over the last two years, including on reporting, benchmarking performance and practical sector guidance”.
The UK 2016 Updated NAP in the section on Actions taken to support business implementation of the UNGPs notes that [page 15]:
“To help businesses to fulfil their responsibility to respect human rights the Government has:
(ii) provided guidance to companies on transparency in supply chains and implementing the reporting requirement in the Modern Slavery Act 2015. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/transparency-insupply-chains-a-practical-guide
(iii) partnered with the Cyber Growth Partnership industry guidance on assessing human rights risks relating to cyber security exports, with techUK and input from civil society.
(iv) provided funding to the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark Initiative, the first wide scale project to rank companies on their human rights performance.. http://business-humanrights.org/en/corporate-human-rightsbenchmark
(v) supported the UNGPs Reporting Framework, the world’s first comprehensive guidance for companies to report on how they respect human rights. http://www.ungpreporting.org/
(vi) provided funding for the Economist Intelligence Unit research report on business leadership attitudes to and actions on the corporate responsibility to respect human rights. http://www.economistinsights.com/businessstrategy/analysis/road-principles-practice
(vii) continued to update and promote the joint FCO-UKTI Overseas Business Risk (OBR) service, which provides information about business environments in the countries where UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) has a presence, to ensure it includes specific country human rights information and links to the UNGPs and other relevant tools and guidance.
The UK 2016 Updated NAP in the section on Government Commitments mentions guidance to business while discussing how the government will continue to encourage UK companies to respect human rights in their work [page 16]:
“We will: provide support to Board Directors on human rights reporting and practical guidance for companies in the care and security sectors in the UK, through Equality and Human Rights Commission funded projects. (…)”
The UK 2016 Updated NAP, states in the section UNGPs Reporting Framework + Unilever Human Rights Report, that [page 17]:
“The FCO’s Human Rights and Democracy Fund supported Shift to develop the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework. This is the first comprehensive guidance for companies to report on human rights issues in line with their responsibility to respect human rights. In today’s ever more transparent world, companies are under increasing pressure to show that they respect human rights throughout their operations and value chains. There is increasing demand for greater formal reporting by companies on their human rights performance, including from regulations such as the EU non-financial reporting directive and the UK’s Companies Act and Modern Slavery Act reporting requirements. The UNGPs Reporting Framework provides companies clear and straightforward guidance on how to answer these questions with relevant and meaningful information about their human rights policies, processes and performance. We are pleased to see UK companies at the forefront of best practice in reporting on human rights. Unilever became the first adopter of the Framework when they published their groundbreaking human rights report in July 2015”.
The UK 2016 Updated NAP refers to guidance to business in Care and Security Sectors [page 17]:
“The Commission is working with the Institute of Human Rights and Business to publish guidance in early 2016 for UK businesses in the care and private security sectors. The guidance will include an assessment of the main human rights impacts in each sector and practical guidance for managers in areas such as human resources, operational delivery and procurement.”
The UK 2016 Updated NAP further addresses guidance to business with regards to Cyber Export [page 18]:
“Normally, exports that could cause harm, such as arms, are covered by the export licensing regime. However, many cyber capabilities, products and services are not listed. This problem was recognized by the Cyber Growth Partnership a joint body representing industry, academia and government. The FCO worked with techUK, a technology trade association, and the Institute for Human Rights and Business to produce practical guidance for companies on managing human rights risks.”
The UK 2016 Updated NAP, in the section devoted to Government Commitments, a case studies highlights the EHRC-project on grievance mechanisms [page 22]:
“The Commission is working with Ergon Associates to publish guidance early in 2016 for UK companies to ensure their grievance procedures are aligned with their human rights impacts. It will provide guidance on how to satisfy the criteria for effective grievance mechanisms in the UN Guiding Principles and illustrate these with relevant case studies. It will help companies to think about their human rights impacts and how they manage complaints in relation to their workforce (including supply chain), their customers and for the communities they operate in. It is being developed in consultation with business, government and civil society stakeholders.”
Outcome 1.1: Promoting RBC Globally
New Actions [page 8]
“OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises: For the first time, in 2016 the U.S. National Contact Point (USNCP) for the OECD Guidelines published an annual report and in 2017 will develop an outreach plan to continue its efforts to broaden understanding and implementation of the OECD Guidelines among business. The USNCP will help organize two workshops related to the OECD’s work.” – Implementing Department or Agency: State
“UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: In addition to funding efforts that promote awareness and implementation of the UN Guiding Principles, the U.S. government, through State, will continue to disseminate the UN Guiding Principles through our bilateral, multilateral, and public diplomacy efforts. State will continue to participate in and host discussions with companies, civil society groups, and others on these Guiding Principles, including through its on-going UN Guiding Principles Workshop Series. The most recent workshop in the series focused on the relevance of human rights and the application of the UN Guiding Principles framework to the selection of sites, preparations for, and activities related to large-scale, global sporting events.” – Implementing Department or Agency: State
Outcome 1.3: Leverage U.S. Government Purchasing Power to Promote High Standards
New Actions [page 10-11]
“Research and Tools on Preventing Trafficking in Global Supply Chains: The State Department funded research on “Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal and Corporate Supply Chains” to develop a set of online tools and resources to help federal contractors and corporations analyze, prevent, and address human trafficking risks in their global supply chains. In 2016, State and nongovernmental organizations launched ResponsibleSourcingTool.org. This online platform focuses on the sectors and commodities at greatest risk for trafficking and provides guidance on developing effective management systems. State anticipates funding the development of additional sector-specific tools and the maintenance of the site over the next five years. In addition, DOL is funding research on forced labor in specific industries’ global supply chains and an ILO-led Global Business Network on Forced Labor.” – Implementing Department or Agency: State, DOL
Ongoing Commitments and Initiatives [page 11-12]
““Strengthening Protections against Trafficking in Persons in Federal Contracts,” (E.O. 13627), signed on September 25, 2012, and its associated regulatory changes, created new prohibitions on trafficking and trafficking-related activities in federal supply chains that are designed to help identify and prevent human trafficking in global supply chains. On December 8, 2016, the U.S. government published draft guidance on anti-trafficking risk management best practices and mitigation considerations for public comment. This guidance is designed to help an agency determine if a contractor is taking adequate steps to meet its anti-trafficking responsibilities under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and the FAR Council’s regulations implementing E.O. 13627 and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013. This guidance, coordinated by OMB in partnership with DOL and State, and other agencies, will assist agencies in developing appropriate internal procedures and controls for awarding and administering Federal contracts to improve monitoring of and compliance with actions to prevent human trafficking. In addition, the Council intends to amend the regulations to provide a definition for “recruitment fees,” which is a critical component to help prevent trafficking in federal supply chains.” – Implementing Department or Agency: OMB, State, DOL
Outcome 1.4: Conducting Due Diligence in U.S. Development Funding and Trade Finance
New Actions [page 12]
“Social Safeguards for U.S. Development Assistance: USAID will develop a social safeguards screening questionnaire that Missions may use as an assessment tool when designing new projects (including public-private partnerships) to ensure due diligence on social and human rights issues. USAID will also establish a resource library of tools and human resources that can be deployed for various social analyses; conduct a gap analysis to identify topics not addressed by current guidance; convene stakeholder consultations regarding recommendations for future guidance or policies; and pilot the social safeguards assessment tool with interested USAID missions. These actions will be in line with international best practice, existing G-7 commitments, and safeguard policies already in place by U.S. agencies.” – Implementing Department or Agency: USAID
Outcome 3.1: U.S. Government Reports
Ongoing Commitments and Initiatives [page 18]
“Reducing Child Labor and Forced Labor: A Toolkit for Responsible Businesses: This DOL online resource, launched in December 2012, will continue to provide step-by-step guidance to businesses that seek to develop and improve social compliance systems to address child labor and forced labor in supply chains. The Toolkit is available to the public in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese and will be regularly updated based on feedback from users.” – Implementing Department or Agency: DOL
Outcome 3.1: U.S. Government Reports
Ongoing Commitments and Initiatives [page 18]
“Country Commercial Guides: Commerce will continue to include an anti-corruption section in U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service Country Commercial Guides.” – Implementing Department or Agency: State, DOJ, SEC, Commerce
“Anti-Corruption Publications: U.S. government agencies will continue to provide information to companies through a number of U.S. and international publications designed to assist firms in complying with anti-corruption laws, including The FCPA Resource Guide.” – Implementing Department or Agency: State
Outcome 3.3: Capacity Building and Technical Support to Promote Enabling Environments
New Actions [page 19]
“Responsible Land-Based Investment: USAID will support responsible land-based investment by helping the private sector pilot the Analytical Framework for Land-Based Investments in African Agriculture, which are internationally accepted guidance that helps companies mitigate land tenure risks and make their investments more inclusive, responsible, and sustainable. This commitment will provide limited financial assistance, as well as technical assistance, to help first mover companies implement the guidance and make their investments more responsible and inclusive of local communities, including indigenous peoples. USAID will coordinate closely with other G-7 governments and the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.” – Implementing Department or Agency: USAID
Outcome 3.3: Capacity Building and Technical Support to Promote Enabling Environments
Ongoing Commitments and Initiatives [page 20-21]
“Dodd-Frank Section 1502: …. State will continue to provide guidance to help companies ensure that their products and their suppliers’ products do not directly or indirectly finance armed conflict or result in labor or human rights violations. …” – Implementing Department or Agency: State, USAID, SEC, Commerce, USGS
“Eliminating Child and Forced Labor in Agricultural Supply Chains: In 2011, USDA, DOL, and State released the Guidelines for Eliminating Child and Forced Labor in Agricultural Supply Chains, developed as part of a multi-stakeholder process that included high-level officials of these agencies, representatives of business, civil society, and academics. The Guidelines’ specific elements should be integrated into any agricultural company program to reduce child or forced labor, and include adhering to ILO standards on child labor and forced labor; mapping supply chains and conducting risk assessments; providing communication and monitoring mechanisms; and developing plans and programs for remediating violations. DOL is now funding a four-year pilot project in Turkey to test implementation of the above Guidelines by a leading company.” – Implementing Department or Agency: USDA, DOL, State
Outcome 5.1: Exploring and Enhancing Platforms for Remedy
New Actions [page 23]
“Consulting with Stakeholders on Remedy: The United States will host stakeholder outreach and explore with one or more U.S. advisory committee(s) as to how the U.S. government can work with U.S. companies to help address concerns about the perceived lack of accessible and effective remedy available to those who feel they have been negatively impacted by U.S. business conduct abroad. As part of this consultation, the United States will solicit advice on how best it could support access to remedy, including the potential development of tools or guidance related to non-government-based mechanisms that would assist U.S. businesses that wish to improve their own individual and collaborative efforts to address this challenge.” – Implementing Department or Agency: State