Human Rights and Business – a dialogue?

Human Rights and Business – a dialogue?

November 2016: Human Rights and Business is not a new topic – still, to some it is an unhelpful conjunction while to many others it is a dire need. Headway has long been made on the UN and other levels. Thus the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers issued a Recommendation, CM Rec(2016)3, in March of this year on standards of Human Rights and Business.

In the wake of this move, the INGO Conference is following up the matter and will join a Workshop of the Danish Institute of Human Rights, co-hosted by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Copenhagen on 2 December. It will be devoted to work on follow-up review process so that the Recommendation’s ideas will become actionable.

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The Council of Europe is not alone in this field, although by tis very words it belongs to its core business. As part of the Enterprise program of biennium 2016-17, the ILO Governing Body requested further measures in its session of 6 October to enact the work towards ‘sustainable enterprises’. Sustainability as seen from the ILO perspective touches on employment and labour conditions, facilitating ‘grey economy firms’ to formalise their operations, the value chain development, just to mention some.

Also in October, Swiss domestic life has seen an unprecedented coalition of 80 civil society organizations hand over the 120’000 certified signatures of the Initiative for Responsible Multinationals to the Federal Government. Swiss-based multinational companies are to undertake human rights and environmental due diligence in all their business activities abroad.

Again on the global scene, the CRT-Japan and others are proposing a Sustainable Sourcing Code and recommendations on the High Level Sustainability plan for the Tokyo Olympic Games of 2020. In their view Corporate Boards are well advised to consider Human Rights and Sustainability practices as part of the Risk Management approach.

The scene is set for many conversations and dialogues on this item as the year approaches to its end. With that in mind the INGO Dialogue crew wishes its readers all the best for 2017.

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