Germany encourages companies to deal with human rights issues

The Federal Government of Germany plans to interview 1,800 companies on their compliance with human rights when manufacturing their products abroad. The Federal Foreign Office just started a written survey, which should be completed by the beginning of October. The background for this survey is the criticism against human rights violations, such as child labour and low wages, at the beginning of supply chains in developing countries, such as in the textile factories of Bangladesh.

The results of the survey will be published in mid-2020 in a final report. Based on this, it should be decided whether and which further legal requirements are necessary to enforce compliance with human rights standards in the industry.

In 2016, the Federal Government adopted a National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights with the goal that in 2020 at least half of all companies in Germany with more than 500 employees fulfil the core elements of human rights diligence. Therefore, the survey is central to this action plan.

However, even if many German companies commit themselves to observe human rights standards, this often does not hold true at the level of their subcontractors and sub-suppliers. Recently, there has been a lot of criticism against German companies not doing enough to combat human rights violations in their supply chains. At the beginning of July, Oxfam accused German supermarket chains that “suffering, exploitation and discrimination” in their supply chains continues to be a daily problem.

sustainabill enables companies to investigate human rights compliance along the entire supply chain. Companies can discover all materials a product is made of, collect sustainability information from all suppliers and sub-suppliers, and manage sustainability related risks.  

The survey for monitoring the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights 2016-2020 can be found here. https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/blob/2233606/07a8abd01585dce3c8b72d1fd711ede3/190717-fragebogen-nap-data.pdf

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