On 28 January, amfori’s President Christian Ewert addressed a webinar on Corporate Due Diligence and Civil Liability organised by the Lisbon NOVA University’s School of Law.
The event launched a new webinar series covering Business, Human Rights and the Environment in Europe: Connecting the Dots. The forum was co-organised by the Portuguese Presidency of the EU Council. Its overall aim is to open a discussion on key issues around business, human rights and the environment. The event welcomed high-level experts from a range of fields.
The first in the series was particularly significant given that several key personalities participated to welcome participants, including representatives of the Portuguese government and Professor John Ruggie, widely known for his contribution to the development of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
amfori was invited to share its thoughts and expertise as the voice of business among a variety of stakeholders, mostly NGOs and trade unions. Following up from academics, who presented the current panorama of various responsible business conduct laws and their dimensions regarding liability, Christian Ewert shared the amfori viewpoint:
- A proper monitoring and enforcement mechanism should be put in place, so that those not abiding by the law are incentivised to play by the rules
- However, accountability alone should not be seen as a silver bullet: businesses need a package of smart and cohesive policy measures, including incentives, changes in public procurement, trade and investment policies. Voluntary schemes need to be promoted and contain incentives
- Liability should be proportionate and encourage continuous improvement; companies that did all that was reasonably expected should be exempt
- Corporate efforts to respect human rights even when States fail to protect them should be acknowledged
For enquiries or further information, please contact Mitsuru Suzuki, Social & Environmental Policy Advisor.