amfori played an active role in the Finnish EU Presidency’s Conference on Business and Human Rights: Towards a Common Agenda for Action that took place in Brussels in early December. The event was organised with the the support of the international NGO, The Shift.
The goal of the conference was to discuss key levers impacting business and human rights including state financing for doing business abroad, regulatory and policy measures with a view to launch an Agenda for Action for the EU on the topic.
The Agenda for Action launched at the meeting calls for:
• The EU to put in place a Joint Action Plan on Business and Human Rights to be grounded on the three pillars of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs);
• Advancing human rights due diligence through a mix of measures by taking stock of existing market practices, initiatives and measures both at European Member State and EU level;
• Integrating human rights due diligence through state financing and public procurement;
• Improving human rights outcomes through development cooperation, trade and collective initiatives involving the private sector
• Strengthening access to judicial and non-judicial remedy.
amfori also contributed to a Perspectives Paper.
Importantly, the meeting showed that there is an increasing consensus for a harmonised Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) system at EU level, that is emerging in a context of mushrooming of national initiatives and legislations.
Speaking at the event, amfori President Christian Ewert said that, “by levelling the playing field, smart legislation can help for instance to progressively bring suppliers along and to gradually pave the way for deeper conversations in supply chains”.
He also acknowledged that “smart legislation is not a silver bullet” and that it should be completed by other tools, ranging from trade leverage, incentives, and voluntary initiatives.
Other speakers included a range of key players including John Ruggie – the founder of the UNGPs and Human Rights and International Affairs Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Timo Harakka - Finnish Minister of Employment, Dante Pesce – Member of the UN Working Group on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and member of amfori’s Stakeholder Advisory Council, and Heidi Hautala – Vice President of the European Parliament and Chair of the Parliament’s Responsible Business Conduct Group.
amfori’s work on Human Rights Due Diligence
To respond to an increased regulatory focus and to a growing societal expectation, amfori provide its members and their producers with the guidance, training, compliance framework as well as advocacy to conduct human rights due diligence.
Read more about our position on a coherent HRDD system in our EU policy Agenda 2024.