More than 80 people joined us to discuss the challenges, opportunities and future pathways of non-State-based grievance mechanisms. We came to the understanding that creating a mechanism that addresses human rights and environmental issues related grievances in the global supply chain is hard work. However, it needs to be done and the efforts and experiences should be shared and integrated where possible.
Attendees agreed that the current landscape of grievance mechanisms (GMs) consists of a myriad of different systems that is very difficult to navigate. There is also too much distance geographically and culturally between impacted stakeholders and GMs. Added to this, GMs need to serve a lot of different purposes. This makes it challenging to install something that works for everybody, everywhere. Because of this, we need to create joint approaches. Continuous learning, collaboration between stakeholders and trust-building will be key to ensure effective access to remedy.
The discussions clarified that while the installation of GMs is an abstract exercise, they deal with issues that are far from abstract. They address human beings, their lives and how those lives are impacted by business activities. The aim of GMs should be to redress the power imbalance between impacted stakeholders (individual workers or whole communities) and large corporations. To assure a GM is truly effective, there needs to be support for the rights-holders and trust in the GM. To build up this trust, the needs of future GM users should be at the heart of the GM design or revision process.
The participants acknowledged that the current ‘effectiveness criteria’ included in principle 31 of the UN Guiding Principles is good. However, they agreed that companies and stakeholders need more details and practical implementation guidance. A lot of good practices are already established and there is a willingness to share. However, there is currently no available platform to facilitate meaningful interaction. In the future, more transparency and collaboration will be required.
The workshop concluded with amfori launching the idea of a global and independent Access to Remedy (A2R) Hub where:
• Those who have commitments towards providing A2R can find guidance, tools and support
• Those who monitor A2R can have access to data and information
• Those seeking effective remedy are supported
• Different access points are hosted in one place including an overview of existing grievance mechanisms and initiatives
• Stories and challenges are shared and discussed
• Intended stakeholder groups can participate in the debate and decision-making process
The generosity we have seen during the event in sharing experiences and resources assures us that solutions are available and merely need to be connected. amfori looks forward to continuous engagement with relevant stakeholders to further integrate different efforts and initiatives.
amfori will also support our members in providing effective access to remedy. The Grievance Mechanism Project Group, including 11 committed amfori members, was recently launched. Together with a dedicated amfori team, it will focus on delivering this work. More information will be made available to amfori members in the coming months.