Change is in the Air
Europe pushes ethical practices to the forefront
Sustainability and social accountability are increasingly important factors to consider in your business. Not only are they becoming deciding factors for consumers, but governments and supranational organizations are honing efforts to require sustainable and socially-ethical business practices. And non-compliance comes with a price.
In 2011, the UN implemented its “Guiding Principles on Business and Human rights, “which serves the purpose of combating child labour, exploitation and slavery and to anchor more responsibility for the observance of human rights at companies” (Prewave, “What is Lieferkettenggesetz?: The German Supply Chain Law”, 2021).
While most people agree that combating human rights breaches and sustainability efforts within our businesses is important, areas like sustainability and increased supply-chain transparency (which often exposes issues of child labor and unsafe working conditions) often feel like quixotic ideals with little ways to track tangible progress. Couple this with the fact that formerly “existing guidelines and standards in the context of human rights…were all based on the principle of voluntary self-commitment” and it’s no wonder why we still have huge strides to make in this space (Addleshaw Goddard, “The New German Supply Chain Act”, 2021).
Governing bodies have recognized that we cannot expect people to voluntarily comply when there’s little business incentive. In fact, “German monitoring in 2020 showed that not even 20 percent of companies with more than 500 employees complied with the due diligence obligations
set out in the ‘National Action Plan on Human Rights’” (“The New German Supply Chain Act”). It’s evident that in today’s world, to create lasting change, we must take a systemic approach.
In this white paper, we’ll look at two ways European bodies are implementing that change, and why you
should care (hint: it could cost you big time).