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Wednesday, November 28 • 8:30am - 9:45am
Elements of effective human rights due diligence regulation: lessons from legal developments

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Organized by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Conectas Human Rights and Frank Bold

Short description of the session:
Recently, the EU and a range of countries around the world have adopted or started to consider legislation that requires businesses to either address or communicate how they address human rights impacts. This includes for example the Brazilian “dirty list” of slave labor, EU Non-financial Reporting Directive, the French Duty of Vigilance law, the UK Modern Slavery Act, and the Responsible Business Conduct bill currently discussed in the Swiss Parliament. These initiatives differ in purpose, human rights risks addressed, and type of legal obligations, but they all utilise the concept of Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD).
This session will take stock of the experience with these developments, with a focus on their outcomes, impacts on corporate accountability, and implementation by companies in order to draw lessons for further legislative developments.

Session objectives:
  1. Summarise lessons from implementation of HRDD requirements by companies.
  2. Clarify what are effective means of ensuring HRDD by regulation and necessary elements of such regulation.
  3. Identify key information on the conduct of HRDD that should be disclosed.

Key discussion questions:
  1. How are companies implementing HRDD regulations? What is feasible and what is best practice?
  2. What are the lessons for designing effective legislative framework to incentivise companies to respect human rights effectively?

Format of the session:
After the initial remarks, the audience will be dived in groups and asked to agree on a reflection not longer than 1 minute that will be subsequently presented. Moderator will facilitate these reflections and quick reactions by the panel. This process will be followed by discussion with audience. At the end of the session, speakers and the moderator will summarize their main ideas.

  1. Kick-off remarks (30 mins): Experience with implementation of HRDD regulations & lessons for legislative design
  2. Discussions and reflections by audience in groups (15 mins)
  3. Feedback from groups and discussion in plenary (30 mins)
  4. Concluding remarks (10 mins)

Background to the discussion
This session will discuss experience with the implementation of three legislative strategies adopted by different countries that aim to improve corporate responsibility to respect human rights.
Brazilian regulation establishes that the Labour Ministry shall periodically disclose a list with information on the employers found using slave labour – the so-called “dirty list”. The regulation does not impose due diligence obligations. However, financial institutions, voluntarily, consider it in their decisions to extend credit, pressing companies to adopt higher supply chain monitoring and screening standards.
The EU Nonfinancial Reporting Directive (NFRD) and UK Modern Slavery Act (MSA) require certain companies to disclose information about their human rights due diligence. NFRD requires  companies to disclose their human rights policies and risks roughly in line with the definition in the UN Guiding Principles, while UK MSA requires companies to produce a statement setting out the steps they are taking to address slavery in their operations and supply chains. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre and its partners created an open central registry to host modern slavery statements. The analysis of these statements indicates that there is still a long way to go to achieve good reporting. The session will also present first findings about the quality of companies’ disclosure pursuant to the NFRD carried out by the Alliance for Corporate Transparency.
The French duty of vigilance law requires large companies to develop and disclose a plan that identifies and addresses human rights and environmental impacts including in the activities of their subsidiaries and established suppliers. The law also stipulates that this new obligation establishes a duty of care owed to the victims of violations that an adequate vigilance plan could effectively prevent or mitigate. Similar legislation is currently being considered by the Swiss Parliament in response to the successful public initiative.

Moderator/ Introductory Remark...
avatar for Phil Bloomer

Phil Bloomer

Executive Director, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Phil became Executive Director of Business & Human Rights Resource Centre in 2013. Phil leads strategy and outreach globally working with 80 global team members and allies. Programmes are focused on transformation of business and investment models especially in areas of the just transition... Read More →

avatar for Patricia Carrier

Patricia Carrier

Project Manager, Modern Slavery Registry, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Sustainability professional focusing on due diligence activities
avatar for Filip Gregor

Filip Gregor

Purpose of the Corporation Project, Frank Bold
Filip Gregor represents Frank Bold in the Steering Group of the European Coalition for Corporate Justice. Filip co-founded and helps to run the Purpose of the Corporation Project, a strategic open-source platform for a debate on the role of the corporation in society and the future... Read More →

Lorenz Isler

Sustainability Manager, IKEA Group
avatar for Laurent Lhopitallier

Laurent Lhopitallier

Corporate Social Responsibility, Sanofi
Laurent LHOPITALLIER, is in charge of Sanofi's duty of vigilance plan. Laurent joined Sanofi in 2013 as part of the global CSR team. Previously a consultant with Deloitte, Laurent has led global assignments in designing sustainability strategies, in embedding Human Rights in business... Read More →
avatar for Joana Nabuco

Joana Nabuco

Officer of Development and Socio-Environmental Rights Program, Conectas Human Rights

Wednesday November 28, 2018 8:30am - 9:45am CET
Room XX