HUMAN – Upholding human rights in supply chains in times of crisis
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We would like to invite you to the annual webinar that HUMAN, our multi-stakeholder platform for human rights, is organizing virtually on December 13th. We are happy to inform you that this year, next to CNV Internationaal, we welcome two new partners to HUMAN: ERM & EY. The participating organizations aim to further increase their impact and offer support in translating the ambitions of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). This year we will zoom in on the impact of crises on corporate human rights responsibilities and due diligence in supply chains.
Times of crises (e.g. covid-19, climate, resource, conflict zones)
The pandemic has impacted everything, including health, work, privacy, freedoms, and many more fundamentals that are so very central to human rights. It has exposed vulnerabilities in supply chains with far-reaching consequences for companies and their stakeholders. As a result, employees in the chain have been hit hard, among other things by suspended collective agreements, longer working hours, lower wages, and uncertain times for day laborers. Some effects are clearly visible, while others are not. We will need to understand and identify the new and hidden risks. One thing we know for sure is that transparency has decreased and that organizations have responded to this in different ways.
What is your response?
How do you best deal with this as a company or investor, but also as a civil society organization or government? What responsibilities do you have and what solutions are available? At HUMAN 2021 we want to work together to find answers through dialogue.
Digital walk-in – 09:45-10:00
- Introduction – Angelique Laskewitz, Executive director, VBDO – The purpose of HUMAN: a multi-stakeholder platform, and the necessity of our mission
- Jan Niewold, Partner, EY – Origin of Human Rights at companies, from then until tomorrow
- Anne Wehkamp, Lobbyist, CNV Internationaal – Update on EU/NL due diligence legislation – what is the latest update, and what can we expect?
- Marina d’Engelbronner, Partner, ERM – Human rights in business – some practical experiences and learnings
- Breakout 1 – ERM & EY – Respecting human rights throughout the supply chain: how and what?
- Breakout 2 – CNV Internationaal – A case related to the COVID-19 crisis situation. How do you, as a stakeholder, deal with these kinds of problems, and what are the possible solutions (example from RBC covenants, more information will be disclosed soon)
- Breakout 3 – VBDO – In conversation with company experts – What was the impact on brands and workers and how can negative impact be prevented? (moderated by VBDO, guest speaker to be disclosed)
Plenary reflection on outcomes of the three break-outs with Joris Oldenziel (Independent member of the Netherlands National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines).
Angelique Laskewitz (VBDO) – closing
In order to allow participants to freely speak their mind and will therefore be held under the Chatham House Rule.
ERM and EY break-out description – While the pandemic has exposed a myriad of vulnerabilities in supply chains, other pressing factors including the impacts of climate change on the enjoyment of human rights, ongoing investor scrutiny and rising stakeholder expectations have all helped to reinforce the role that companies need to take in protecting human rights. The business world in 2021 and beyond needs to work to create deeper social value for local communities and go further in terms of human rights due diligence.
During this breakout session, we will discuss corporate responsibilities for human rights in the supply chain, and particularly how to identify, understand and manage the most salient human rights issues in the supply chain. Deborah Kuppens (Sustainability Developer at Ingka Procurement, Ikea) will walk us through Ikeas responsible sourcing processes including IWAY, Ikea’s supplier code of conduct, which is based on internationally recognized human rights standards and principles, IKEA values and legal compliance. Topics for discussion include: What are the most salient human rights issues / Human rights supply chain journey / Keys steps to address human rights risks / Main challenges (eg management of human rights risks beyond tier 1) / Lessons learned / Ikea’s ambitions / strategy for 2030?
CNV Internationaal break-out description – The Colombian mining sector has been hit by low raw material prices, falling international demand, the abrupt interruption of supply chains, the national lockdown and the (partial) shutdown of activities. Mining companies and their subcontractors have sought to cut costs on their workforce. This has led to numerous layoffs and unilateral contract suspensions. Mining company XXX has even asked the Colombian government for permission to stop mining coal for four years.
Low-income workers at the beginning of the chain are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. In practice, this means that the many flex workers are poorly prepared and do dangerous work in the mines under unfavorable conditions. They lost their jobs without any form of compensation. When this group was able to return to work, it was under worse conditions. Their protection against COVID-19 and the right to medical facilities are also often less organized than with permanent employees. It is very risky work, although this is neither recognized by multinationals nor by the Colombian government.
VBDO & FAIR WEAR Foundation break-out description – The impact of Covid-19 has magnified existing inequalities, systemic vulnerabilities, and challenges in global garment supply chains. The health and livelihoods of millions of garment workers and their families – who often cannot rely on savings, loans, or public safety nets – are at risk. While the immediate effects of the crisis have been severe, the situation offers a unique opportunity to rebuild structures in a more sustainable and fair way.
The Fair Wear Foundation observed that companies that had their policies in order were less vulnerable for violating human rights than companies that did not have these policies. Anne van Lakerveld (Living Wage coordinator & Brand Liaison) and Christian Smith (Partnerships & stakeholder engagement) will provide practical guidance and examples of how brands can respect the rights and livelihoods of workers. They will also talk about shared responsibility of the sector and dive deeper into the responsibility of compliance and costs.
Registering for this event is no longer possible.