Conference “Business and Human Rights”
organised by UEL and INDR in cooperation with the Ministry of the Economy and its National Contact Point for OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
on 22 October 2019 at 5 p.m. at the Chamber of Commerce, Luxembourg-Kirchberg
The globalization and intensification of interactions between companies and States, individuals, civil society, customers etc. have strongly enhanced the responsibility of companies, especially international ones, to protect human rights by reducing or eliminating their negative impacts in economic, social and environmental terms, and by assuring access to remedy.
The conference is part of the concrete actions set by the first National Action Plan (NAP) for the implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights 2018- 2019, initiated by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and to which UEL and INDR have actively contributed. It follows a first conferences held by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs on 7 June 2019.
The conference will present the international and national contexts of the issue, as well as host a panel of economic actors. These will debate on the respect of human rights within companies, the implementation of a due diligence policy and the problems encountered, he means put into place, the remedies in case of incidents, the access to grievance and remedy mechanisms, thecompanies’ commitment to meeting their responsibilities etc. Best practices will help companies who are less aware of the issue. Working languages will be English and French.
For UEL and INDR, the priority is to raise the awareness of companies in order to give them the tools to recognize the expectations in this regard but also seize the opportunities that compliance with the UN Guiding Principles may present in terms of competitiveness, risk management, in particular reputational risk. The Guiding Principles do not impose legally binding obligations for companies, the reasonable due diligence put forward in the national action plan remains a voluntary approach. In order, however, to engage businesses in the pursuit of human rights diligence, UEL and INDR support company specific training initiatives. From a normative perspective the CSR labelling “Entreprise Responsable” or Responsible Company (CSR strategy,governance, social, environment), granted by INDR and supported by UEL, includes the human rights dimension. Companies are encouraged to formalise their approach through a self-check with the ESR Guide (www.esr.lu).