Business and Human Rights Update Week 52 – Government, Public Sector

Sweden: Business and Human Rights Update Week 52

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We are witnessing a legal avalanche relating to business and human rights. Our business and human rights updates will keep you informed of initiatives relevant to your business. We are also constantly researching new tools to enable businesses to effectively identify and deal with potential harm to people and the environment. Ultimately, what protects people (and the planet) is also what best protects businesses.

2022 Outlook for Business and Human Rights | Uyghur law on the prevention of forced labor | The role of banks towards a just transition | Tools to tackle gender inequalities in the net zero transition

  • Top ten business and human rights issues for 2022
    The Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) compiles an annual list of Top ten business and human rights issues. The 2022 choices are all issues at the intersection of human rights and the climate crisis. The overview reflects the fact that across governments and businesses, there is an ongoing integration of environmental and human rights policies and action. The ten issues are state leadership, responsible finance, dissenting voices, essential commodities, purchasing power, green construction, agricultural transitions, transport transformations, the circular economy and responsible outings.
  • New US Developments in Human Rights-Related Commercial Law
    • On December 23, President Biden enacted the law Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Law. This update has previously addressed cases of import bans under Section 307 of the United States Tariff Act of 1930, including products made in China’s Xinjiang region. The new law imposes a broad assumption that all products made in part or in whole in Xinjiang are in fact made with forced labor and are therefore prohibited from importing into the United States; a presumption which can only be rebutted by “clear and convincing”Proof that the goods were in fact not made with forced labor – placing human rights due diligence at the center of companies’ compliance actions. The law also imposes penalties on companies that knowingly facilitate forced labor in Xinjiang and / or knowingly help circumvent the ban on importing goods from Xinjiang.

      There is now increasing pressure on the European Commission to honor its commitment to an import ban on forced labor, including members of the European Parliament. It would appear that the European Commission is instead considering addressing the problem of forced labor in global supply chains through comprehensive due diligence legislation, which may include opportunities to force companies to withdraw products from the market. Marlet.

    • On December 10, the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the United States Department of the Treasury (OFAC) appointed new people and entities under the Magnitsky Law for their connection to human rights violations; including with respect to intrusive surveillance technology used against Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region and the use of sanctioned forced laborers by and for the economic benefit of North Korea.
  • Climate finance also has human rights dimensions: growing expectations of banks
    the Glasgow Climate Pact strengthened commitment within the framework of Paris Agreement to ensure that the transition to net-zero is people-centered so that “no one is left behind», As indicated in the SDGs. (See also the ILO guidelines for a just transition to environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all.) It is no exaggeration to say that finance will be a decisive element in the (fair) transformation towards a net zero economy. Banks face increasing expectations to contribute to a just transition – expectations from regulators and other stakeholders through regulation (e.g. taxonomies, banking regulation and supervision, mandatory due diligence on human rights law). man) ; litigation and reputation exposure; reporting standards (eg GRI, upcoming standards of the new International Sustainability Standards Council); self-regulation and trade standards (eg UNGP and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises) and industry initiatives (eg Global Financial Alliance for Net Zero and Net Zero Banking Alliance).

    To help banks meet this challenge, Clifford Chance, CDC and IHRB recently released the guide “Fair Transactions – A White Paper on Just Transition and the Banking Sector. “It provides a readable but comprehensive overview of the legislative and other factors leading banks to consider a people-centered approach to their participation in the net zero transition, suggests operational steps banks can take to consider a just transition in their lending. and other activities, as well as business opportunities for banks joining the effort towards a just transition.

  • The gender dimension: a toolkit for companies “Women and the net zero economy”
    Women are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change, but also to the transition to net zero supply chains, in which female workers are particularly affected. To help businesses and their sustainability and purchasing professionals consider impacts on women when taking climate action, Business Fights Poverty and PwC, in collaboration with the Harvard Kennedy School Corporate Responsibility Initiative for the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, recently published a practical toolbox and case studies. It includes practical measures that companies should apply in their efforts to reduce Scope 3 emissions in global supply chains, especially when women are disproportionately ‘left behind’ (e.g. energy, women and men). extractive industries and technology).

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

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