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Explaining Human Rights Due Diligence

The German NAP spells out a common concept of human rights due diligence (HRDD) that it expects companies to implement. It defines 5 “core elements” of HRDD in line with the UNGPs and gives companies brief overviews of the main features of each core element. This allows companies to get a better understanding and guidance on the HRDD concept.
Germany 2016
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The five core elements are:

  • A Policy statement on meeting their responsibility to respect human rights, adopted by the senior management of the enterprise; to be communicated both internally and externally.
  • Procedures for the identification of actual and potential adverse impacts on human rights covering:
    • those generated directly by the enterprise itself;
    • those to which the enterprise contributes, for example through direct contractual relations with suppliers; and
    • those connected indirectly with the enterprise through its business relations, its business activity or its products or services even though no direct contractual relationship exists.
  • Measures to address the risks/adverse impacts and tracking their effectiveness
  • Reporting
  • Grievance mechanisms 

The aim is that at least 50 % of all enterprises based in Germany with more than 500 employees will have incorporated the elements of human rights due diligence described in this chapter into their corporate processes by 2020. Enterprises which have not adopted particular procedures and measures should be able to explain why they have not done so (the ‘comply or explain’ mechanism). If fewer than 50 % of the enterprises have incorporated the elements of human rights due diligence into their corporate processes by 2020 the Federal Government will consider further action, which may culminate in legislative measures.


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