Successful round table about the role of government on HR and business

What role can the EU governments play to support companies in their efforts to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights? This was the main question of the HUMAN 2016 Round-table of Thursday 21 April. The outcomes of this round-table will be included in a Pan-European conference at May 11. 

HUMAN 2016 is a multi-stakeholder round-table on expectations on the role of governments in the implementation of human rights in business. More than twenty stakeholders are invited on 21 April, among which Dutch multinational companies, investors, civil society organizations, government representatives and research institutions. VBDO is co-organizing this event.

Topics such as effectiveness of actions of policymakers and need for hard law were discussed. Common ground was found in the request for more policy coherence and sustainable public procurement (“governments should practice what they preach”). As part of the Dutch presidency of the European Union, European civil society organizations and the Dutch government are jointly organizing this event on May 11 to progress the implementation of the human rights and business agenda of the EU and its member states. The anonymised outcomes of the HUMAN round-table will be discussed at this Pan-European conference.

The VBDO emphasizes the importance of these events. “Businesses still struggle with many aspects of implementing the UNGPs. For many companies it is complicated to assess which violations of human rights occur within their value chain and/or own direct business operations. This is also how ‘human rights’ are framed. It’s therefore important to give insights on how regulations can be made more useful and known to get companies more engaged.”

HUMAN is a partnership between ICCO Cooperation, PwC, CNV Internationaal, and The Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO) to advance the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights (UNGPs) in the Netherlands. In the past four years, the HUMAN conferences successfully facilitated a dialogue between companies, investors, civil society organisations, research institutions, and governments on human rights and business. This year we will continue this dialogue in the form of three round-tables.

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