Violation of labor rights, child labor or forced labor and lack of attention to the environmental dimension are problems that business has not yet coped with – says Dr. Agata rudnicka from the Faculty of management of the University of Lodz.
The adoption by the European Parliament of a resolution on due diligence and corporate responsibility can reduce this problem.
First, a word of explanation.
Due diligence is the process by which companies identify, manage and minimise human rights risks in the supply chain. In practice, business organisations should be aware of the areas where abuse may occur and should take action to minimise the likelihood of such an occurrence and, when a crisis occurs, initiate corrective action.
- As a result, knowing, monitoring the supply chain and creating more transparent processes will leave less room for abuse.
- A socially responsible business approach requires verification that the suppliers with whom the company cooperates respect human rights and take care of the environmental dimension.
This is expected by more and more conscious customers, and with the support of legal solutions, it may be possible to meet the needs of all stakeholders.
The issue of human rights and environmental responsibility is a matter for all of us.
The assumptions of the concept may seem simple, but in practice the situation is much more complex, especially if you look at all the processes that accompany the production of the product.
Taking a cotton T-shirt as an example and tracing all the steps that are needed to produce it: from the cotton field, through processing, dyeing, sewing, transportation, storage and sales, we get a complex picture of the links and relationships that exist in the supply chain. The more complex the product, the more links in which social and environmental challenges can arise.
He adds that today most supply chains are global networks, often reaching countries where social and environmental standards are not respected. This means that the risk of human rights abuses is increasing. Violations of workers ‘ rights, child labour or forced labour, and lack of concern for the environment are problems that business has not yet dealt with. When we buy a product that has been created in breach of social standards, as consumers we often unwittingly encourage these practices.
The European Parliament’s new resolution draws attention to the problem of human rights violations in business and points to due diligence as a starting point for dealing effectively with social and environmental challenges. It is also a reference for further legislative work-in response, the European Commission will present a draft directive on this subject. This will be another initiative alongside the OECD’s international due diligence guidelines for responsible business conduct, which raises the issue of supply chain management. This time the document is to have legal consequences.
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