IEH - Ethical Trading Initiative Norway

Guide: Human Rights Due Diligence

The guide "A Guide to Human Rights Due Diligence in Global Supply Chains" describes how all enterprises, including small and medium-sized enterprises can carry out due diligence to prevent violations of human rights.

In 2011, the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights - Implementing the United Nations "Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework" was endorsed in the UN Human Rights Council.

The Guiding Principles set out clear expectations towards businesses. Enterprises should evaluate their activities and operations in relation to human rights by carrying out a due diligence process. The Norwegian Government also set out the same expectations towards businesses.

The purpose of a due diligence process is to reduce, and preferably avoid, directly or indirectly caused, violations of human rights. Any violations must be corrected.

IEH's established five-step model is the basis for this guide. In other words, members of IEH is already practicing human rights due diligence in the supply chain.

What does it mean to practice "human rights due diligence"?

Businesses must:

  1. be dedicated and ensure commitment
  2. asess risk and identify human rights impact
  3. integrating human rights due diligence in their core business and adapt their own purchasing practices
  4. collaborate with stakeholders on improvements
  5. and measure, report and communicate efforts and effect.

The steps overlap and must be repeated.

The guide includes examples from Norwegian companies and a variety of resources and tools to support the process. It may be helpful to read this guide in conjunction with the guide "A Practitioner’s Guide to Ethical Trade" that provides further advice and examples from companies.

The Guide "Human Rights Due Diligence in the Global Supply Chain" was prepared with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and launched at the House of Literature 24th April by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Trond Giske. There were about 90 participants attending. The guide is currently only available in English but will be translated into Norwegian by August 2013.