Comment

Sharing responsibility

Gudrun Zimmerl, corporAID

Issue 81 - May | June 2019

Gudrun Zimmerl, corporAID

Child labor or forced labor are still a reality in global supply chains. The National Economic and Human Rights Action Plan adopted by the German government calls for companies to fulfill their responsibilities in international supply chains - initially on a voluntary basis. If at least half of large companies fail to meet these requirements sufficiently, 2016 will be followed by a law requiring sanctions such as fines and imprisonment and the exclusion of public contracts. A design has been available since February. The fact that companies are taken into account for the entire global supply chain is criticized by business representatives as a de facto impossibility. In fact, transferring responsibility for the observance of human rights to businesses alone seems neither expedient nor feasible. The primary policy requirement is to ensure compliance with social standards, for example through bilateral trade agreements or the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Photo: Mihai M. Mitrea