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30 November 2020
Switzerland: responsible business initiative fails to garner sufficient support
In a vote held on Sunday 29 November, a popular initiative in Switzerland that seeks to hold large companies in the country accountable for the actions of their affiliates and suppliers abroad failed to achieve a majority among Swiss cantons, with only 8.5 votes in favour out of 23, despite achieving a slim majority of 50.7% in the popular vote. As a result, a compromise law that is far less restrictive will be voted on. Many believe nonetheless that the result of the popular vote places a certain amount of...
16 November 2020
UN: negotiations over a treaty on company responsibility in the event of human rights violations make progress, though each side continues to stand firm
On 30 October, the intergovernmental working group concluded the sixth negotiating session on a legally binding instrument on business and human rights, covering the third version of this text. It aims to prevent the risk of human rights abuses as well as to guarantee reparations in the event of breaches, improve access to justice for victims, while also broadening the scope of...
9 November 2020
CSR: the Fair Wage Network provides tools to help companies develop fair pay practices for direct employees and those of suppliers
The Fair Wage Network was created back in 2009, the day after the first Fair Wage Conference organised by the Fair Labor Association in Washington. The organisation, founded with the aim of regrouping “all actors of the supply chain” and those involved in the field of CSR, who are willing to commit to striving to “promote better wage practices”, has developed a methodology and survey expertise that enables companies – increasing numbers of which are taking the issue of decent wages seriously – to look...
27 October 2020
Switzerland: debate over the ‘Multinationales responsables’ (Responsible Business) initiative intensifies with just one month left before its referendum vote
Launched in 2015 and hotly debated ever since, the Responsible Business initiative that targets all Swiss-based companies and multinationals operating both nationally and abroad, in the areas of human rights and the environment, will finally be put to a popular vote on 29 November. The text being submitted calls for a paragraph to be added to the Swiss Constitution that would intend for...
21 October 2020
Great Britain: after the Living Wage, companies now committing to ‘Living Hours’
In the midst of the pandemic, British insurer Aviva, alongside Scottish insurance company Standard Life Aberdeen, have become the first groups to implement the ‘Living Hours’ model as advocated by the Living Wage Foundation. This means that, unless workers specifically request otherwise, Aviva will guarantee at least 16 hours of work per week. In addition, work schedules will have to be announced at least 4 weeks in advance and workers will be guaranteed payment if there are any cancellations within the 4-week...
20 October 2020
CSR: when auditors cease working with companies accused of bad practice
On October 19 the UK subsidiary of the professional services consultancy firm PwC, confirmed it was ceasing its auditing services that date back to 2014 of the online Boohoo clothing sales business. The reason behind the decision to quit are reports of bad practices at a Boohoo subcontractor’s factory in Leicester that found safety rules being violated and workers being paid less than the minimum wage. Revealed by The Guardian newspaper publication, these shortcomings, akin to modern slavery, were confirmed...
23 July 2020
Great-Britain : new app to combat modern slavery in agricultural work
This new UK app aims to inform companies and workers in order to help tackle worker exploitation in the agricultural sector, and is an attempt to respond to labour exploitation situations that have come to light as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. The Farm Work Welfare app was commissioned by the Church of England’s modern anti-slavery programme – The Clewer Initiative – and was developed in collaboration with key organisations in the field, including the UK’s leading labour exploitation...
16 July 2020
United States: California wants to eliminate piecework payment in the clothing industry
Working conditions for female textile and clothing workers in California are expected to improve as a result of the proposed Garment Worker Protection Act. This legislation, authored by South San Diego Democrat Lorena Gonzales, received Senate approval in June and is set to go before the Assembly at the end of July. Barring any last-minute surprises, the Democrat majority-led chamber will approve the text, and Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom will then only have to sign it off. Within the text is the elimination of...
15 July 2020
Germany: federal government confirms adoption of controversial draft legislation on corporate due diligence ahead of the 2021 elections
On 14 July, Federal Ministers of Economic Cooperation and Development, and Labour and Social Affairs, Gerd Müller and Hubertus Heil respectively, confirmed that the draft law on companies’ due diligence as regards compliance with social minimum standards and environmental standards in supply chains would be submitted to the German Bundestag before the current parliamentary term ends...
9 July 2020
CSR: Covid-19 outbreaks in the heart of the EU have uncovered working conditions that are sometimes akin to modern-day slavery
The coronavirus has acted as a messenger. After an entire meat slaughtering sector was stigmatized in Germany, the hot seat of shame has been passed to the British online clothing company Boohoo, accused of using quasi-slavery suppliers and  of contributing to the spread of Covid-19. Both cases have sparked strong reactions. In Germany, measures have been taken to combat the precarious situation in the meat industry, while in the UK, Boohoo is being dropped both by its customers and investors.
Managing the fallout of Covid-19