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8 November 2019
Germany: companies showing little concern for human rights
The School of Management and Law at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) and the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, a British NGO, have probed the practices and actions of 20 large German companies in terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and respect of human rights. The results (here) are rather gloomy. Although all the companies claim to adhere to high human and ecological standards, not one completely complies with the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Right, decreed by the...
5 November 2019
Great Britain: legal firm threatens damages against tobacco giant British American Tobacco
Leigh Day, the UK-based legal firm, specializing in human rights, has sent a pre-action letter to the London headquarters of the tobacco giant British American Tobacco (BAT) announcing its intention to lodge a claim case at the High Court in London in 2019 if no satisfactory response to its letter is received. The firm is accusing BAT of buying tobacco from Malawi that has actually been grown from the labors of more than 350 children, who the firm is now representing in this case, and the youngest of whom are only...
22 October 2019
The European Trade Union confederation (ETUC) and the central US AFL-CIO trade union criticize the double standards of European corporates operating within the Southern States of the US
In a joint statement (here) on 21 October, the ETUC and the AFL-CIO denounced the ‘double standards’ of European corporates that do not uphold freedom of association and overall workers’ rights for their employees working in the American south. The basis for the statement is an AFL-CIO report (here) that affirms multinationals ‘which boast top quality social dialogue in Western...
15 October 2019
ACT partner members seeking decent living wages for those in the global garment and footwear sector adopt a joint purchasing practices due diligence framework
In September 2019 and in a new departure, ACT members (a collaboration of 20 global companies representing a broad range of brands and labels global brands and IndustriALL Global Union representing garment, textile and footwear workers from around the globe) adopted an accountability and monitoring framework on purchasing practices. ACT aims to use collective bargaining as a means to...
11 October 2019
UN : discussions over a treaty on the liability of transnational businesses for human rights violations to recommence
The UN inter-governmental working group on transnational businesses and human rights is to hold a fifth session of discussions over an international, legally binding instrument between 14 and 18 October in Geneva. The talks will be based on a new draft text, presented by the rapporteur having been drawn up following the fourth discussion session in October 2018 (see article n°10810). This initiative seeks to ensure effective access to justice and reparations for victims of human rights violations committed by...
11 October 2019
Amazon sets out its ‘positions’ on a range of social and societal topics
Faced with ever more questions about its practices, especially from its own employees, as the Amazon Employees for Climate Justice group demonstrated, the tech giant decided on 10 October to publish a statement “to provide customers, investors, policymakers, employees, and others our views on certain issues”, underlining in the introduction that “there is much room for healthy debate and differing opinions”. Amazon, which employs 630,000 people across the globe, has taken a stance on various issues –...
10 October 2019
88 NGOs and trade unions launch an appeal for a European regulation making human rights and environmental due diligence mandatory
On 03 October 2019 a coalition of 88 NGOs and European trade union organizations (ETUC, Uni Europa, EFBWW, EPSU, EFFAT, ETF, and IndustriAll Europe) called for the adoption of a regulation that would establish a mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence framework for business, companies and financial institutions operating, or offering a product or service, within the EU. These more binding rules address the prevention and mitigation of risks that these rights may be breached as a result of...
11 September 2019
Germany: new ‘Green Button’ label created for textiles produced in line with social and environmental standards
In Berlin on 09 September, German Economic and Development Minister Gerd Müller (CSU), officially launched his key project creating the ‘Grüner Knopf’ (Green Button). The Federal Economic and Development Ministry will award the Green Button certificate to textile-based products that comply with a series of environmental and social production standards, thereby providing a layer of guarantees to consumers seeking equitable and sustainable production processes. The Green Button’s overriding characteristic is...
6 September 2019
Great Britain : SME punishes staff for bringing single-use plastic into the office in bid to reduce environmental impact
This unprecedented case was initially flagged by the HR-focused press in the UK. Intelligent Hand Dryers, based in Sheffield, in northern England, has attracted attention for having banned its dozen or so employees from bringing single-use plastic into the office. Whether it’s a coffee cup, plastic bottle or a sandwich pack, employees that bring in any single-use items containing plastic will get a warning from the company’s management. After three warnings, repeat offenders will be fired. The measure was...
4 September 2019
Australia: companies are encouraging staff to participate in the Global Climate Strike
Some forty companies across the tech, health, and finance sectors have joined the ‘Not Business as Usual’ alliance in a bid to voice their support for the global climate strike. In concrete terms the business leaders are encouraging their staff to participate in the global climate strike set for 20 September 2019 and they are also encouraging other Australian companies to join them because, “Businesses and individuals must also play their part and this responsibility is even more urgent when governments...