Asia: Growing adoption of natl. guidelines on responsible business conduct increases pressure on companies

Author: Melissa Chong, Eco-business, Published on: 21 February 2019

"The rising tide of regulations on business and human rights: Could Asia be next?", 13 Feb 2019

…We’ve come a long way since…the voluntary United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs)…Today, more than 40 million people continue to be victims of modern slavery—two-thirds of them in Asia. And most of them work in industries embedded deep within global supply chains…By 2018, eight of the G20 countries had passed legislation to minimise the impact of modern slavery on supply chains…Could Asia be next?

In August 2018, Thailand announced plans to develop a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP) [that] will include strengthened policies requiring companies to protect human rights in the priority areas of labour, land, environment, human rights defenders and cross-border investment and multi-national enterprises…“What is happening in Thailand and also in India…”, said Livio Sarandrea, Business and Human Rights Advisor from UNDP…

At the United Nations, negotiations are underway for a binding treaty requiring governments to regulate the activities of businesses…Over the last few years, there has [also] been an observable rise in civil society’s response to corporate responsibility on human rights…

“There is a growing business and human rights movement in Asia and we can see this in the growing interest on the formation of groups to look at business and human rights issues in the region”, added Golda Benjamin, [the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre’s] Southeast Asia researcher…

In this part of the world, high-profile cases on human rights abuses by companies continue to fuel public outcry. We continue to learn of catastrophic dam collapses in Laos, forced evictions in Cambodia and murders of human rights defenders in India. Against this backdrop, perhaps the case is clear: there is increasing pressure for companies to be transparent—and not only in the aftermath of such catastrophes…

Read the full post here