G20 Summit 2017: Leaders' Declaration commits to action against child labour & modern slavery

"Brandenburg Gate" by Wolfgang Staudt licensed under CC BY 2.0.

This story containes key documents related to the German G20 Presidency. For civil society commentary on the challenges and opportunities of Engaging the G20 on Business and Human Rights, see our blog series.

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18 July 2017

G20 progress report: Civil society urges leaders to act on commitments made towards achieving sustainable global supply chains

Author: International Corporate Accountability Roundtable

Earlier this month, the leaders of the world’s twenty major global economies released the G20 2017 Leaders’ Declaration... [T]he resulting commitments in relation to achieving sustainable and inclusive global supply chains were progressive... While the commitments made in the LEMM [G20 Labor and Emplyment Ministers] and G20 Leaders’ Declarations are critical [...] more work remains to achieve the world we want. The vagueness in which many of these commitments are phrased leave significant room for interpretation as to how these actions will be achieved; making it difficult to hold States accountable in relation to following through with these commitments. Additionally, despite the advancement these commitments make in relation to existing State action on issues of sustainable development, they arguably do not go far enough in committing to bold new actions—such as requiring mandatory human rights due diligence for business enterprises based in G20 jurisdictions. The commitments made in the 2017 G20 Leaders’ Declaration are only as strong as their implementation.

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Author: Sophie Chauliac, RSEdatanews

Supply-chain, lutte contre la corruption et évasion fiscale sont aussi au programme du G20, 11 juillet 2017

Les pays du G20 ont reconnu la nécessité d’améliorer la soutenabilité des chaînes d’approvisionnement ("supply chains") des grandes entreprises. Dans leur communiqué, ils affirment s’engager à ce que les entreprises respectent des standards sociaux et environnementaux conformes aux cadres internationaux fixés par les Nations-Unies, notamment l’OIT, ou encore l’OCDE (OCDE Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises). L’accent est d’ailleurs mis sur la responsabilité propre aux entreprises dans la réalisation de due diligences tout au long de leurs approvisionnements. La déclaration commune annonce par ailleurs la mise en place de mesures rapides pour mettre fin au travail des enfants, au trafic d’êtres humains et à toute forme d’esclavage moderne d’ici 2025... Rappelons qu’en France la loi n°2017-399 sur le devoir de vigilance des sociétés mères et des entreprises donneuses d’ordre votée par le parlement en février 2017 a été promulguée fin mars... (lire notre article ci-dessous)... Les membres du G20 ont également réitéré leur engagement dans la lutte contre la corruption...[avec] un principe de responsabilité des personnes morales, selon lequel les entreprises bénéficiant d’actes de corruption peuvent être considérées comme responsables... Les 20 ont par ailleurs indiqué être toujours engagés dans la construction d’un système fiscal international plus juste et plus moderne, notamment grâce à l’implémentation du Base Erosion and Profit Shifting package (BEPS), mesures permettant de lutter contre l’érosion de la base d'imposition et le transfert de bénéfices. Cette disposition en 15 points clés avait été développée en 2012 par l’OCDE, mandatée par le G20 pour développer des outils permettant de lutter contre l’optimisation fiscale des multinationales. 

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11 July 2017

G20 Leaders' Declaration sets goal to take measures against child labour & modern slavery, emphasizes UN Guiding Principles and OECD NCPs

Author: G20

[originally published 7 July 2017]

...Global Supply Chains can be an important source of job creation and balanced economic growth. However challenges for achieving an inclusive, fair and sustainable globalisation remain. In order to achieve sustainable and inclusive supply chains, we commit to fostering the implementation of labour, social and environmental standards and human rights in line with internationally recognised frameworks, such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights...We will work towards establishing adequate policy frameworks in our countries such as national action plans on business and human rights and underline the responsibility of businesses to exercise due diligence. We will take immediate and effective measures to eliminate child labour by 2025, forced labour, human trafficking and all forms of modern slavery...We emphasise that fair and decent wages as well as social dialogue are other key components of sustainable and inclusive global supply chains. We support access to remedy and, where applicable, non-judicial grievance mechanisms, such as the National Contact Points for the OECD MNE Guidelines (NCPs)...

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11 July 2017

Global Unions Reaction to Hamburg G20 Summit

Author: Intl. Trade Union Confederation

It was 19 to 1 on climate at the conclusion of the G20 Summit in Hamburg. The victory for Chancellor Merkel on securing a majority commitment to the Paris Agreement is a relief for the world, but it requires deep cuts in emissions and a commitment to ensure industrial transformation is accompanied by “just transition” measures... The Labour 20 Statement from workers and trade unions at the G20 issued on the eve of the Summit called for policies to ensure coordinated action to create quality jobs for the future, reduce inequality to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and meet the commitments in the Paris Agreement... The G20 Leaders Declaration was positive in addressing the abuses of human rights and labour standards in global supply chains... “The G20 leaders recognition of workers’ rights in global supply chains and the reaffirmation of the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights along with the ILO Declaration on Multinational Enterprises and the OECD Guidelines on Multinationals and its complaints mechanism is welcome. Due diligence by all corporations sits at the heart of implementation, and now they need to be held accountable for this to ensure decent work,” said [Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation]... For the first time, the G20 leaders also committed to encouraging their multinational companies to conclude international framework agreements, which are negotiated with Global Union Federations.

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4 July 2017

Commentary: G20 should recognise key function industry plays in global climate protection

Author: Kurt Bock, International Chamber of Commerce

"Industry is a driver of innovation for global climate protection", 4 Jul 2017

The G20 Summit gets underway on Friday in Hamburg, Germany bringing together leaders of the world’s largest economies. Expectations for the group to endorse an ambitious climate and energy action plan are high but [...] successful climate protection will only be possible through collective, global action... Effective global climate protection requires innovations. And innovations require a competitive industry which can advance the research and development of energy-efficient products and processes... For companies, it is therefore even more important that the G20 recognizes the key function that industry plays in achieving the climate targets set out in the Paris Agreement. The G20 should create a regulatory framework that fosters innovation and enables fair competition between industrial companies on a global playing field.

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30 May 2017

Commentary: Why the G20 Labour & Employment Statement on responsible business conduct matters

Author: John Morrison, Institut for Human Rights and Business

...First, globalisation itself is once again under the spotlight as it was with the “Battle of Seattle” over trade nearly two decades ago, and with the more recent financial crisis. True, for some globalisation has always been seen as a central problem...Second, the commitment to uphold labour standards and human rights in global supply chains might look basic but it is unprecedented. Whilst it is true that the G20 is not a law-making body, it does shine an important light on existing international law and where we might expect to see more in the years ahead. The recent G20 statement in some significant ways went beyond the G7 statement issued in Baden Baden in 2015. References in the G20 statement to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Rights at Work and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are welcome, in particular when many of those governments endorsing the latter are not even OECD members...The third reason this statement matters is answered just be reading the list of G20 members who agreed to it. Read the list and then remind yourself of the business and human rights commitments the statement represents for a broad range of countries, some under populist, nationalist and protectionist leadership...These governments represent not just the lion’s share of the global economy (85% of the world’s GDP), they account also for two thirds of its citizens. There is every indication that Argentina, which chairs the G20 in 2018, will pick up where Germany leaves off on crucial issues such as Modern Day Slavery, perhaps beginning to explore some of the main disclosure and due diligence steps that both governments and business should take....

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24 May 2017

G20 Labour Summit: Ministerial Declaration pledges to promote sustainable global supply chains & protect labour rights for all workers

Author: G20 Labour & Employment Ministers

We, the Ministers of Labour and Employment of the G20 and invited countries [...] commit to the following policy priorities: [...]

15. ...[W]e will contribute to [...] facilitat[ing] orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration of people (SDG 10.7), and to protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers and in particular women migrants (SDG 8.8)...

Fostering decent work for sustainable global supply chains...

21. ...[T]he G20 have a joint responsibility to promote decent work and a duty to protect fundamental principles and rights at work as a foundation for an inclusive global economy and fair globalisation. We also underline the responsibility of businesses...

23. We also commit to take immediate and effective measures, as called for by SDG 8.7, both in our own countries and globally, towards eradicating modern slavery, forced labour and human trafficking, and by 2025 to end child labour in all its forms...

24. [To this end], countries could [...] consider:

a. developing national action plans [...] for responsible business conduct...

27. We underline the responsibility of businesses to exercise due diligence in line with the UN Guiding Principles [...] and we encourage our businesses to report on these due diligence procedures...

28. We underline the importance of providing access to remedy...

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23 May 2017

G20 Labour Summit: L20 welcomes commitments by govts. to clean up supply chains & ensure decent work for vulnerable groups

Author: ITUC

"Jobs, Wages, Refugees and Workers’ Rights in Global Supply Chains top G20 Labour Ministers agenda: G20 leaders must drive action", 20 May 2017

The L20 (Labour 20) has welcomed commitments from the G20 Labour Ministers, meeting in Bad Neuenahr this week, to clean up global supply chains, provide decent work, ensure living wages and integrate migrants, women, refugees and young people into the workplace. ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said “labour markets need to work for working people, and the Ministerial Declaration is a basis for a global economy that works for everyone. Global supply chains are based on a model of low wages, insecure and unsafe work with increasing informal work and modern slavery. We would like to see every country mandate the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights for workers in global supply chains, with due diligence and grievance procedures that enable remedy against exploitation for the millions of workers on whom multinationals rely on for their products and services.”...

G20 Labour Ministers made commitments to: Clean up global supply chains...; Eradicate modern slavery and forced labour...; Protect fundamental rights at work...; Decent wages...; Priorities on the future of work (ii) promoting adequate social protection and social security coverage for all workers (iii) respect for fundamental principles and rights at work is a foundation for social dialogue and collective bargaining in a changing world of work...

G20 leaders meeting at the Hamburg summit in July must endorse the commitments of labour minsters and implement national action plans on due diligence and grievance procedures for remedy against violations of workers’ rights in global supply chains in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

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17 May 2017

G20 Labor Summit: NGO calls on govt. to support mandatory human rights due diligence in supply chains

Author: Human Rights Watch

G20 labor ministers gathering in Germany on May 18 and 19, 2017, should pledge to protect human rights in global supply chains, Human Rights Watch said today... The labor ministers meeting in Bad Neuenahr should support mandatory rules on human rights due diligence for companies operating in and from their countries... Such rules should require companies to assess, prevent, mitigate, and remediate harmful human rights impacts of their actions. The labor ministers – in coordination with other government agencies – should support mechanisms requiring companies to provide public information about their suppliers and the steps they are taking to avoid contributing to abuses... “It is good news that the German government has put the issue of sustainable global supply chains on the G20 agenda,” [HRW] said. “The G20 has the potential to help set standards for the protection of worker’s rights in global supply chains – and it should, without delay.”

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16 May 2017

Commentary: G20 needs to deliver on commitments towards sustainable supply chains

Author: Cindy Woods, International Corporate Accountability Roundtable

"How the G20 Can Make Globalisation Work for All", 16 May 2017

...The G20 is a key forum to demonstrate that global trade and investment can lead to better living and working conditions worldwide, in line with the SDGs. In specific, as the current global economy depends heavily on the use and functioning of global supply chains, it is imperative to equitable growth and development that these supply chains be sustainable... Many stakeholder groups have been actively engaging with the G20 process, pushing for bold new and specific commitments on sustainable supply chains... [U]nfair and unjust business practices are hallmarks of the current model — allowing large companies to profit off of cheap labor and production by spurring a race to the bottom in terms of human rights, labor, and environmental protections... In order to address, and ultimately reverse, this base inequality, [...] global supply chains must take into account human rights and environmental issues...

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