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John Ruggie affirms "smart mix" includes mandatory measures at Finnish EU Presidency conference
Author: John Ruggie, Published on: 2 December 2019
"Keynote Address by John Ruggie at the Conference 'Business & Human Rights: Towards a Common Agenda for Action'"
...The Guiding Principles [on Business and Human Rights] embody two core strategic concepts: advocating a “smart mix of measures,” and using “leverage.”...
We often hear the term “smart mix of measures” being employed to mean voluntary measures alone. But that gets it wrong. Guiding Principle 1 says that states must have effective legislation and regulation in place to protect against human rights harm by businesses. Guiding Principle 3 adds that states should periodically review the adequacy of such measures and update them if necessary... So, a smart mix means exactly what it says: a combination of voluntary and mandatory, as well as national and international measures.
A number of EU member states and the EU as a whole have begun to put in place mandatory measures... Such initiatives are aligned with the spirit of the UNGPs, and they are important steps in adding “mandatory measures” into the mix. Still, many leave a lot to the imagination... More should be done to specify what meaningful implementation looks like, in order to avoid contributing to the proliferation of self-defined standards and storytelling by firms. Also, with limited exceptions currently no direct consequences follow from non-compliance. Nevertheless, the ascent of Pillar I is underway...