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14 Jan 2022

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Report: Sustainable Global Supply Chains- G7 Leadership on UNGP Implementation

In preparation for the 2022 German Presidency of the Group of Seven (G7), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) requested that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) prepare a report focusing on the efforts of the G7 to promote sustainability, human rights and environmental protection in global supply chains. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) commissioned this Report on behalf of the BMZ.

There could not be a more important moment for the G7 and other key international actors to show leadership and accelerate efforts to advance implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in global supply chains. Achieving the interlinked global goals related to the climate emergency, sustainable development and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic depends in large part on ensuring human rights are respected throughout global supply chains - and the UNGPs is a foundational tool for that undertaking.

There is unprecedented momentum behind reform efforts that will significantly shift how legal, regulatory and financial markets shape business practices in the future. This presents a critical opportunity for G7 leadership to push for a step change increase in policy coherence and to insist on alignment with international standards of responsible business conduct, including in regulatory reform aimed at ensuring responsible business conduct; in supporting measures to complement regulatory approaches; in development cooperation, assistance and finance; in private sector sustainable finance initiatives; and in investment and trade policy.

The G7 member States have already played an important leadership role by articulating the central goal of achieving genuinely sustainable supply chains. In the present confluence of global circumstances, they have a unique opening to push for ambitious, comprehensive UNGP implementation to achieve that goal and create meaningful change for people across the globe.

Global supply chains have brought important gains including steep declines in poverty where countries are integral to global supply chains. However, there are growing concerns about adverse human rights impacts of global supply chains, international trade and globalization more generally. This includes concerns about rising inequality within borders, the expansion of precarious and informal forms of work and the increasing vulnerabilities of workers, especially migrant workers. The energy transition, the COVID-19 pandemic and shrinking civic space pose particular risks for human rights in the context of supply chains. To successfully achieve sustainable supply chains, the broad scope of human rights at risk must be addressed...