Response by Lafarge Holcim
Thank you for your email and the invitation to respond.
LafargeHolcim is committed to respecting international human rights standards, including the principles contained within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the International Labour Organization (ILO) Core Conventions on Standards. Additionally, LafargeHolcim is signatory of the United Nations (UN) Global Compact.
LafargeHolcim proactively manages human rights through its Human Rights Management Approach, supported by an internal Human Rights Directive which outlines the mandatory requirements for all LafargeHolcim country operations. Our group-wide human rights management approach is risk based and fully aligned with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (Ruggie Principles). This is complemented with a robust compliance program implemented throughout the Group.
The letter you refer to reflects the position of a large number of major Swiss companies, including LafargeHolcim, regarding some specific aspects contained in Swiss Responsible Business Initiative counter proposal.
The objective of such initiatives is to drive accountability on Human Rights. While more accountability is to be supported, the effectiveness of achieving this goal through the legal measures proposed by the Responsible Business Initiative and related Parliamentary Initiative can be debated. LafargeHolcim believes that the preferred forum to address human rights issues is that which has a collaborative environment and spirit.
If regulatory measures are to be introduced, to ensure a level playing field, LafargeHolcim advocates for a step by step approach whereby legal measures are gradually implemented, tested for effectiveness and refined. We thus favour a coordinated approach in collaboration with other major global jurisdictions, which respects the sovereignty of states and their legal systems, over unilateral action by Switzerland.
With regard to our perspective on the “Loi sur le devoir de vigilance” in France and the Child Labour Due Diligence law in the Netherlands,and other regulations such as the Modern Slavery Act in the UK, we respect and adhere to all laws and regulatory requirements and have taken steps to ensure full compliance.