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Swedwatch's company survey

The survey found that 10 of the 22 companies claim to include a risk assessment for defenders as part of their due diligence process, and assess limitations on the operating environment for defenders. Another 10 affirmed that they assess these risks “to some extent”. Most do so only in relation to union rights and threats against labour rights defenders... Two companies do not assess risks to defenders at all. No company acknowledged paying particular attention to defenders belonging to vulnerable groups. Twelve companies confirmed the statement that “the business sector should take active steps to protect defenders”. However, nine companies responded that the business sector should be less active..., and merely “avoid a negative impact on defenders’ situation and civic freedoms”. All companies...agreed that the business sector has a responsibility towards defenders... Companies that have not assessed risks...explained that this is due to a lack of clarity and adequate guidance from the UN and/or home government, lack of competence,... not being entirely clear on the best sources of information [or] how to appropriately mitigate identified risks... Although only about a third of the 60 companies approached by Swedwatch replied..., their answers encouragingly indicate that the issue...is on the agenda of several of the largest Europe-based companies...