回应部门: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of the Economy
Note: This response was originally submitted in Portuguese. Unofficial English translation provided by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre.
A public policy on corporate social responsibility is being developed (by the Ministry of the Economy), in the form of a Guidance Plan for Corporate Social Responsibility. This plan aims to raise the awareness of businesses regarding adopting a socially responsible management strategy as a way of leveraging their competitiveness and sustainability, while also making an increasingly positive contribution to society. This plan will be divided into five focus areas, one of which will be Business and Human Rights. The plan is currently in the process of being finalised.
The Ministry of the Economy, through the General Directorate for Economic Activities, is responsible for promoting and participating in the development of sectoral policies and demonstration and dissemination initiatives relating to corporate social responsibility (CSR).
This issue, and particularly Business and Human Rights, is also monitored by the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), an interministerial coordinating body on human rights, which is chaired by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and brings together all the relevant bodies of the Portuguese public administration. In 2012, the CNDH set up a specific business and human rights working group whose main focus is the national implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
As mentioned above, the government has been working on on the issue and for this purpose it has established an interministerial working group within the National Human Rights Commission. The group started by preparing an inventory of current or planned measures in Portugal that promote respect for human rights in business and that, in practice, come under the theme of business and human rights considering that there is no specific plan in place on the subject.
It should also be mentioned that, in accordance with current international and European standards in this area (as also mentioned above), since the start of this year, the General Directorate for Economic Activities (DGAE) in the Ministry of the Economy has been addressing the subject of business and human rights with a comprehensive approach in the context of corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies.
In this respect, the Ministry of the Economy is developing the first integrated public policy in this area in the form of a Guidance Plan for Corporate Social Responsibility. In order to better explain the various components of CSR, this plan is being structured into five different areas: social, economic, environmental, cultural and business & human rights.
With regard specifically to the subject of business and human rights, the objective of this plan will be to highlight the fundamental elements of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and their link to the most relevant public policies in that area. The aim is to raise companies' awareness to so that they strategically integrate human rights issues into their CSR plans and activities.
Lastly, it should be pointed out that that the Ministry of the Economy has been concerned about ensuring that the various government institutions and other civil society stakeholders, such as the relevant business associations, are consulted on the creation of the Guidance Plan in order to ensure multi-stakeholder involvement.