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Monitoring of the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights

27.08.2018 - Artikel

Within the scope of a monitoring process, the German Government is reviewing to what extent companies based in Germany are meeting their due diligence obligations anchored in the NAP. This type of NAP monitoring is the first and so far only measure of this kind in the world.

Importance and aims of the monitoring process

The objective of the National Action Plan is for at least half of all companies in Germany with more than 500 employees to have integrated the core elements of human rights due diligence into their business processes by 2020. This group comprises a total of around 6500 companies.

The German Government will examine the state of implementation in three stages in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

The outcome of the monitoring process will form the basis on which the German Government will decide in 2020 on which further steps to take in the sphere of business and human rights. This might involve legislative measures.

Transparency and expertise

Apprentice using a metal-boring tool
Apprentice using a metal-boring tool© Liesa Johannssen/photothek.net

The German Government is keen to make the monitoring process transparent and to base it on methodologically sound academic standards. A nuanced evaluation system will ensure that the reviewed requirements regarding the content and implementation of the core elements by the companies are reasonable. The evaluations will be anonymised and comply with applicable data processing legislation.

The Federal Foreign Office has commissioned the audit firm Ernst & Young, which won the contract in an EU-wide tender in May 2018, to carry out the surveys. Ernst & Young is leading a consortium which also comprises Systain Consulting, Adelphi consult and Focusright.

All ministries in the Interministerial Committee on Business and Human Rights are closely involved in the design and support of the monitoring process. The business associations, trade unions and civil society are also advising the Federal Foreign Office on this process. The approach and results will be presented on numerous occasions to a wider public at several dialogue events.

Exploratory survey phase of the 2018 NAP monitoring proces

The monitoring process will begin in autumn 2018 with a preparatory survey phase. Around 30 companies will then be questioned in detail in order to gain qualitative insights into experiences, progress and problems relating to the implementation of human rights due diligence. At this stage, producing representative statistics is not the aim.

The focus will be on findings which will make possible the development of a high-quality survey instrument (questionnaire) and a reliable assessment standard for the follow up surveys in 2019 and 2020. The questionnaire is completely confidential and companies will be given individual support.

In the first stage, companies from the target group (companies based in Germany with more than 500 employees) will be selected representing, with regard to their size and the sector to which they belong, the widest possible range of typical characteristics of German business.

2019 2020 survey stages of the NAP monitoring process

In 2019 and 2020, the surveys will be based on representative random samples from companies headquartered in Germany with more than 500 employees. Different companies will be selected each time, thus ensuring that the samples are not identical.

The requirements with regard to human rights due diligence anchored in the NAP are consider

NAP monitoring: a closer look at the corporate world
NAP monitoring: a closer look at the corporate world© Liesa Johannssen/photothek.net

ed to be implemented if a company has introduced all five elements of human rights due diligence to an adequate extent. The monitoring also takes into account the possibility that a company may have reasonable grounds for not being affected by individual risks or for not (yet) implementing certain procedures or measures. The questionnaire will provide for a comply or explain mechanism for such cases.

Useful findings about the state of NAP implementation can only be gained if the companies provide substantial information during the monitoring process. The German Government therefore asks all companies selected for the random samples to actively participate in the survey. The business associations have also agreed to encourage their members to participate in the monitoring process.

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