BMAS industry study on business and human rights

Nationaler Aktionsplan Umsetzung der VN-Leitprinzipien für Wirtschaft und Menschenrechte

In 2016, the Federal Government presented the ‘National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights’ (NAP) in order to implement the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights of the United Nations (UN) from 2011. The plan defines the specific responsibilities of German businesses, including the expectation of due diligence for companies and respect for human rights along supply chains. The NAP makes clear that ‘the Federal Government [expects] all companies to adopt the [...] process of due diligence with regard to respect for human rights in a reasonable manner in terms of their size, sector and position in the supply and value chains’. In addition, the NAP details what measures the government is taking to assist companies in the implementation of human rights due diligence.

In collaboration with Ernst & Young (EY) and on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS), adelphi is conducting a study to complement support services. The study will examine:

  • which human rights risks in the (international) supply chains exist in sectors of the German economy,
  • which are particularly relevant risks along the supply chains according to an analysis and localisation process (in so-called focus industries), and
  • which industry activities are already being implemented in the focus industries for human rights due diligence and what are the associated, industry-related challenges for that implementation.

Based on an overall consideration of all industries using various data sources (databases, online tools), the project will first identify those industries associated with human rights risks from an international perspective. The initial, restricted focus allows an in-depth consideration of some 30 sectors of the German economy. The individual analysis of the industries will reveal the human rights risks along the value chain, how pronounced the industry is intertwined internationally, and what economic impact it has.  On this basis, the project will restrict its analysis further to eleven focus industries.

It will create portraits for the eleven key industries in order to gather information on human rights risks and challenges in the supply chains as well as existing (or planned) activities related to the design and implementation of human rights due diligence. A comprehensive analysis of the literature and, in particular, interviews with industry stakeholders will serve as the information bases.

The study aims to contribute to the decision of the Federal Government as to which industries require support in form of sector dialogues. The final decision of which sectors will be addressed in the context of the NAP will be made by the Federal Government.