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One of the innovations of the UNGPs was that it borrowed the due diligence concept from corporate law and applied it to human rights. Human rights due diligence (HRDD) is a continuous, four-step process through which businesses can identify, prevent, mitigate and account for their adverse human rights impacts. Transnational, multi-tiered supply chains present considerable challenges to effectively carry out HRDD, including gaining and exercising leverage and building the capacity of supply chain business partners. This is exacerbated by COVID-19, which is expected to have long-term implications for global supply chains. As a result, millions of workers are being laid-off and face extreme poverty, which is also likely to affect certain sections of society, such as children and women disproportionately. Moreover, COVID-19 highlights how irresponsible purchasing practices can severely prevent the enjoyment of human rights. A perfect example in this respect are recent developments in Bangladesh’s garment industry, where order cancellations lead to lay-offs and subject workers to poverty and exploitation. Against this background, the need to consider purchasing practices when conducting human rights due diligence has become more urgent than ever.
The session will explore the HRDD tools and approaches employed by businesses in addressing their adverse impacts in the times of COVID-19, and the challenges faced by them in doing so. The session will also explore how collaborative purchasing models can be integrated in the HRDD and allow buyers to integrate purchasing practices into the HRDD cycle.
This session aims to:
Evaluate the consequences/challenges of COVID-19 for business operations and global supply chains, and how HRDD can be used to respond to these consequences/challenges;
Explore the linkages between purchasing practices and HRDD, and how to integrate the two.
What new challenges does COVID-19 pose to conducting HRDD?
How can businesses integrate purchasing practices into the HRDD cycle?