Such legislation would aim to improve human rights throughout global value chains by having an aligned agenda that is effective across country borders, reads the statement from the signatories, all members of the Nordic Business Network for Human Rights (NBNHR).
Along with BioMar, the other companies are Arla, Danfoss, Inter IKEA Group, LEGO Group, Lundbeck, Neste, Norsk Hydro, Novo Nordisk, Statkraft, Vestas Wind Systems and Yara.
“It is important that we use the leverage of EU to achieve legislative alignment regarding human rights due diligence across industries. The EU has a unique opportunity to develop a regulatory framework which could serve as an effective, efficient and coherent tool for the aquaculture industry, and which could assist as an international benchmark for advancing the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs),” commented Sif Rishoej, vice president of people, purpose and communication, BioMar Group.
MEPs support EU corporate due diligence law
On Wednesday [January 27], the EU Parliament’s legal affairs committee adopted a report calling on the EU Commission to legally require companies to protect human rights and the environment in their supply chains.
The new rules should apply to all companies operating in EU internal market, including those from outside the EU, said the lawmakers. It would ensure companies are held accountable and liable when they harm - or contribute to harming - human rights, the environment and good governance.
Existing international frameworks on due diligence, such as the UNGPs and the OECD guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, have proven that a voluntary approach does not sufficiently address the negative impacts of globalised business activities, according to the MEPs.
“A new law on corporate due diligence will set the standard for responsible business conduct in Europe and beyond. No longer will companies be able to harm people and the planet without being held accountable,” said rapporteur Lara Wolters.
BioMar focus on human rights
BioMar, with its international reach, says it has been increasingly focused on human rights and the UNGPs, over the past few years, in an bid to strengthen internal practices, including developmental work with suppliers.
Rishoej outlined some of the actions initiated by the company in this respect:
BioMar, she said, has conducted a large internal assessment together with consultants, EY, mapping its risk related to human rights and other important focus areas.
“We are also assessing all suppliers as regards core human rights topics such as child labor, freely chosen employment, health and safety, discrimination, minimum wages, etc."
Furthermore, the company is engaging in initiatives to prevent deforestation and other impacts on human rights linked to the production of raw materials in a bid to protect communities and natural resources, she said.
“We have also implemented a global system to govern our internal practices in terms of pay, diversity and inclusion, health and safety, etc."
BioMar has moved as well to strengthen employee representation and dialogue, she said.
“We have also participated in meetings on how to improve protection and promotion of human rights in the salmon industry together with the RAFTO Foundation and the Danish Institute of Human Rights."