On 6 July 2022, the Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, and representatives of 50 Luxembourg companies signed the National Pact “Business and Human Rights”, in the presence of the Union des entreprises luxembourgeoises (UEL), the Institut national pour le développement durable et la responsabilité sociale des entreprises (INDR) and other stakeholders.
As a reminder, the National Pact “Business and Human Rights” is part of the National Action Plan “Business and Human Rights” (PAN 2), adopted by the government in December 2019 following collaboration from the public sector, the private sector, national human rights institutions, civil society, trade unions and academia.
The National Pact is a voluntary commitment by business leaders to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
“I am pleased to see 50 companies commit themselves to a common effort to promote and respect human rights by signing the National Pact on Business and Human Rights, and I hope that many companies will follow”, said the Minister.
He also acknowledged the cooperation with UEL and INDR and all stakeholders in signing the Pact today.
“The adoption and implementation of the National Pact will allow us to formalise the partnership and the joint commitment between the state and companies to follow the obligations and responsibilities incumbent on them by virtue of the United Nations’ guiding principles”, Jean Asselborn underlined.
In this context, Minister Asselborn also referred to the ongoing negotiations on the proposal for a directive on due diligence, which was presented by the European Commission on 23 February 2022: “I have always been committed to the publication of the draft directive. We are now involved in the negotiations for an ambitious result for Luxembourg and we hope that the work in progress will progress as quickly as possible. With this Pact, companies will also be able to prepare now for a future directive on due diligence.
By subscribing to the Pact, companies commit themselves to
- raise awareness among their employees and stakeholders about the protection of human rights in the workplace,
- appoint a person responsible for human rights within the organisation,
- train relevant employees on business and human rights,
- develop governance tools to identify risks and prevent human rights violations,
- implement one or more remedies to address reported human rights violations,
- publish a standardised annual report on the measures implemented.
By joining the Pact, companies benefit from the following advantages
- visibility as a signatory,
- training in the implementation of due diligence,
- a tailor-made support package,
- confidential feedback on their annual report from an external expert, enabling them to commit to continuous improvement in the area of human rights.
The website “Pacte national “Entreprises et droits de l’Homme”, dedicated to companies, is hosted by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (https://gd.lu/b3njr3).