Supplier respect for business and human rights, key for sourcing | Sunday Observer
German Supply Chain Law

Supplier respect for business and human rights, key for sourcing

28 February, 2021

Sri Lankan exporters could face a tough path ahead as Germany plans to introduce a new law where itsimporters will be under obligation to continuously verify that their suppliers respect United Nation Guiding Principles (UNGP) of business and human rights.

Violations would be sanctioned with penalties up to 10% of the importer’s annual turnover and exclusion from public tenders up to three years. A joint inter-ministerial draft law is to be presented  mid next month to the German parliament.  The  Supply Chain Law  will make  Germanycompanies legally responsible for human rights and environmental issues throughout their global supply chains. The move was immediately welcomed by the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights which said the proposed new law was urgently needed in high-risk sectors such as textiles. During the panel discussion with company representatives of the targeted sectors of apparel, food and tourism, panellists stressed how much their businesses are related to consumer driven sustainability requirements and how important the documentation of UNGPs conform processes is. 

Country Head for Sri Lanka and Bangladesh of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, Hubertus von Welck  emphasised that companies should be open for standards under the UN Guiding Principles and incorporate those in their in-house procedures. 

In a video message German Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, HolgerSeubert pointed out the relevance of the subject with regards to the upcoming Supply Chain Law in Germany.

The second hybrid conference on Sustainable Supply Chains facilitates market excess for Sri Lankan exporters to the EU-market. The Delegation of German Industry and Commerce (AHK Sri Lanka) and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) co-organised a second hybrid conference on “Sustainable Supply Chains as drivers of global competitiveness” on February 24.

Since September 2020, the two organisations in cooperation with Loening Human Rights and Responsible Business have conducted several training  programs, individual gap assessments and covered the preconditions for certifications for Sri Lankan exporters in the sectors of rubber, apparel, and food products. All project partners agreed to extend the project to the Sri Lankan tourism sector.

Chief Delegate of German Industry and Commerce and Industry in Sri Lanka Andreas Hergenroether said, “The major reason to partner for the initiative is to support Sri Lankan exporters to obtain broader market access and to enable German and European importers to import according to international sustainability standards. Sustainability standards are a reality.

They are partially politically driven, but they are also more consumer and industry driven. Besides the existing official legally binding standards, European importers require more and more consumer and industry driven standards such as Fairtrade, BSCI, SA8000 and IFS,” he said.

Country Head for Sri Lanka and Bangladesh of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom  Hubertus von Welck said that the initiative “Sustainable supply chains as driver for global competitiveness” has been taken up and is now been extended as a contribution to the restart of the Sri Lankan economy to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic as fast as possible.  AHK Sri Lanka is part of the German Chamber Network supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).