Bridging global gap in remediation of adverse impacts requires concerted effort by all stakeholders

Enabling access to remedy is an opportunity for a company to gain better insight into and to address issues in its supply chains, to prevent costs and to strengthen its reputation. More collaboration between companies and stakeholders is needed to increase leverage for remedy, to develop expertise on remediation processes and to develop ideas on how to finance remedy. These are amongst the key findings of the Access to Remedy webinar organised by the Social and Economic Council (SER) and the Dutch OECD National Contact Point (NCP) with the support of Shift.
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In different sectoral breakout workshops focusing on the garments and textiles, financial institutions, extractives and agrofood, the participants discussed and brainstormed about the expectations from companies in relation of remedy when negative impacts occur and what is needed to bridge the global remedy gap. The latter entails the situation whereby victims of negative human rights impacts in supply chains face various challenges, for example in getting compensation or restitution for such impacts, whilst at the same time, companies expected to enable access to remedy often lack the necessary expertise and leverage to contribute to this.

Working together

The participants acknowledged the importance of linking the remedy conversation to the due diligence process of companies, instead of treating this as a standalone issue. There is also a clear need to build more practical experience on access to remedy. “We all need to do more about remediation in order for the UNGPs and OECD Guidelines to be fully effective,” says Alexandra van Selm, program director for international RBC at the SER. “Rightsholders need accessible and practical solutions which are currently being developed in different sectors. Sharing best practices and working together are essential to move forward. Multi stakeholder collaboration such as the international RBC sector agreements facilitated by the SER and training suppliers and workers on their rights are important elements in this.”

At the international level, the conversations on access to remedy continue, as tools and models for financing remedy are being discussed in various platforms. In light of the developments regarding mandatory human rights due diligence, it is expected that the access to remedy debate will continue to gain momentum the coming years.

Stakeholder dialogue

As companies increasingly gain information about their complex supply chains, it becomes even more important to address identified negative impacts by developing or participating in effective operational) grievance mechanisms. In addition to grievance mechanisms, dialogue with stakeholders on the ground, NGOs and trade unions is also essential in the process of enabling remediation. In order to strengthen access to remedy within the international RBC agreements, webinar participants recommended developing an overarching accountability mechanism for these agreements.

In the coming months, the outcomes of the sessions will be discussed within the individual international RBC agreements, and various avenues to promote access to remedy across the different sectors will be explored.

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