Companies pushing for  Finland to adopt mandatory human  rights due diligence legislation

Companies pushing for  Finland to adopt mandatory human  rights due diligence legislation

#ykkösketjuun* campaign launched today
  More than 70 companies, civil society organisations and trade unions are calling for a  Finnish law on mandatory human rights due diligence. The campaign reminds  politicians that Finland is being left behind in the global trend towards binding  regulation on business and human rights.

“Many companies already implement human rights principles. Supply chain  transparency and responsibility benefit both customers and suppliers. We have nothing  to hide, and the same should apply to all Finnish companies,” says ​Tommi Tervanen​,  CEO of Kotipizza Group.

The #ykkösketjuun campaign sets out to promote a law that would obligate companies  to map their human rights impacts and take steps to prevent and mitigate possible  adverse impacts. Such a law would be based on the concept of human rights due  diligence defined in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The responsibility for monitoring value chains should be shifted from customers to  companies themselves.

“Nobody wants to knowingly buy products that support irresponsible business, but an  individual consumer is powerless amidst various kinds of claims of sustainable or  ethical company behaviour. Consumers must be able to trust that the products they are  thinking of buying have not been produced by child or forced labour, or by any other  means that violate human rights,” says ​Juha Beurling​, Secretary General of the  Consumers’ Union of Finland.

The #ykkösketjuun campaign calls for the law on mandatory human rights due diligence  to be included in the legislative agenda of Finland’s next government.

“Human rights are a big deal and advancing them through binding regulation benefits  everyone. Common rules on human rights create a fair operating environment for  companies,” says Fazer Group’s Director on Corporate Responsibility ​Nina Elomaa​.

Several countries including France, Switzerland and the Netherlands have already taken  steps towards mandatory human rights due diligence.

“It is time for Finland to step up its game and follow the example set by many other  European countries. We want Finland to be one of the forerunners of corporate social  responsibility,” says ​Sonja Vartiala,​ Executive Director of Finnwatch, which is  coordinating the campaign.

“Binding regulation on corporate responsibility would also increase the competitiveness  of Finnish labour,” reminds ​Jarkko Eloranta​, President of the Central Organisation of  Finnish Trade Unions SAK.

The campaign calls on all members of the society to join forces. Parliamentary  candidates as well as companies, civil society organisations and private citizens can join  the #ykkösketjuun team on the campaign’s website.

“The campaign brings together a large group of social actors as human rights, including the rights of the child are too  important to be left to company discretion alone. We want everyone on board,” says  Tapio Laakso,Save the Children Finland’s ​advocacy advisor​.