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U.S. Government National Action Plan for Responsible Business Conduct – U.S. Department of State

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Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is releasing the second U.S. National Action Plan (NAP) on Responsible Business Conduct, reflecting a commitment to strengthening and improving respect for human rights and labor rights, increase the use of green energy, fight corruption, protect human rights defenders, advance equity and gender equality, and promote rights-respecting use of technology .

President Biden is the most pro-worker president in history and is committed to building a sustainable global economy from the bottom up. Together, he and Vice President Harris are committed to promoting high labor standards, bringing workers’ voices to the decision-making table, and enforcing rules against unfair labor practices – not just here at home, but around the world.

The release of this action plan reflects a government-wide commitment to strengthening responsible business conduct through multi-stakeholder coordination, meetings, economic incentives, regulations and other activities . Although this NAP addresses the full spectrum of responsible business conduct (RBC) issues for U.S. companies operating and investing abroad, it particularly focuses on expectations for corporate responsibility in respecting human rights. including through effective due diligence in a rapidly changing risk environment.

The NAP sets out this administration’s expectations for businesses to conduct human rights due diligence (HRDR) throughout their value chains, based on international standards. It highlights that businesses should go further in implementing sector-specific standards, developed in collaboration with stakeholders, that provide credible metrics to meaningfully measure progress on business impact on businesses. people across value chains.

The NAP identifies four priority focus areas, informed by stakeholder consultations, for the U.S. Government to promote and encourage CBR and accelerate business implementation of effective HRD practices:

Creation of a federal advisory committee on responsible business conduct

  • The Department of State will use the Federal Advisory Committee on Responsible Business Conduct to strengthen coordination with the private sector, affected communities, labor unions, civil society (including human rights advocates), the world academic and other relevant stakeholders on RBC policies, programs and activities. initiatives.
  • The advisory committee will continue progress on CBR issues and can help monitor the implementation of the NAP.

Strengthen respect for human rights in federal procurement policies and processes

  • The U.S. Government Hotline Task Force, chaired by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Justice, will identify options to improve the methods by which workers and civil society may notify the government of human trafficking violations committed by federal contractors and subcontractors. .
  • The Department of State will pilot a human trafficking risk mapping process for high-risk, high-volume contracts to help federal acquisition staff and contractors conduct due diligence during design , solicitation and monitoring of the project.
  • The Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will draft guidance to direct proactive consideration, on a case-by-case basis, about suspending and prohibiting businesses from doing business with the government federal whenever CBP imposes a penalty under customs laws for repeated reasons. violations or other laws that CBP enforces to combat forced labor so that U.S. taxpayer dollars are not paid to companies that use forced labor in their supply chains.
  • The Department of Defense will conduct a review to assess whether to encourage or require membership in the International Code of Conduct Association for Private Security Providers’ Association (ICoCA), a multi-stakeholder initiative that provides oversight and certification of private security providers in accordance with human rights and international human rights standards. standards of humanitarian law – for its private security service providers.

Strengthen access to remedies

  • The Department of State will strengthen the U.S. National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on RBC through increased stakeholder engagement. NCP reforms include: the creation of a new advisory body for the NCP; propose changes to the PCN’s confidentiality policy and update its internal regulations; developing one of the NCP’s first policies on retaliation; improve the accessibility of the NCP website; and evaluate options to strengthen the PCN.
  • The Department of Labor will develop innovative systems for access to remedies by funding a $2 million technical assistance project implemented by the International Labor Organization that promotes worker-oriented social compliance and protects workers’ rights. work in global value chains.
  • The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) will strengthen protections against retaliation for groups and individuals using DFC grievance mechanisms by updating its policy commitment, developing internal guidelines for responding to allegations of retaliation and by allowing anonymous complaints in the DFC grievance mechanisms.
  • The Treasury Department will advocate for effective redress systems with multilateral development banks, including the International Finance Corporation and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, for project-affected communities.
  • The Export-Import Bank of the United States will work with the Export Credit Agency to strengthen redress procedures and engage in public outreach to solicit feedback on how to improve the access to remedies and the effectiveness of project-based grievance mechanisms.

Providing resources to businesses

  • The Department of Labor will create the InfoHub on Responsible Business Conduct and Labor Rights, an online repository to communicate a whole-of-government perspective, approach and suite of resources to advance outcomes on labor rights in business operations and value chains.
  • The U.S. government will issue guidance to businesses on best practices for tribal consultation and engagement with indigenous and affected communities.
  • The State Department this week released U.S. government guidance for online platforms, such as search engines, social media platforms and other digital services, on protecting human rights defenders .
  • The Department of State will lead the development of guidance to encourage investors to conduct HRD activities when considering investments in technologies that may enable or exacerbate human rights violations.
  • The U.S. Government will develop additional business guidance for companies, investors, and other stakeholders doing business or engaging in transactions involving specific countries and/or sectors.

Beyond the four priority areas, the NAP includes an annex that details certain commitments in the priority areas and lists additional actions the U.S. government will take to advance BCR, such as those in the areas of technology, climate, just transitions, workers’ rights and the fight against climate change. Corruption.

The full text of the NAP can be viewed at state.gov. Stakeholders are encouraged to provide comments and suggestions at any time via email to RBCNAP@state.gov..

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