Swedwatch part of human rights due diligence campaign

ARTICLE | 29 September 2020

Swedwatch is part of a new campaign in Sweden calling for legislation requiring companies to respect human rights. The campaign Visa Handlingskraft includes a petition and aims to rally the support of companies, trade unions and the general public around growing calls for national and EU laws on mandatory human rights due diligence (HRDD).

Many Swedish and European companies have their operations, suppliers or business relations in countries where violations of human rights are common and labour protection is weak. Despite this, Sweden and the EU lack laws which regulate companies’ operations outside their borders.

Why do we need a law?

Companies which invest in sustainable business practices do so out of their free will and are forced to compete on unequal terms with companies which choose not to. However, if we want to stop the race to the bottom, companies which act responsibly and invest in sustainability must be supported by clear rules and regulations and fair competition.

Some European countries have already adopted this kind of legislation and several states are now working to have a common regulatory framework in the EU. The Swedish government has yet to investigate potential Swedish legislation, despite calls from both the Swedish Agency for Public Management and the Swedish 2030 Agenda-delegation, nor has it shown support for a common legislation on EU-level.

What does the petition say?

The petition calls for legislation that requires companies to respect human rights in their own operations and in their business relations and for the Swedish government to actively work for an effective regulatory framework on the EU-level.

It also calls on the Swedish government to launch an investigation into how a Swedish Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) legislation based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human rights could be integrated into Swedish law.

The petition aims to rally the support of companies, trade unions and the general public around growing calls for mandatory human rights due diligence.

Read more and sign the petition here: https://visahandlingskraft.nu/