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Acknowledging responsibility

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Companies should publicly state that they are meeting their responsibility to respect human rights in a policy statement.

The policy statement should be adopted by management and address human rights issues of particular relevance to the company and, where appropriate, the industry, as well as international human rights conventions and recommendations such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN covenants on human rights (the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) and the ILO's core labour standards. The policy statement should also describe the procedures by which the company fulfils its human rights due diligence obligations. In practical terms, this means explaining the processes for identifying human rights risks and effects, as well as the plans for measures to prevent and mitigate adverse effects on human rights. This may include contractual obligations, screening and audits of suppliers and business partners, training and capacity building for the company's own employees and particularly high-risk suppliers, taking human rights risks into account in making strategic business decisions and in product development.

Within a company, employee and department-specific responsibilities must be identified at an early stage. Employee training in all relevant business fields aid with the further implementation of the due diligence obligations. This process takes time and sets learning processes in motion - for this reason, the policy statement should also be continuously updated.


The Federal Government has compiled answers to frequently asked questions on the implementation of the National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights (NAP). The FAQ is continuously expanded and updated. Currently it is only available in German.