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  5. Responsible Supply Chains: Civil Society Response to the G7 Ise-Shima Leaders' Declaration

 
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FOCUS June 2016 Volume 84

Responsible Supply Chains: Civil Society Response to the G7 Ise-Shima Leaders' Declaration

We, the undersigned civil society organisations, express our profound disappointment that the issue of “responsible supply chains” was given short shrift at the Ise-Shima G7 Summit, despite the pressing nature of the issue.

The issue of “responsible supply chains” was examined in detail at the G7 Summit in Schloss Elmau in 2015, when the G7 countries committed to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The G7 leaders also stressed, inter alia, the need to increase transparency, to strengthen grievance mechanisms to promote better working conditions, and for the private sector to implement human rights due diligence.

Despite the measures taken by some G7 countries as outlined in the Progress Report submitted to Ise-Shima, the reality is that the global supply chain continues to be plagued by human rights violations, damage to the environment, and poor working conditions. Civil society called repeatedly for the Ise-Shima Summit to take a hard look at this reality, and for the G7 countries to renew their commitment to take effective, meaningful measures. Nevertheless, “responsible supply chains” was not even included in the Ise-Shima agenda, and the final declaration includes only a brief reference in the section on trade that the G7 will “continue to strive for better application of internationally recognized labour, social and environmental standards in global supply chains”. Such a passing mention cannot be said to be sufficient, and it does not appear that the issue was discussed in any detail.

We therefore renew our call on the G7 governments to take the following actions:

• Ensure that the G7 takes measures towards full implementation of the commitments that were made at Schloss Elmau. Furthermore, ensure that the G7 countries collect necessary data and conduct a clear evaluation in line with the index described in the Ise-Shima Progress Report, for reporting at the next G7.
• Highlight the critical importance of transparency in supply chains, which facilitates respect and protection for labor rights.
• Implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights by developing substantive National Action Plans on the basis of meaningful consultations with all stakeholders.
• Strengthen the system of National Contact Points (NCPs) for grievance redress by making NCP peer reviews mandatory.
• Take effective measures to address the erosion of social protection of workers and the risk of child labour in global supply chains.
We are disappointed that Japan, the chair of the Ise-Shima Summit, did not take an active role in addressing responsible supply chains. We urge that Japan, which has not yet started the preparation process of developing a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, to engage in this process without delay. Development of a National Action Plan is especially urgent in the case of Japan, which will host the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympic Games.

We will continue to call for examination of the responsible supply chains issue at the next G7 Summit, in Italy. Moreover, we urge the G7 countries to create a mechanism for meaningful engagement with all relevant stakeholders including civil society including the affected people, NGOs, international trade unions and labour rights groups, before, during, and after G7 Summits.

June 10, 2016
 
Asia-Pacific Human Rights Information Center
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
CSO Network Japan
Human Rights Now
Human Rights Watch
Save the Children Japan
World Vision Japan

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