26 March 2024

U.S. updates ‘action plan’ for responsible business conduct across supply chains

The Biden administration will take additional steps to encourage businesses to address negative impacts of their supply chain operations and footprints abroad, including those involving human and labor rights and the environment, according to a new plan published on Monday.

Stephanie Amoako, interim policy director at Accountability Counsel, a nonprofit that works to protect international human rights and the environment, welcomed the measures. She argued that publicly releasing the names of the companies involved in remedy cases and other details could encourage engagement in resolution processes.

The resolution process is voluntary, she said, asking, “What incentives do companies have to come to the table?” Making grievances cases public and linking companies to impacted communities, she said, “can add some public attention to a company that gives them the incentive to positively engage in the process.”

Accountability Counsel has tracked complaints filed with international financial institutions for the last 30 years, Amoako said. Of 1,800 complaints filed, only 208 resulted in commitments to provide some sort of remedy for harm caused. “There are even fewer complaints where all of these commitments have been implemented,” she said.

“It’s not enough that these processes produce a report that say[s], ‘You know, we did mess up but next time we’ll do better.’ That’s not enough,” Amoako said.

Amoako added that Accountability Counsel is “really excited” about the new directive to bolster access to remedies for Ex-Im-backed projects.

“Export credit agencies need to do more to ensure remedy,” she said. “We’re seeing a lot of support for fossil fuel infrastructure, other risky projects, and so it’s very important that there are channels for these agencies to hear about the impacts of what they’re financing.”

But Amoako added that ensuring robust implementation of the plan’s commitments would be critical to improving conditions on the ground for the communities affected by U.S. investments.

“Going beyond what’s on paper to actual implementation is critical,” she said.

Read the full article from World Trade Online here.