26. European Corporate Governance Conference

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Participation at the 26th European Corporate Governance Conference | Global Responsibility of globally active companies

Oct. 15 2020

As Managing Director of Bureau Veritas Germany Holding GmbH and Vice President of the Industry & Facilities Division of Bureau Veritas DACH, Gabriele Rausse was invited as an expert to this year's European Corporate Governance Conference. The theme of the conference was "Global Responsibility of Globally Active Corporations" and aimed to discuss measures for better implementation of human rights and labour protection standards in global companies. 

A fashionable pair of jeans, a heat-resistant plastic spatula or a modern 50-inch flat-screen TV: Behind everyday consumer goods, which are perfectly normal in Germany and other industrialised countries, there are often stories of poor working conditions and human rights violations. Particularly in low-wage countries - such as Bangladesh, Cambodia or Thailand - globally active companies have their products produced for export under sometimes unworthy working conditions and disregard for human rights.

In principle, companies are responsible for ensuring that human rights and fair working conditions are respected within their own supply chain. However, monitoring and controlling one' s own supply chain is sometimes associated with considerable challenges and can only be implemented at great expense, if it is possible at all. So how can companies ensure that their suppliers comply with human rights standards and occupational safety and health regulations during production, and that the products are manufactured under fair conditions?

Gabriele Rauße bei Ihrem Vortrag auf der European Corporate Governance Conference 2020

Gabriele Rausse during her presentation at the European Corporate Governance Conference 2020. Due to the current corona pandemic, the conference was held in virtual form for the first time and the speakers' presentations could be accessed live by the audience via online stream.

At this year's European Corporate Governance Conference, Gabriele Rausse addressed this question and showed in her presentation to what extent social audit programmes can help to highlight human rights violations and ensure fairer working conditions. With the help of standards specially developed for the observance of social conditions, such as SEDEX, Amfori BSCI or SA 8000 certification, companies can use external audit companies to systematically check whether and where suppliers and production companies are violating human rights and labour law. This is to the advantage of the companies and for better compliance with human rights: Because by cooperating with a globally active external auditing company such as Bureau Veritas, production sites can be checked uniformly, standardised and independently worldwide. In this way, companies can better identify whether labour laws, ethical codes of conduct or human rights standards are being complied with along the entire supply chain.

Following the presentation, the effectiveness of social audits was further deepened in a joint discussion with Dr. Miriam Saage-Maass, Lawyer and Vice Legal Director of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) Berlin.

You can view the entire presentation here: 26th European Corporate Governance Conference - Global Responsibility of Global Enterprises

FURTHER INFORMATION REGARDING SOCIAL AUDITS: