Human rights at the workplace

How German companies take on responsibility for people and the environment worldwide.

Whether people can lead a life in dignity and their fundamental rights are met depends largely on the conditions under which they work for their livelihood. Are they paid enough to feed their family? Are they protected against pollutants and other dangers, against violence and exploitation? Are there trade unions that assert workers’ rights? Not only governments bear responsibility here, but also internationally active companies. The Federal Government adopted an action plan in December 2016.

What does the National Action Plan (NAP) on Business and Human Rights entail?

German companies are to undertake to comply with labour and social standards and practise their business operations in an environmentally sustainable manner – both at their locations in Germany and abroad, as well as along their supply and value chains. Germany has thus adopted the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. With the NAP, Germany is contributing worldwide to respecting human rights and giving globalization a social dimension in the sense of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

What is the objective?

The aim is for at least 50 percent of all German-based companies with more than 500 employees to put ‘CSR policies’ into practice by 2020. This involves presenting their commitment to environmental protection, human rights and the fight against corruption in a sustainability report.

What does CSR mean?

CSR is the abbreviation for Corporate Social Responsibility.

Are there already any positive examples?

Yes. Numerous global players based in Germany, but also small and medium-sized businesses, have developed CSR standards. Exemplary projects are presented on the websites of Global Compact Network Germany and CSR Germany. Here are three examples:

For more information please go to: National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights

Author: Tanja Zech

The article was originally published here and was republished with permission from

February 2018


Amit Lahiri
12 February 2018

Social responsibility is not about free meals, rather it is about real empowerment, so that underprivileged can earn a respectable livelihood and lead a life of proper dignity and self-esteem.

Add a comment now