Business & Human Rights – Guest Commentary by Clark Price, Chargé d'Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin

Business and Human Rights – The Right Thing and The Smart Thing
© U.S. Embassy Berlin

This year marked the tenth anniversary of the UN Human Rights Council’s unanimous endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles (UNGPs) on Business and Human Rights (BHR), and in that time, U.S. and German companies have become global leaders in responsible business conduct. But as we look forward to the next decade, we recognize there is still much work to be done. The success of our future efforts to build upon the UNGPs will require transatlantic cooperation to cement emerging standards and advance commitments with respect to BHR. I am honored to be returning to Berlin at this exciting time in the U.S.- German relationship.  While previously serving as Economic Minister Counselor, I valued my connection with AmCham Germany and the frequent engagement, open discussions, and fruitful cooperation it afforded. Now as Chargé d’Affaires, I am eager to work with you again as we begin to build back better from a global pandemic, to drive equitable and sustainable development, and to protect and promote ethical business practices in the face of human rights and labor rights abuses.  

Advancing BHR is not just the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do. Companies that commit to respect human rights and exercise due diligence in their business dealings place themselves at a competitive advantage by mitigating their operational, legal, and reputational risks; this is particularly true when considering the complex reality of today’s global supply chains. The U.S. government is ready to continue to support this effort. To demonstrate our commitment, on June 16, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the U.S. government will soon begin the process of updating and revitalizing the United States’ National Action Plan (NAP) on Responsible Business Conduct.   

You can read Secretary Blinken’s Statement in full here.

The UNGPs point us in the right direction but are not the complete solution. There is more to be done. The U.S. Embassy in Berlin and our consulates around Germany are ready to work with transatlantic partners across all segments of society and industry to build on these principles and ensure that companies – and communities – benefit from conducting business responsibly and in a rights-respecting manner. I look forward to the progress we can achieve together.  

For more detailed information please contact:

Thomas Henneberg

Manager, Head of Membership Engagement & Events