Human rights: a core element of a modern financial centre

ABBL Published 03.05.2019

In a modern financial centre such as Luxembourg, the protection of human rights are increasingly considered to be essential.

There are a number of leads that financial sector actors have the opportunity to follow, such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human rights. “Firms and investors are increasingly paying attention to environmental issues as part of their corporate governance, but less so to human rights” affirms Charles Muller, attorney and independent director, during a special session of a working group at the ABBL.

It is therefore necessary to put human rights issues in the spotlight. The panorama of human rights risks faced by companies throughout their supply chain is broad. Indeed, the risks do not necessarily arise from what companies do but arise as consequence of their actions throughout the entire value chain. For instance, a company investing in another with poor working conditions may raise serious human rights concerns because there of shared responsibilities.

In addition to risk prevention, it is obvious too that compliance with ESG policies improves the performance of companies following strategies and operations that respect human rights.

As explained by Markus Löning, former human rights commissioner of the German government

“A good human rights performance can positively impact company stakeholder relations. For example, it may help to avoid reputation damage and litigation risks and simultaneously allow investors to better understand the operations of the company they invest in. Through transparency and clear risk management requirements, risks associated with human rights violations are easier to manage.”

Respecting human rights as investors, investment advisors, lenders, service providers or employers seems therefore to be a major challenge for the international financial community, requiring solid knowledge. For this reason, the ABBL offers you the possibility to follow a training course at the House of Training.

By Prune Delvalle, Legal Officer, ABBL

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