Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment to appoint a working group to support the drafting of legislation on responsible business conduct
Policy options to regulate responsible business conduct are being discussed in Finland and in the European Union. The Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will appoint a working group to support preparations on due diligence. Due diligence means the responsibility of businesses to address and prevent adverse impacts on human rights or the environment.
The Ministry requested its stakeholders to appoint a representative to the new working group on 9 December 2020. The group’s term will run from 15 February 2021 to 1 February 2022. Its members will represent ministries and organisations working with responsible business conduct. The Ministry and the working group will arrange opportunities for other stakeholders to participate in the preparations.
National work based on analysis on a corporate social responsibility act
In its programme, the Government of Prime Minister Sanna Marin is committed to promoting responsible business conduct in Finland and the EU. One of the measures in the Government Programme is a review on a new corporate social responsibility act. The act would be based on a due diligence obligation of businesses operating in Finland and abroad.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment commissioned a judicial analysis that outlined the nature of a corporate social responsibility act and due diligence obligations in Finland. The analysis explored possible regulatory options, their scope of application, supervision and sanctions under corporate social responsibility legislation. The Ministry organised a public consultation on the analysis report from 30 June to 30 September 2020. It received 48 opinions.
The new working group is to support the preparations carried out as part of official duties at the Ministry. This work will be based on the judicial analysis on a corporate social responsibility act and the opinions received during the round of consultation. The working group will be consulted regularly during the preparations.
Commission is collecting views on EU regulation
The European Commission has announced that it will submit a legislative proposal on sustainable corporate governance by the end of June 2021. The proposal would also cover due diligence. The Commission is consulting stakeholders on sustainable corporate governance until 8 February 2021. It is asking stakeholders to outline how the EU could help businesses make their operations more sustainable in economic, social and environmental terms.
Finland will formulate its position following the regular national preparation of EU matters. The expertise of the new working group will be put to use in Finland’s efforts to influence preparations at the EU level and when legislative proposals are being discussed.
Liisa Huhtala, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 062
Linda Piirto, Senior Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 028