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Finland wants to raise business and human rights higher on EU agenda

Ministry for Foreign AffairsMinistry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Publication date 29.11.2019 11.38 | Published in English on 29.11.2019 at 11.41
Press release

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will organise a conference to advance EU-level discussions on how businesses can better take human rights into account in their own activities, in the activities of their partners and in their supply chains. Minister of Employment Timo Harakka will open and close the conference.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will organise a conference Business and Human Rights: Towards a Common Agenda in Brussels on 2 December 2019. The conference is set to discuss business and human rights from the perspectives of public funding, legislation and cooperation with countries with weak governance.

“Corporate social responsibility has become increasingly important for citizens, consumers, policy-makers and businesses themselves,” says Minister of Employment Timo Harakka.

“Large companies operate globally, and national measures alone are not enough. That is why we have made sure responsibility remains a key theme during Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU. We hope that the conference will serve as a starting point for EU-wide corporate social responsibility,” Minister Harakka says.

The two ministries will issue an Agenda for Action at the end of the conference. The paper will contain concrete proposals for how the EU should promote corporate social responsibility.

Professor John Ruggie will hold a keynote address at the conference. He is the author of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights Johanna Sumuvuori, State Secretary of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, will also attend the conference.

“It is important for human rights that the EU considers its new agenda for action in an inclusive way together with representative of businesses, trade associations and NGOs,” says Johanna Sumuvuori.

The conference participants represent businesses, civil society, labour market organisations, the EU and international organisations, such as the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Some 230 people are expected to attend the conference. The conference is fully booked, but it can be followed online at and on Twitter: #EU2019FI #BizHumanRights #Agenda4Action


Jenni Karjalainen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Employment, tel. +358 40 751 5496
Linda Piirto, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 028, [email protected]
Alva Bruun, Senior Adviser on Development Policy, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 295 350 112, [email protected]
Kent Wilska, Commercial Counsellor, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 295 351 522, [email protected]

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