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Strengthening European sector dialogues: How can expertise be pooled meaningfully?

How can the responsibility of companies to respect human rights in global supply chains be strengthened? Dialogue between companies and stakeholders in an industry is one effective way: participating companies operate under the same market conditions and can address the specific core issues of the respective industry in a targeted manner. Additionally, a joint approach enables com-panies to develop and implement ambitious, systemic measures. Civil society organizations, trade unions and other stakeholders can contribute valuable expertise on human rights. For this reason, sector dialogues are a multi-stakeholder effort. The current trend towards mandatory due diligence does not diminish the importance of sector dialogues – on the contrary, any regulatory framework needs to be complemented by using the engagement and leverage of sector-wide multi-stakeholder cooperation.

European stakeholders in selected sectors can pool their expertise to bring about impr ovements that national dialogues alone would be unable to achieve. This is why sector dialogues as collaborative, action-oriented platforms are a key element of the “smart mix” that a European Action Plan on human rights and decent work in global supply chains should contain.

This workshop will draw on the expertise of all relevant stakeholders and discuss lessons learned from dialogues at the national and the EU level. It is organized by econsense – Forum for Sustainable Development of German Business, in cooperation with CSR Europe. The aim of the workshop is to demonstrate the added value of European sector dialogues, to shed light on the prerequisites and success factors using examples, and to formulate quality criteria.