The Norwegian Transparency Act (Åpenhetsloven) has been in force since July 2022. Like other national initiatives, the law introduces requirements for qualifying companies to conduct human rights due diligence. Emilie Halland Braathen is the Sustainability Manager of Advania Norway and tells us more about which steps Advania Norway has taken to comply with the new requirements.
What is the Transparency Act?
In short, the law is called the ‘Human Rights Act for Business’ and aims to promote companies’ respect for fundamental human rights and decent working conditions as well as to increase transparency. The law refers to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the OECD Due Diligence Framework and is aligned with the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights.
How did you embed this work in the organisation?
An initial priority was to ensure engagement from the management team. We started an ethical committee that is intended to function as a forum for these topics. The committee held five meetings in 2022, at two of which our CEO was present. This committee also produced a local policy on sustainable business practices and transparency which outlines Advania Norway’s work on due diligence in accordance with the OECD model for sustainable business. All employees must read and sign this policy.
Another key aspect to embed due diligence in the organisation was to increase knowledge and awareness among our employees. In October 2022, we introduced mandatory e-learning covering human rights and due diligence for all employees. On top of this, we carried out a gap analysis to identify additional key operational personnel who then also completed training in sustainable business practices.
How does Advania Norway manage the risk of negative human rights impact in its operations?
Advania Norway already communicated our supplier code of conduct and carried out risk assessments through our membership in the Responsible Business Alliance prior to the Transparency Act. In August 2022, Advania Norway became the first IT company to join Ethical Trade Norway (ETN)1. Through this membership we commit to annual due diligence reporting and comprehensive risk assessments of our supply chain to identify human rights violations, and the ETN platform provides us with valuable resources and tools related to the due diligence assessments. We follow up on risks through supplier self-assessment, audits, and supplier meetings. The supplier meetings allow for a qualitative dialogue with our suppliers and are an important forum to increase transparency about their supply chain management. In the RBA platform, where most of our major suppliers also are members, we have access to additional information about our suppliers, such as previous audit reports and information about their factories and sub-suppliers, contributing to a better insight into our supply chain conditions.
How will Advania Norway communicate on this work?
Advania Norway will annually report on its human rights work and the first report on sustainable business practice is available on their website.
 Etisk handel Norge (Ethical Trade Norway) is a member-based organisation and resource centre for sustainable trade. Read more at https://etiskhandel.no/en
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