Human Rights Due Diligence for SMEs
Although in recent years both policy and civil society have placed increasing emphasis on the need for companies to exercise 'Human Rights Due Diligence' (HRDD), the focus is mainly on large (multi)national companies. Because of their small scale and limited influence, SMEs are often not considered capable of setting up a successful HRDD policy. Working together with SMEs and with a variety of other societal stakeholders, this multidisciplinary research project aims to identify ways in which ways SMEs can implement an effective process of HRDD. The two PhD projects aim at understanding (1) why SMEs decide to engage in efforts to address human rights risks; (2) how SMEs transform this engagement into concrete organizational practices; (3) what the barriers and opportunities are that SMEs face when attempting to assess and address human rights risks more systematically by carrying out human rights due diligence (HRDD) and (4) critically assessing the potential of multi-stakeholder collaboration to strengthen SME efforts to carry out HRDD. The PhD project will mainly analyze how the engagement in human rights can result in a more systematic and inclusive HRDD strategy based on action research methodologies, including field research in sites and suppliers along the value chain.