No, we do not recommend reading the new Study of the European Commission: the document contains a whopping 572 pages. At the same time, we would not want you to ignore it – the report is yet another signal that businesses will soon be legally required to comply with human rights due diligence requirements. Luckily, we have reviewed the study for you.
If you are a subscriber to our newsletter, you already know that many countries are in the process of introducing legislation on human rights due diligence. These new laws all have one thing in common: they make it mandatory for businesses to identify, prevent and mitigate adverse human rights impacts throughout their supply chain.
A new study, published in February 2020 and ordered by the European Commission, reveals a broad consensus among stakeholders that harmonized EU-wide legislation on human rights due diligence would help level the playing field and provide clarity to businesses.
First step towards additional regulation?
The aim of the Study was twofold:
- To provide an overview of current legislation and practices
- To develop and assess regulatory options, “including the possibility of introducing due diligence requirements as a legal duty of care at the European level” (p. 10)
The Study considered various options, ranging from no additional regulation to a general duty applicable to businesses of all sizes and types. It also contains the results of a large-scale survey, which had been conducted to assess the extent to which businesses already have due diligence processes in place.
Importantly, unlike many of the national legislations, the plans of the EU Commission not only cover due diligence for human rights, but also for environmental impacts.
The Result: Consensus that Due Diligence should become mandatory
The large majority of stakeholders (business survey respondents (75.37%), civil society organisations (96.51%) and industry organisations (62.5%)) agreed that EU-level regulation on a general due diligence requirement for human rights and environmental impacts may provide benefits for business through “roviding a single, harmonised EU-level standard (as opposed to a mosaic of different measures at domestic and industry level)”.
It is now up to the European Commission whether or not to follow the recommendations of the report, but given that many member states are already introducing due diligence legislation, and given the ambition of the current European Commission when it comes to sustainability, legislative proposals can be expected to follow.
What are the expectations towards Businesses?
It is expected that EU legislation on human rights and environmental due diligence would be based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. As such, any new legislation will contain at least the following requirements:
- A process to identify actual and potential human rights impacts, both for the operations of the company as well as throughout the supply chain
- Measures to prevent adverse human rights impacts and a process to verify the effectiveness of these measures
- Reporting publicly on human rights approach and impacts
- Providing a channel for remediation or participate in existing remediation processes
How DQS can support your Due Diligence:
As an independent audit and assessment provider, we can support your due diligence processes with the following services:
– Gap analysis and validation of your due diligence procedures
– Human Rights Assessments
– Social and environmental compliance audits
– Supplier audits across the globe
– Training and capability building
– Verification of sustainability reporting
As of today, the Coronavirus continues to spread globally. DQS is observing the developments very closely.
Our primary concern is the health and safety of our customers, employees and auditors and the communities we operate and live in while giving everyone the information to make the necessary decisions.
We are in close contact with our accreditations bodies, our offices and auditors worldwide in order to give our customers the right information needed to mitigate the impact on their respective organisations and how we as DQS are prepared to help our customers to manage their business operations and management system requirements during this pandemic event.
In cases where your organization is impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19 and/or you need advice about postponement or changes of a planned audit please provide your regional contact person with the necessary information in order to assess the impact and alternatives to an onsite assessment based on the following major questions among others:
- Can the audit take place as scheduled?
- How is the extent of the current limitations to the facility/organisation:
- Is it possible to access parts of your facility/organisation?
- Who is available?
- Have you the needed technology / experience with remote meetings such as video conferences?
- It is also important to know what kind of audit is currently been planned: is it a re-certification audit or a surveillance audit? For which standards are you certified?
- What are the specific process-orientated risks for your business?
These are just some questions, which need to be answered in order to assess the next steps. Based on a close exchange with our customers a customer-tailored solution will be provided and defined together.
We are here to support you. There might be additional risk considerations to discuss with your Customer Service Professional as we continually monitor regional issues and the development of this pandemic event.
Different rules apply to different schemes and standards, not all of which can be covered in detail by the guidelines of Corporate Headquarters. Hence, some of our accredited offices have created information pages and documents in response to the most frequently asked questions for the assessments on specific standards in their field of business.
In addition, we publish links to the information of our two largest offices holding accreditations either by the German accreditation body DAkkS or the U.S. accreditation body ANAB. Please read these guidelines carefully.
- For assessments especially for food and consumer products: DQS CFS
- For assessments especially for medical products and services:DQS MED
- For assessments especially under the scheme of ANAB: DQS Inc
- For assessments especially under the scheme of DAkkS: DQS GmbH
Please communicate all questions and any concerns to your local DQS office; don’t hesitate to contact your customer service professional or your auditor!
Please find your specific country organisation: DQS Worldwide
For all information regarding the Corona crisis, please refer to our information page
The information is very much subject to change as the situation unfolds. Please check back regularly.
Download: Remote Audits by DQS
In recent years, we have seen a growing awareness of the risk of product fraud. Particularly in the consumer goods industry, it is of paramount importance to review products and raw materials along the supply chain. The Product Integrity Assessment, launched by IFS, is a tool to help companies protect the integrity and authenticity of their products.
Suppliers of white label products are increasingly being subjected to product authenticity and integrity checks by their retail customers. The IFS PIA has been designed in an effort to standardize the range of formats currently used for the assessment process. The assessment can be applied to any product group of any given producer. The assessment does not only relate to the production process in the production plant, but also to the supply chain. It covers both the way in which companies manage risks related to raw materials as well as the relevant administrative processes.
Unlike the IFS standards, IFS PIA is a benchmark assessment – it is not a certification standard!
The scope of a PIA assessment is always the same: the management of product integrity at a specific site. It includes all processes and data related to the integrity of the products that are produced at the site, even when certain processes are outsourced or executed at other sites of the company. The assessment method consists of an off-site and an on-site stage. During the off-site assessment, trained auditors identify specific fraud and integrity risks. They will also obtain feedback from the relevant retailer, which will inform their on-site assessment. As such, every single aspect will be adjusted to the specific context of the site and product and is truly customer-specific.
Path To Evaluation
Steps for registration
- Read the IFS PIA Program and Guideline
- Implement requirements
- Self Assessment (recommended to identify gaps)
- Sign the contract issued by IFS
- Complete the Questionnaire
- Choose a certification body with an IFS PIA trained Assessor, like DQS
- Retail partners provide input
- Certification Body will schedule the on-site appointment with you
- IFS and Assessor will prepare the assessment
- Execution of the Assessment
After the on-site assessment
- Assessor prepares a preliminary report
- Creation of an action plan by the assessed company
- Assessor reviews action plan and adds his/her conclusion
- Assessor sends final report to IFS
- IFS sends the IFS PIA report to the site and to the participating retailers
- IFS adds Confirmation Letter to the IFS database
The frequency of the PIA assessment depends on the product, sector and level of vulnerability. For example, because the meat industry is particularly exposed to the risk of fraud, it is being assessed more frequently than other sectors. Assessment cycles can range from 6 months to three years.
DQS – Your Partner for IFS PIA Assessments
DQS CFS maintains a network of highly skilled and experienced assessors on a global scale and serves as your partner throughout the complete IFS PIA assessment. Get in touch for any question or register yourself for our newsletter, to be sure, receiving our updates regularly.