Due diligence best practice – new project and call for proposals

26th October 2021

Bonsucro has been awarded a grant from the ISEAL Innovation Fund, which is supported by SECO, for a project to share learning and good practice with other voluntary sustainability schemes on due diligence and grievance mechanisms. The project is a collaboration with the Responsible Jewellery Council.

In 2011, the United Nations published a set of guiding principles (UNGP) for states and companies to prevent, address, and remedy human rights abuses in business operations. However, ten years later there isn’t a systematic approach to carry out corporate human rights due diligence processes. And, now human rights due diligence is being written into EU regulations and national laws. In addition, there is more focus on Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) evaluations and identifying risks.

In 2020 we introduced a new Code of Conduct and Grievance Mechanism which were developed against the UNGP. During the first year of implementing these new systems we have started supporting our members’ with their due diligence processes. We have learned a lot already, which we are ready to share.

Through conversations with other voluntary sustainability schemes, through the ISEAL community, we know that our peers are also looking at their human rights policies and due diligence practices. There is a huge range of systems in place, with mixed results and very little learning shared between organisations. To address this, we designed a project to understand best practice in due diligence and grievance mechanisms for the ISEAL community.

Bonsucro’s Membership Manager, Rafael Seixas, said, “We are very excited to work with ISEAL and its members to drive learning and improvement on business and human rights due diligence and grievance mechanisms. It’s very useful to learn from our collective experiences so we can all improve our systems.

The project will enable ISEAL Community members and their stakeholders to access learning and good practice on the implementation of due diligence systems and grievance mechanisms by voluntary sustainability schemes, both in alignment with the UNGP and the OECD Instruments on Due Diligence for Responsible Business Conduct (RBC).

We will do this, in partnership with the Responsible Jewellery Council by:

  • researching due diligence practices and perceptions,
  • benchmarking a selection of ISEAL members’ Grievance Mechanisms
  • identifying the best way to continue a learning exchange in the ISEAL community

We will use this research to develop guidance and resources on good practice on both due diligence and grievance mechanisms for voluntary sustainability schemes.

We are looking for human rights due diligence experts to collaborate with us on this project. If you are interested, please download the call for proposals and submit your interest by 12 November. Interested researchers should contact Rafael Seixas for any queries regarding this opportunity.

The project launched in October 2021 and is expected to take around nine months to complete.

The team at the Responsible Jewellery Council said, “The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) is excited to work with Bonsucro on this project and contribute to the development and improvement of Due Diligence systems and/or Grievance Mechanisms, which we hope will build capacity, provide VSS’s & supply chain actors with more effective tools and support them with their due diligence processes and identifying and responding to human rights risks. For ISEAL Community members, other VSSs and supply chain actors in general, this is an exciting opportunity to align with the UNGP and OECD, and the partnership between Bonsucro and the RJC will bring together two unique perspectives, which will add value and ensure that the applicability for a variety of sectors is considered.”