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Responsible Business Conduct in Peru and the challenges and opportunities for the implementation of international instruments was the subject of a high-level virtual event organized in June by Global Compact Network Peru together with key local and international partners.
Global Compact Network Peru and CONFIEP, in alliance with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) with the collaboration of the European Union organized the event to discuss the issue.
Mr. Diego Mellado, Ambassador of the European Union in Peru and Mrs. María Isabel León, President of CONFIEP, provided the welcome remarks. In addition, a panel of international specialists featured Germán Zarama, OECD Focal Point for Latin America, Olga Orozco, Head of the ILO CERALC Project and Alexia Ghyoot, Head of the OHCHR CERALC Project.
Ambassador Diego Mellado pointed out that the Responsible Business Conduct-RBC is part of the economic model that was promoted by the European Union and Peru, where the defence of a free market model with an important social pillar is visualized. Furthermore, it should be noted that another aspect that is shared between the European bloc and Peru is that RBC is also part of trade relations, which should have positive effects on economic development. At the same time, consumers everywhere are increasingly demanding principled business conduct.
María Isabel León commented that private business is fundamental for the development of the country. "Private investment and macroeconomic soundness have allowed Peru to combat poverty, inflation and accumulate reserves, however, we still have a pending agenda in dealing with the problem caused by informality," said the representative of the business sector.
She pointed out that informal business activity violates the fundamental rights of workers and reduces opportunities for tax collection, which in turn contributes to a reduction in basic services such as health and education. She concluded by calling for Responsible Business Conduct by all actors: companies, states and citizens.
Specialists from international organizations presented instruments for the promotion of Responsible Business Conduct including the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the Tripartite Declaration of Principles on Multinational Enterprises, the ILO Social Policy and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
During the meeting there was a business panel where the experiences of the frameworks of action on RBC in the companies AFP Integra and Enel Peru were presented. In addition, the progress of the CONFIEP Business and Human Rights Committee was presented.
Aldo Ferrini, General Manager of AFP Integra mentioned that, in addition to corporate policies, it is important to use indicators to evaluate the scope of activities carried out by companies in their different sectors, so that they can also find areas for improvement. Likewise, he commented that the company applies a responsible investment policy, analyzing in addition to the financial indicators, the social, environmental and corporate governance variables. In this regard, he mentioned that in 2014, they promoted the launch of the Responsible Investment Program in Peru, seeking to create an adequate financial ecosystem to incorporate additional variables to the financial ones in evaluations to identify new investments. This program is focused on companies such as pension funds, insurance companies, investment funds, banking and related.
For his part, Massimiliano Calamea, Sustainability Manager of ENEL Peru, determined that the company firmly promotes Human Rights in the countries where they are present and throughout their supply chains, through a specific policy that considers the framework of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
In addition, he pointed out that they have added to their investment analysis the factor "sustainability change", which defines the contribution that their investments have in society. This action is aligned with the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact and with all the international instruments exposed.
Finally, Igor Salazar, President of the Business and Human Rights Committee of CONFIEP, pointed out the importance of the recent publication “OECD Studies on Public Policies for Responsible Business Conduct - Peru”, where it is stated that Peru has a solid legal framework in RBC, which is in line with what is mentioned in the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights when it is stated that the State is the main guarantor of Human Rights in the country.
Likewise, it refers to the problem of informal labor, an aspect that is also highlighted in the OECD study, where it is indicated that it is the main problem in Peru. "This pandemic has detected the deficiencies and inequalities of not integrating 70% of Peruvian workers and 80% of companies into the economy," he pointed out.
He mentioned that we will not be able to recover from this situation with a number of unnecessary administrative measures, and cumbersome procedures, which delay deadlines and generate corruption, and which, in turn, suffocate investment. Likewise, he specified that the business sector trusts that the government will lead a process that promotes greater investments, with a greater incorporation of the working population into formality. Salazar commented that from the CONFIEP Business and Human Rights Committee, where they have a presence, compliance with international standards at RBC is being promoted through work with unions and business networks.