Business and Human Rights seminar in Mexico City

Today a seminar about best practices on responsible business conduct took place in Mexico City, in the framework of the economic mission led by Princess Astrid.

The seminar was organized together with the Mexican authorities, represented by Minister for Public Administration Irma Sandoval, as well as UNODC and the OECD, two international organizations active in the prevention and fight against corruption, a priority for the new Mexican government.

The seminar allowed an exchange of best practices and experiences between Belgian companies taking part in the princely economic mission and Mexican companies about the way to analyze, identify, mitigate and communicate on their management of corruption risks while doing business. Two aspects were developed in particular: first, how new technologies (big data, blockchain) can help companies implement their due diligence duties and, second, how to put in place and ensure the follow up of a code of conduct on integrity. This social responsibility of companies must go hand in hand with a policy of integrity and good governance set up and monitored by public authorities, at all institutional levels.

Today’s seminar was already the fourth of its kind, following those organized during the economic missions to Côte d’Ivoire (child work in the cocoa sector), Argentina (social dialogue) and Morocco (promotion of women’s rights through entrepreneurship). These seminars are part of Belgium’s commitment in its National Action Plan “Business and Human Rights” of July 2017, which foresees, among others, the organization of awareness activities on these issues during princely economic missions.

Globalization opens a trove of opportunities for an open economy such as Belgium. As a consequence, companies are not only economical but also social actors in the countries in which they are active. This is a reality which can’t be distinguished from our foreign policy. This is the reason why Belgium encourages its companies, whether public or private, to structurally take into account these dimensions across the board of their activities abroad.

For more information on the princely economic mission, visit www.belgianeconomicmission.be or follow us on Twitter under the hashtag #BEmissionMEX