The role of human rights for international small and medium-sized enterprises

Small and medium-sized German enterprises are increasingly international in their orientation. This is a trend that is gaining momentum significantly with the advance of globalisation and digitalisation, and with it, framework conditions are changing that in part exert a major influence on companies’ core business.

It is becoming increasingly important for SME entrepreneurs to be aware of these conditions and to take them suitably into account within the scope of their business activities. 

These framework conditions relate both to environmental and, increasingly, to human rights aspects. There can be no doubt that the international commitment of German companies in the countries in question has a fundamentally positive local effect. With investments and entrepreneurial activities, for example, employment, incomes and tax revenues increase, and with them social security does too.

Yet breaches of human rights repeatedly occur in the form of enforced population displacement, environmental damage, child labour, restrictions on trade union rights or harm to employees’ health, for instance. This is not always caused directly by the company itself but frequently occurs in connection with the upstream supply chain or the use of locally manufactured and processed products.

  • Redefinition of entrepreneurial responsibility 
  • Human rights in companies – current trends in Germany 
  • Reluctance on the part of internationally oriented German SMEs 
  • Human rights – an issue for international SMEs? 
  • Rising pressure on enterprises 
  • Human rights reporting standards: now is the time for companies to act! 
  • Human rights: top tips for companies

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