2018 was a good year on the policy front of responsible business. As this year comes to an end we take a look at the key updates from 2018.
The draft National Guidelines on the Economic, Environmental and Social Responsibilities of Businesses (NVGs) was opened for public comments in 2018 – India’s National Voluntary Guidelines on Social, Environment and Economic Responsibilities of Business (NVGs) has been in effect since 2011, and is by far the most comprehensive policy framework on business responsibility in India. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs’ recent move to revise the National Voluntary Guidelines (NVGs) on Social, Environmental and Economic, Responsibilities of Businesses is encouraging.
In March 2018, the Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted the resolution titled, ‘Promotion and protection of human rights and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’. The resolution establishes a strong connection between the 2030 Agenda and international human rights obligations of States. It recognizes that the implementation of SDGs must be “consistent with a state’s obligations under international human rights law.”
It has been an exciting year for business and human rights, with Asian countries, such as Thailand and Indonesia developing their National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP). The Indian government also announced at the Business and Human Rights Forum in Geneva that India will also develop a NAP.
The Government of India in 2018 sought comments on the zero draft of the ‘Legally binding Instrument to Regulate in International Human Rights Law, the activities of Transnational Corporation and other business enterprises’. The Government even held a consultation on this draft – in 2019, we hope to see many more developments in this direction!
As part of its effort to increase India’s renewable energy capacity to 175 gigawatts (GW) by 2022, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has agreed to voluntary financing commitments with 40 banks to finance 78 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2019.
The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) organized sub-regional meetings to prepare for the 6th Session of the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD), and to advance implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The sub-regional consultations for South and Southwest Asia took place in New Delhi in October this year. While representatives from all the countries of the sub-region participated in the consultations, including government officials and civil society actors and organizations, there was none from the business community and the private sector.
In order to facilitate systematic follow-up and review of the progress on SDGs, the UN Statistical Commission (UNSD) has developed a global indicator framework. In November 2018, Government of India published India’s national indicator framework for SDGs.
Decriminalization of homosexuality is definitely the hallmark moment of the year for India. Corporate India reacted with a flurry of tweets and endorsements to the news. Is it going to be more than just lip-service? Optimism much for 2019?!