Responsibility in Global Supply Chains

Their Management according to Social, Ecological and Human Rights-Related Principles; an Evangelical Perspective. A discussion paper authored by the Advisory Commission of the EKD for Sustainable Development

We live in a globalised world. In the last three decades, production structures, too, have become increasingly interconnected beyond national boundaries. Transforming raw materials into the finished product requires many steps, which often involve many people in different countries. The prime focus is on economic profit. Little account is taken of questions about human rights or environmental and social standards along the global supply chain. However, the coronavirus pandemic, if nothing else, reminds us of how vulnerable this highly globalised world has become.

The urgent need for national and international legislation to organise supply chains responsibly is becoming clearer and clearer. The discussion paper issued by the EKD Advisory Commission on Sustainable Development dares to look to the future of global action after the Covid-19 pandemic and explains from an Evangelical perspective how the economy can operate sustainably.

With its drafting of Ten Central Political Options for Action at National and Multilateral Levels the paper offers an important theological and ethical contribution to the discussion about a supply chain law.

Taking responsibility

“We carry responsibility for the way we conduct our economic affairs. This can be derived from foundational biblical principles, as well as the ethical considerations which ensue from such,” stresses EKD Council Chair Heinrich Bedford-Strohm in his Preliminary Remarks. The discussion paper shows how and by what means more sustainable business management becomes possible. It comes out in favour of drafting a supply chain law and for incorporating “social, ecological and human rights-related due diligence

obligations at national, European and multilateral level”. But the paper also underlines that this is not enough. After all, apart from policy-makers, the business community and, not least, the consumers also bear responsibility.

Whom does this paper seek to address?

It is meant for everyone interested in respecting human rights along with environmental and social standards in supply chains. They include

  • those involved in education and development
  • political and economic decision-makers
  • interested members of the public
  • church congregations
  • discussion groups

(Transl. by Elaine Griffiths)

Download the pdf version