note: Nora Kenan has been an intern at the Asser Institute for the past five
months and is about to complete her LL.B. in International & European Law
at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. Upon graduating, she will proceed
with a Master’s in human rights at the University of Utrecht.
Transparency Act (‘Åpenhetsloven’), also
known as the ‘Act on Business Transparency and Work with Fundamental Human Rights
and Decent Work’ was proposed in April 2021. Now, two months later, the Act has
officially been adopted by the Norwegian government
and represents yet another mandatory due diligence initiative which has been
trending across various jurisdiction in the recent years. The Act will require all
large and medium-size corporations in Norway to disclose the measures taken to
ensure the respect for human rights throughout their entire supply chain.
Norwegian organizations have been campaigning for years in favor of such a law.
The official preparations began in 2017, when the Parliament (‘Regjeringen’)
requested the Government (‘Stortinget’) to explore the possibility of
introducing a law that would oblige companies to inform consumers about the
steps that they take to follow up on various human rights responsibilities. The
Government appointed a law firm as well as a group
of experts, the Ethics Information Committee, to
conduct thorough research on the matter, and to investigate whether there were
any other legal obligations standing in the way of a proposal of this kind,
such as for example EEA-obligations or bilateral/multilateral agreements. As a
result of this research, it was concluded that there was indeed room for
imposing human rights obligations on corporations. Shortly after, the Ethics
Information Committee published a report
in which they proposed the introduction of a due diligence legislation – more
specifically, the Transparency
Act. The Act consists of fifteen paragraphs (§), and each paragraph has a
commentary which further describes how it should be interpreted and applied.
objective of the law is essentially to promote corporate respect of human
rights and decent working conditions in the production of goods and provision
of services, as well as to ensure public access to information on the steps
taken by corporations to safeguard these goals (§1). By making this information
public, individuals and stakeholders in general are given the chance to
directly question the activities of a company. More...