ICAR Assessment of US National Action Plan (NAP) on Responsible Business Conduct

ICAR is pleased to share our assessment of the U.S. National Action Plan (NAP) on Responsible Business Conduct. 

In December 2016, the United States government launched its first NAP on Responsible Business Conduct. In response, ICAR has conducted a structured assessment of the U.S. NAP, using the NAPs Checklist developed and published by ICAR and the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) as part of the ICAR-DIHR NAPs Toolkit. The NAPs Checklist lays out a set of twenty-five criteria that address both the content of NAPs and the process for developing them.

The following assessment reveals that while the U.S. NAP presents a thorough overview of existing federal policies and government expectations around the conduct of U.S. companies abroad, there are a number of shortcomings in relation to both the drafting process and the strength of the content of the NAP. The plan fails to adequately address many of the concerns raised by civil society and labor organizations during the consultation process. Additionally, it falls short of providing bold new actions to address the challenges posed by business activity on human rights and prioritizes addressing business conduct occurring abroad over domestic business practices.  

While much remains to be done to ensure that U.S. corporations are not committing or linked to human rights abuses at home or abroad, the U.S. NAP does create a starting point from which to address responsible business conduct.

This assessment is part of a larger effort by ICAR to assess all existing NAPs on business and human rights. In November 2015, ICAR and the European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ) published an updated version of their joint report Assessments of Existing National Action Plans(NAPs) on Business and Human Rightswhich systematically assessed NAPs from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, and Sweden. Additionally, in September 2016, ICAR and the Center for the Study of Law, Justice, and Society (Dejusticia) published a similar assessment of the Colombian National Action Plan.

For more information on the U.S. NAP on Responsible Business Conduct, see ICAR’s dedicated U.S. NAP website.

The U.S. NAP Assessment is available for download here.