How RFN complies with the Norwegian Transparency Act
June 29, 2023
In June 2021, the Norwegian Parliament passed the Norwegian Transparency Act. This Act is based on the UN's sustainability goals and aims to better ensure that Norwegian companies and organisations respect fundamental human rights – including decent working conditions in all parts of their operations. The way adverse consequences for fundamental human rights are handled is an important part of the law.
The Transparency Act entered into force on the 1st of July, 2022. Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) was one of the instigators of the law. In 2017, RFN published a report on violence toward and killings of environmental defenders. We demanded that both the Norwegian government as well as private companies introduced mechanisms to avoid such grave violations of human rights. The report was extensively covered by the media. In 2019, RFN, together with Amnesty, established “KAN” (Coalition for Responsible Businesses) and demanded a due diligence law for companies. Equinor, Hydro, Yara, and Telenor joined the coalition, which added strength to the demand.
Several other initiatives on regulating companies emerged during that time; The Norwegian NGO, Framtiden i våre hender (Future in Our Hands), demanded an “ethics information act”, while others called for an act prohibiting modern slavery. The result was one comprehensive law that includes all these demands: The Norwegian Transparency Act. RFN views the Act as strong on human rights issues, but weak on environmental issues.
Complying with the Transparency Act
The Act came into force in July 2022, and RFN is in the process of establishing the necessary routines and systems to comply with the requirements for an organization of our size.
We already have several policy frameworks in place, in particular a human rights policy and a risk policy with procedures. The senior management team and the board have been informed about the Transparency Act, what systems and procedures are already in compliance with the act, and what measures need to be taken.
To comply with the Transparency Act, RFN will:
- Ensure that human rights and decent working and social conditions are appropriately integrated with RFN strategies, policies, and governing documents both internally for RFN, for our suppliers and for our partners and that they are in line with OECD Guidelines. The most important are:
- We have already undertaken due diligence assessments of partners and will extend the assessments to our suppliers and providers of administrative systems and technologies.
- We will update the RFN Partnership Assessment Tool (PAT) which already includes respect for human rights in today’s set-up and add criteria on working and social conditions. We will also improve the PAT as a tool for identifying risk areas or violations and get assessment routines and follow-up plans in place.
- We will make sure all employees have information, knowledge, and awareness of the guidelines and what plans the organization has for how to deal with possible occurring issues related to human rights and decent working conditions.
- We will develop a system for compliance with The Transparency Act and establish routines and responsibilities for external communication regarding how RFN follows up on relevant issues.