Implementing human rights along supply chains

The Private Sector’s Learning Journey in Colombia, Mexico and Germany on Respect for Human Rights along Supply Chains

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  • Commissioning Party

    German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

  • Country
  • Overall term

    2022 to 2024

  • Products and expertise

    Economic development and employment


Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are of fundamental importance for the global economy because they represent markets, create jobs and account for 50 per cent of worldwide gross national product. The requirement to implement human rights standards along supply chains has increased the demands placed on international SMEs.

Colombia was the first country outside Europe to sign two versions of the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights. Mexico has also started to structure its own national plan. The Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (LkSG) already applies in Germany.

The cooperation faces various challenges in implementing human rights standards in SMEs which have very little or no experience in applying them along their supply chains.


Established strategies and good practices on human rights, corporate integrity and due diligence along supply chains are transferred and implemented in the private sector in Colombia, Mexico and Germany.

Participants in the triangular cooperation for supply chains stand together.


The triangular cooperation has the following priority areas:

  • It implements national, regional and international human rights and business standards – including the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act.
  • It develops workshops on an approach to human rights as they affect the supply chains of SMEs.
  • The cooperation is also establishing a Colombian-Mexican working group on human rights along supply chains – together with the Alliance for Integrity (AFIN), the German-Colombian Chamber of Commerce (AHK) and the network of Mexico’s Chambers of Commerce. Here the aim is to identify the effects on human rights in certain sectors and develop measures to prevent and mitigate the impacts.
  • In addition, the cooperation is producing an annual report for the Chambers of Commerce in Colombia and Mexico, which contains the challenges, results from observations and good practices for human rights along supply chains.

Last update: April 2023

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