Denmark Country Guide

The Human Rights and Business Country Guide for Denmark was originally produced in 2013 by the Danish Institute for Human Rights. The guide was comprehensively updated in 2016, and received input from various stakeholders in Denmark along the way.

 Read the full Country Guide in English here

Read the full Country Guide here

News Feed

Danish pension fund divests from four companies over complicity in the Israeli occupation

13 Oct 2017 — “Pension Fund blacklists four companies after Danwatch investigation”, 10 October 2017 The third largest pension fund in Denmark, Sampension, excludes four publicly traded companies from their portfolio. The blacklisting happens after [Danish research centre] Danwatch…documented that Sampension…invested the largest sum of money in companies doing business in or around the illegal Israeli settlements. The Danwatch-investigation has lead the pension fund to revise its investment guidelines…“The result of our review is that two Israeli banks, Hapoalim and Leumi, as well as Heidelberg Cement and Bezeq, [have] been placed on our list of excluded companies due to the financing of settlements, and the extraction of natural resources and establishment of infrastructure for telecommunication on occupied territory”, the [pension fund stated in a] press release…Sampension…[is] also initiating a dialogue with an additional six companies about their possible business activities in the settlements…

Danish company DONG Energy signals its shift to 100% renewable energy with new company name

13 Oct 2017 — "DONG Energy Plans to Change Company Name to Ørsted", 2 October 2017 DONG Energy [has] announced that the company will change its name from DONG Energy to Ørsted. The decision follows the global energy company’s profound strategic transformation from black to green energy and the recent divestment of its upstream oil and gas production. The company will also phase out all use of coal by 2023…  Over the past decade, DONG Energy has transformed from an energy company based on coal and oil to a global leader in renewable energy. The company increased earnings considerably, while building new offshore wind farms and reducing the use of coal on its power stations... “Our vision is a world that runs entirely on green energy. Climate change is one of the most serious threats to the global ecosystem, and we believe that we need to change the way we power the world. With our own transformation, we fully support the change to green energy,” [Chairman of the Board of Directors] Thomas Thune Andersen concluded.

Joint letter to European Commission calls for an EU action plan on Responsible Business Conduct

12 Oct 2017 — "Joint letter from the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, France and Denmark to Frans Timmermans about the missing EU Action Plan on RBC", September 2017 We are writing to you now to raise an important issue: the Commission's plans to continue to work on an EU Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct (RBC)... Responsible Business Conduct, including responsible management of global value chains, is a prerequisite for achieving the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda... EU governments have a role to play here, as these issues are strongly linked to governance gaps, such as deficiencies in the rule of law in developing countries and/or weak enforcement by governments... [T]he G20 leaders in their declaration of 7-8 July underlined the importance of sustainable global supply chains... Denmark, Finland, France, Sweden and the Netherlands would encourage the Commission to develope an EU action plan on RBC as soon as possible, to provide the European leadership that the world needs...

NGOs release updated assessment of national action plans on business & human rights

22 Aug 2017 — "Assessments of existing national action plans (NAPs) on business & human rights," August 2017 The creation of NAPs on business and human rights is a step toward increased accountability for State action in implementing key business and human rights frameworks, including the UNGPs... Eighteen countries have developed and approved NAPs on business and human rights... This report updates the ICAR-ECCJ November 2015 publication by incorporating assessments of the NAPs of Norway, Colombia, United Kingdom (2016 iteration), Italy, Switzerland, and United States... One positive trend that persists across the assessed NAPs is the inclusion of various government entities during the drafting process... Another continuing trend across NAPs processes is the inclusion of some form of consultation with stakeholders... However, it does not appear that the assessed NAPs included processes to facilitate participation in these consultations by disempowered or at-risk stakeholders... One major weakness across assessed NAPs is a lack of transparency regarding the drafting process. Overall, there was a general failure by States to provide a timeline for their NAP processes or publish terms of reference... Another significant weakness in the drafting process of most assessed NAPs is the failure to conduct national baseline assessments (NBAs) to inform the content of the NAP... Some generally positive trends in relation to the content of the eleven assessed NAPs are that each NAP explicitly states a commitment to the UNGPs, discusses international and regional organizations and standards, and includes some discussion of thematic and sector-specific human rights issues.

WWF analysis shows EU's biggest investors need to do more to align with Paris Agreement

10 Jul 2017 — "Biggest EU investors are partly aligned with Paris Agreement but more efforts needed", 4 July 2017 The EU's biggest investors are partly aligned with the Paris agreement's climate target of keeping global warming well under 2°C but still invest too much in coal, the first ever such analysis, carried out by WWF, shows. Lack of disclosure on climate risk remains an element of concern that will have to be addressed by the upcoming G-20 Summit in Hamburg and the EU. WWF’s report shows that 30 among Europe’s major asset owners, mainly pension funds, from the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland have already implemented changes to bring their public equity portfolio more in line with the well under 2°C climate goal. Almost all of them have cut funding to coal mining; however many of them are investing too much in coal power and still lagging behind on renewable power. [Refers to: ABP, Alecta, AMF, AP1, AP2, AP3, AP4, AP7, ATP, DanicaPension, Elo, Folksam, GPFG, GPFN, Ilmarinen, Industriens, Keva, KLP, Nordea Liv & Pension, Pensam, PensionDenmark, PFA, PFZW, PKA, Sampension, SkaniaLiv, StatePension, Storebrand, Varma] 

NGOs urge EU member states & institutions to update export control framework of surveillance equipment to uphold human rights obligations

24 Jul 2017

EU adopts new standards on endocrine disruptors; chemical industry says criteria will hit farmers without additional protection for health & environment

5 Jul 2017 — European experts on Tuesday (4 July) endorsed a proposal by the European Commission on the scientific criteria to qualify what substances significantly alter the chemical balance in humans... [A]n EU system to classify them has been a long time in the making, allegedly because of industry pressure to postpone it... [S]cientists and doctors [...] [fear] that the criteria will fail to identify EDCs and will not secure a high level of health and environmental protection... The chemical industry, however, is also unhappy with the criteria, which it says are flawed and will hit European farmers without providing additional protection for health and the environment... The institutions have three months to examine the adopted text. The EU commissioner for health, Vytenis Andriukaitis, called on the same institutions to swiftly back the criteria and help to set up the first regulatory system of endocrine disruptors in the world.

Microsoft programmes support efforts for refugee integration across Western Europe

20 Jun 2017 — "World Refugee Day: many small things make a big difference", 20 Jun 2017 The refugee crisis we are...facing involves the biggest movement of people and displacement of lives since World War Two…We’re putting too many people at risk of unemployment if we don’t find new ways to upskill current generations for the jobs of tomorrow…[W]e] have a number of programmes across Europe that have already been running to support the integration efforts of refugees.  In Germany…we launched a new version of our Schlaumäuse language-learning app, designed to help migrant children learn German quickly and easily…In Italy, Microsoft is working with Fondazione Mondo help refugees develop their digital skills…In Denmark, we recently hosted a comprehensive workshop for over 100 refugees looking to get back on track with their careers…As part of a broader partnership with Mercy Corps, we also provide funding to the International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps in support of their app, Refugee.Info…In Western European countries specifically, we’ve launched a three-year commitment to matching employee donations to eligible NGOs that address the refugee crisis…World Refugee Day is timely reminder for us to do as much as we can, to drive a positive and lasting change.

7 European pension funds divest from Ryanair due to labour disputes

8 May 2017 — Seven European pension schemes overseeing nearly €300bn of assets have pulled their investments in Ryanair due to concerns about high-profile labour disputes involving the budget airline. High quality global journalism requires investment. Denmark’s largest pension fund, ATP, and Folksam, the Swedish retirement scheme, are among the large investors that have sold their holdings in Ryanair at a time of growing concern about how the airline pays its staff and interacts with unions. Baillie Gifford, one of the UK’s largest asset managers, and Hermes EOS, the influential adviser to institutional investors, have also raised concerns about labour issues with Ryanair in recent months...

Eastern European lorry drivers exploited in IKEA's supply chain, BBC investigation finds

15 Mar 2017 — "Ikea drivers living in trucks for months" Lorry drivers moving goods in Western Europe for Ikea and other retailers are living out of their cabs for months at a time, a BBC investigation has found. Some drivers - brought over from poorer countries by lorry firms based in Eastern Europe - say their salary is less than three pounds an hour...EU rules state that a driver posted temporarily away from home should be ''guaranteed'' the host nation's ''minimum rates of pay'' and conditions. But companies can exploit loopholes in the law...According to EU law, drivers must take 45 hours weekly rest away from their cabs, but governments have been slow to enforce it...It is clear this way of treating drivers is widespread. It is not just within the Ikea supply chain, but also in those of several other big, household names...Legal action is now being taken against some of Ikea's contractors. In the Netherlands last month, a court ruled that Brinkman - which delivers Ikea flowers to the UK and Scandinavia - was breaking the law. The court found that drivers' pay was "not consistent" with Dutch wages law. The judge described conditions for drivers as an "inhumane state of affairs'', and contrary to EU law...Ikea said it takes what drivers have told the BBC "very seriously'' and are "saddened by the testimonies". It said it puts ''strict demands'' on its suppliers concerning wages, working conditions and following applicable legislation, and audits them regularly to check compliance... (Photo credit: BBC News)