The digital economy has had a profound impact on the global business landscape. New phenomena such as online platforms, social media, digital ledger technology, big data and online service providers affect business models and our understanding of what a “business” is. Digitalisation also has a significant impact on the workplace and can affect production and distribution, both positively and negatively. It has driven innovation in all sectors, but also contributed to the transformation and disruption of traditional industries, making it imperative for incumbents to acquire new digital competencies rapidly.
The implications of digitalisation for responsible business conduct are manifold. New digital tools can accelerate development, and enable businesses to strengthen their efforts to act responsibly, in particular as it relates to responsible supply chain management (e.g. blockchain technology to manage supply chains, machine learning and analytics to track risk).
At the same time, the digital transformation can also lead to business causing or contributing to human rights and other social and environmental harms in new ways (e.g. risk of bias and discrimination in the use of articial intelligence, and human rights risks associated with surveillance technology and the misuse of online content platforms).
Within this context, governments are confronted with new opportunities and challenges while promoting responsible business conduct.
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