Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) has not yet been officially defined nor standardized by the Slovak government. In 2018, the Slovak Association of Corporate Governance, a non-profit civic organization grouping CEOs and managers from two dozen companies, issued a Code of Administration for state-owned companies to be used as guidelines. Slovakia has adopted and agreed to support and monitor the implementation of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct. The Ministry of Interior on its webpage refers to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. The Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Family continues to refer to Howard R. Bowen’s 1953 text on Social Responsibilities of the Businessman for its definition of social responsibility. The Ministry has not updated the generic webpage on social responsibility nor boosted the awareness of RBC in recent years.
Slovakia is a party to the Aarhus Protocol. Consumer protection is guaranteed and enforced through the Civil Rights Act, Consumer Protection Act, and the Act on E-Commerce. In line with OECD Guidelines, Slovakia has adopted key legislation on product safety, protection of the economic interests of consumers, and legislative norms on consumer health protection enforced by the Department of Consumer Protection of the Ministry of Economy. The Slovak Trade Inspection authority supervises the implementation of Consumer Protection Act (634/1992 Coll.). Slovakia has accepted the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and is setting up a working group tasked with preparing a national action plan on business and human rights. As an OECD member, Slovakia adheres to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. A National Contact Point (NCP) was established to promote these guidelines among the wider public (business community, government, trade unions, etc.) and to help resolve RBC disputes. The Slovak Public Procurement Act has integrated several RBC objectives related into public procurements.
The NCP can be contacted here:
Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic
The Strategy Unit
Department of Bilateral Trade Cooperation
Mlynské nivy 44/A827 15 Bratislava 212
Tel.: +421 2 4854 2309 E-mail: email@example.com
Slovakia’s principle human rights challenges are related to the poor living standards and societal discrimination of the sizable local Roma minority, which according to some estimates makes up nearly 10 percent of the total population of Slovakia. According to civil society organizations, a large part of the Slovak Roma minority lives in marginalized settlements without access to basic amenities and services, and faces discrimination in almost all aspects of life, including access to education and employment. Human rights organizations also cite a lack of acceptance in society and occasional instances of physical or verbal violence against members of the LGBTQI+ community. Inequities in the labor market affect women and mothers, where women are less likely to be offered employment and face a 15 percent pay gap. A lack of affordable childcare effectively prevents many women from reentering the labor market after maternity leave. There have not been any claims filed by indigenous or other communities for land or natural resources ownership. Slovakia adopted Act 330/1991 Coll. that regulates the process of land consolidation and ownership rights, under which an individual or entity whose property was wrongly confiscated may have ownership reinstated.
The Slovak government respects the rights of workers and enforces the law prohibiting child labor and discrimination effectively, though does not specifically prohibit discrimination based on HIV status. The law concerning acceptable conditions of work and occupational health and safety is enforced effectively. There have been occasional reports of abuse targeting migrant workers and members of the Roma minority by private employers. Despite progress in recent years, the Slovak government continues to face some challenges in effectively enforcing legislation prohibiting forced or compulsory labor and trafficking in persons. NGOs reported male and female migrants, especially from non-EU countries, substance abusers, people with disabilities, and marginalized Roma, and children in welfare systems or aging out of such systems were particularly vulnerable to become trafficking victims.
The Acts on Environmental Impact Assessment (24/2006 Coll.), Air (137/2010 Coll.), and Waste (313/2016 Coll.) govern environmental protection affecting businesses. The mandatory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process applies to a number of industries, including mining, energy, steel, chemical, pharmaceutical, wood, food, agriculture, and infrastructure projects. The Act on Air defines legal obligations for emitters, including emissions limits, monitoring, and reporting in line with valid national and EU legislation. The Act on Waste establishes the obligations for companies producing packaging as well as rules on waste recycling and recovery.
Slovakia has corporate governance legislation that protects and facilitates the exercise of shareholder rights and ensures equitable treatment of all shareholders, including minority and foreign shareholders. All shareholders have the right to obtain effective redress for violation of their rights and the right for compensation arrangements pursuant to this legislation. The primary sources of the legislation are the Commercial Code, the Accounting Act, and the Securities Act.
Many companies and NGOs adhere to the principles of RBC and actively promote and advocate for this concept. The most significant program is the Via Bona Awards, developed by the Pontis Foundation, which annually recognizes Slovakia’s best RBC programs. The American Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia also plays an important and active role in promoting and advocating for RBC.
As an EU member state, Slovakia adheres to the 2017/821 regulation based on the Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas. The country also enforces similar domestic measure through Act 332/2020 Coll. regulating supply chain due diligence for companies that source minerals from conflict-affected areas.
Slovakia has ratified the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) but is not a participant in Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights Initiative (VP). Slovakia is not a signatory of The Montreux Document on Private Military and Security Companies nor a participant in the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers’ Association (ICoCA).
Department of State
Department of the Treasury
Department of Labor
Slovakia’s environmental regulatory framework is in line with EU policies. Limits imposed by Slovak environmental legislation are stricter than the OECD average, though some critics note that implementation and environmental law enforcement lag. The government’s “Environmental Policy Strategy until 2030,” adopted in 2019, outlines a path toward increased environmental protection and minimizing the use of non-renewable natural resources by 2030. In 2020, Slovakia adopted its Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (INECP) for 2021 to 2030 to meet its EU greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction commitments. The INECP addresses five dimensions: decarbonization, energy efficiency, energy security, internal energy markets and research, innovation, and competitiveness. Slovakia has committed to the EU Green Deal and endorsed the EU Commission’s “Fit for 55” legislative package, with the aim to achieve a 55 percent reduction of GHG emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050. In January 2020, the Slovak government passed the “Low-Carbon Development Strategy until 2030 with a View to 2050.” This Strategy lays down a roadmap for moving to a low-carbon economy and introduces sectoral targets of GHG emission reductions through 2030. Both the INECP and the Low carbon Strategy are set to be updated in 2022, to reflect the new EU-wide GHG emission reduction target of 55 percent and updated EU emissions calculations.
The state provides regulatory incentives, many of which can be co-financed with EU funds. Some businesses have noted that the conditions for environmental compensations are often set inappropriately by administrators, resulting in incentive money being left on the table. In March 2022 the Environment Ministry reported that only by 38 percent of the total allocated for the State Program for Remediation of Environmental Burdens budget was expended.
Due to record-high prices of emission allowances and energy inputs starting in 2021, energy intensive industry leaders have advocated for higher levels of reimbursement from the Environmental Fund for modernization valued at over €1 billion, which is funded in part by emission allowances. The Fund returned €11million to industry as of March 2022, while in 2021 it was only €3 million. Some large industrial emitters are working with the government to develop comprehensive emission reduction action plans that include state aid schemes. Electromobility and hydrogen have been government priorities, with the government providing subsidies to consumers for electric cars purchases and grants. State energy authorities have been working on a plan to increase electricity network capacity, solutions to which may be an opportunity for foreign investment.
As one of the EU’s most industrialized countries with a large energy-intensive economy, Slovakia will have to invest significant public and private resources to achieve its ambitious climate and environmental objectives. Slovakia has allocated €2.17 billion of its €6.3 billion Recovery and Resilience Plan towards green investments in energy efficiency and building renovation, renewable energy, sustainable transport, decarbonization, and climate adaption and biodiversity. Some 40 percent of the €13 billion of European Structural and Investments Funds available to Slovakia in the 2021-2027 programing period will also be spent on green investments. Polluters are able to access significant public funding for projects related to decarbonization, energy efficiency, energy storage, and renewable sources from the Modernization Fund and the Environmental Fund, which are funded from profits from Emission Trading Schemes (including the EU ETS) covering about 50 percent of all emissions. Slovakia is also eligible for nearly €1 billion in EU funding from the EU’s “Just Transition Fund” to transition away from coal. Slovakia committed to end the use of domestic coal in electricity and heat generation by 2023. It pledged to end state aid for coal mining beginning January 2024.
In January 2022, the government launched a new deposit return scheme for plastic bottles and aluminum cans in which larger retailers are required to participate. The government’s aim is to achieve a ninety percent return rate of recyclable packaging by 2025.
Agriculture is a sector vulnerable to both climate change and especially effected by environmental legislation related to land use, animal husbandry practices, and herbicide/pesticide use. In February 2022, the Slovak government approved a Strategic Plan of the Common Agricultural Policy for 2023-2027, which included EU-wide priorities on environmental protection and a domestic focus on modernization and innovation with a budget of €4.3 billion.
The Slovak Environmental Inspectorate provides regulatory relief to certified companies by reducing the frequency of inspections to once every ten years. Landowners are granted property tax relief for land use choices, such as leaving intact habitats such as swamps, sodium-rich soils, peat bogs and groves, windbreaks, and water protection zones. Slovakia also introduced tax incentives for environmentally friendlier modes of transport such as a tax exemption for electricity and natural gas in railway, water, and public transport. Slovakia is active in green public procurement and has a National Action Plan for Green Public Procurement (GPP) in place that mandates that central and local contracting authorities apply GPP rules. The Slovak Environment Agency organizes educational activities on green public procurement for public authorities. Within its Strategy for a Greener Slovakia, a component of the Environmental Policy Strategy, the Slovak government committed that GPP will cover at least 70 percent of the total value of public procurement by 2030. The strategy also obliges contracting authorities that carry out ten or more public procurement procedures in a calendar year to make environmental considerations in at least six percent of contracts; reduce negative environmental impacts of the procurement; contribute to environment protection; promote adaptation to climate change; and support sustainable development.
Slovakia ranked 20 on the 2021 Global Energy Innovation Index, up four places from 2016. It scored 4.4 points in the MIT Technology Review’s Green Future Index, putting it at 50th place. According to Global Green Growth Institute’s 2019-2020 Global Green Growth Index, Slovakia ranked 7 in Europe, improving 10 places since 2005.
Please consult the following websites for more information:
- Environment Ministry’s Law Carbon Strategy:
- Economy Ministry’s Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan:
- Ministry of Agriculture:
- Recovery and Resilience Plan, Green Economy Section:
- Action Plan for the Transformation of the Upper Nitra Region: