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18 Mär 2024

European Coalition for Corporate Justice, CAN Europe, Reclaim Finance, Frank Bold, European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, and ClientEarth

Debunking seven myths on the CSDDD

In December 2023, EU decision-makers struck an agreement on a law designed to introduce EU-wide standards on business conduct, the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD). Three months later, on March 15, 2024, EU capitals endorsed the Belgian Presidency’s political deal on the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) – a significant step forward in the protection of human rights and the environment from corporate harm.

Corporate human rights and environmental abuses are as old as the modern economy and are driving many of the sustainability crises facing the planet. National due diligence laws are already in force in France and Germany – with advanced national proposals in the Netherlands, Spain, Finland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Austria. Failing to pass the CSDDD at the EU level will expose EU businesses to an increasingly fragmented regulatory landscape and the reality of varying national compliance standards. Much worse, the estimated 650 million workers and communities in global value chains (including inside the EU) will continue suffering human rights and environmental abuses.

Six United Nations agencies, including UNDP, UNEP, UNICEF and OHCHR have called for the adoption of the CSDDD, reminding EU Member States and businesses that the law could be a “positive force in strengthening the protection of human rights and contributing to climate and environmental objectives”. OECD and European Commission studies show that companies which undertake due diligence are more economically resilient and prepared to address potential risks. Studies show that the most sustainable companies are also the most profitable.

In this briefing, we address some of the main myths around the CSDDD and lay out the importance of this law in finally holding European corporations accountable.