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11 Aug 2020

European Commission

EU Commission publishes Inception Impact Assessment for sustainable corporate governance initiative & seeks public feedback (deadline: 8 October)

'Inception Impact Assessment', 30 July 2020

...An EU level initiative could include the appropriate combination of the following corporate (company) and directors’ duties with a view to requiring... companies “not to do harm” and to empowering corporate directors to integrate wider interests into decisions...:

- companies to take measures to address their adverse sustainability impacts, such as climate change, environmental, human rights (including workers and child labour) harm in their own operations and in their value chain by identifying and preventing relevant risks and mitigating negative impacts (due diligence duty). Such duty could be designed by building on existing authoritative guidelines using well-established definitions as developed by the UN and later expanded by the OECD...

- company directors to take into account all stakeholders’ interests which are relevant for the long-term sustainability of the firm or which belong to those affected by it (employees, environment, other stakeholders affected by the business, etc.)...; company directors to define and integrate stakeholders’ interests and corporate sustainability risks, impacts and opportunities into the corporate strategy – following appropriate procedures – with measurable and time-bound, science-based targets where relevant...

- an appropriate facilitating, enforcement and implementation mechanism accompanying these duties, including possible remediation where necessary...

[I]t will need to be established which issues would need to be laid down in legislation and which issues would rather have their place in complementary guidance. This initiative will need to be coherent and consistent with the review of the Non-financial Reporting Directive...

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