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21 Nov 2023

Anti-Slavery International & other CSOs

EU: Civil Society Organisations’ recommendations on responsible disengagement in the Corporate Due Sustainability Due Diligence Directive

Open letter to:

Member of the European Parliament Lara Wolters, Rapporteur for the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive proposal

Spanish Presidency of the Council,

President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen,

Commissioner Didier Reynders,

Commissioner Thierry Breton

Civil Society Organisations’ recommendations on responsible disengagement in the Corporate Due Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (“CSDDD”), Articles 7(5) and 8(8) (suspension and termination of business relationships) [...]

To be fully effective, the provision on disengagement must tackle both the risk of companies disengaging too hastily or irresponsibly (the “cut and run” approach), as well as the risk of companies not disengaging where necessary. In the former case, companies risk severely harming relevant stakeholders. In the latter, they risk fostering human and/or environmental human rights violations.

Our recommendations aim to ensure that Articles 7(5) and 8(8) address and prevent the aforementioned scenarios. Recommendations:

1. Ensure termination and suspension of business relationships happen responsibly.

A. Specify disengagement should occur when there is no reasonable prospect for change in Articles 7(5) and 8(6), in line with the European Parliament’s text.

B. Mandate stakeholder engagement when terminating a business relationship in line with the UNGPs and OECD Guidelines, and the European Parliament Position’s Article 8d(5).

C. Address negative impacts of disengagement; in line with the UNGPs and OECD Guidelines and the European Parliament’s Position, Articles 7(5) and 8(6) must mandate companies to address separate negative impacts arising from disengagement.

D. Specify companies ought to remediate impacts they have already caused or contributed to in Articles 7(5) and 8(6).

2. Ensure there are no loopholes preventing disengagement in cases when it is necessary.

A. Remove the derogations to the duty to disengage proposed by the Council: delete derogations in the Council’s General Approach in Article 8(8), first subparagraphs (a), (b), and Article 8(9).

B. Require companies to swiftly disengage in the case of gross and systemic human rights abuses committed by States, by making the European Parliament’s recital 32 an operative part of the text.

C. Also apply articles 7(5) and 8(8) to companies that are directly linked to an impact by deleting the European Parliament’s limitation at Article 7(5).

3. Require companies who decide to stay in business relationships where disengagement is not required (see Recommendation 2(B)) to continue addressing and mitigating human and environmental rights harm: clarify this in article 7(5)(b), in line with the European Parliament’s position. [...]


Anti-Slavery International

Campaign For Uyghurs

Clean Clothes Campaign

Fundación Libera contra la Trata de Personas y la Esclavitud en Todas sus Formas

Freedom United

Responsible Sourcing Network

Social Awareness and Voluntary Education

Uzbek Forum for Human Rights

Uyghur Human Rights Project

Fair Trade Advocacy Office


Rainforest Alliance

European Environmental Bureau (EEB)

Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO)

Initiative Lieferkettengesetz

Observatorio de Responsabilidad Social Corporativa

Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de España (APDHE)