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28 Feb 2024


EU: Over 50 Brazilian civil society organisations urge German chancellor to vote for the CSDDD

[Unofficial summary translation of the Portuguese original]

More than 50 Brazilian civil society organizations, including Oxfam Brazil, social movements and unions in the country, have signed a letter to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to pressure the German government not to abstain in this week's vote on the European Union's Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive. [...]

Without a European systemic approach, it will be very difficult for Germany to ensure that the global supply chains of which it is a part are free from human rights violations – including in Brazil, where several German companies operate. In early 2023, for example, BASF was involved in a slave labour case. In addition, many German companies buy Brazilian products, especially coffee, which is one of the champions of rescuing workers in situations analogous to slavery. [...]

Letter from Brazilian civil society organizations and trade unions to Germany regarding the vote on the CSDDD

São Paulo, February 28, 2024.

To Mr Olaf Scholz,
Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.

We, Brazilian civil society non-governmental organizations and trade unions, are especially concerned about what appears to be an incoherent position of the German government and its statements surrounding the European Union's high-stakes vote on the Corporate Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD). It is very difficult for us to understand why Germany would potentially abstain.

The German law on Corporate Due Diligence Obligations in Supply Chains was a breakthrough in improving the protection of vulnerable people who are negatively affected by companies and their supply chains, such as farmworkers, indigenous peoples, and peasant communities. Brazil and Germany are connected by a series of supply chains that are often implicated in human rights violations, including slave labour.

We recognize the German government's efforts to promote best practices by companies [...].

Nonetheless, in our view, the passage of the CSDDD is a matter of life and death for countless victims of corporate abuse around the world. It will make an important contribution to the eradication of forced labour and other human rights violations in Brazil. Delaying the rollout of a mandatory due diligence approach in Europe for global value chains will incentivize bad actors to continue putting profit over people. Voluntary corporate approaches cannot solve human rights risks or the climate crisis, and corporations are major contributors to these problems. This regulatory framework is extremely important to put companies on a path compatible with climate sustainability.

We believe that Germany plays a key role in building fairer global value chains, and we trust that you will take the necessary steps to ensure that Germany votes in favour of the CSDDD.