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19 Mär 2024

European Parliament

EU: Parliament Legal Affairs Committee approves due diligence directive

"First green light to new bill on firms’ impact on human rights and environment"

MEPs on the Legal Affairs Committee adopted with 20 votes for, 4 against and no abstentions new, so-called “due diligence” rules, obliging firms to alleviate the adverse impact their activities have on human rights and the environment, including slavery, child labour, labour exploitation, biodiversity loss, pollution and destruction of natural heritage. The requirement to prevent, end or mitigate their negative effects also concerns companies’ upstream partners working in design, manufacture, transport and supply, and downstream partners, including those dealing with distribution, transport and storage.

The rules will apply to EU and non-EU companies and parent companies with over 1000 employees and with a turnover of more than 450 million euro and to franchises with a turnover of more than 80 million euro if at least 22.5 million was generated by royalties...

Firms will be liable if they do not comply with their due diligence obligations and will have to fully compensate their victims. They will also have to adopt complaints mechanisms and engage with individuals and communities adversely affected by their actions.

Member states will designate a supervisory authority in charge of monitoring, investigating and imposing penalties on companies that do not comply. These can include fines of up to 5% of companies’ net worldwide turnover. Foreign companies will be required to designate their authorised representative based in the member state in which they operate, who will communicate with supervisory authorities about due diligence compliance on their behalf. The Commission will establish the European Network of Supervisory Authorities to support cooperation among supervisory bodies...

Next steps

Once formally approved by the European Parliament and the member states, the directive will enter into force on the twentieth day following its publication in the EU Official Journal.