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21 Jan 2021

Autor*in:
Human Rights Watch

EU Parliament to hold crucial vote on corporate accountability & due diligence report

"EU Parliament Vote Critical to Hold Companies to Account", 21 January 2021

...On January 27, 2021, the European Parliament’s legal affairs committee will vote on a proposal to request EU legislation to hold companies accountable, including recommendations for its content. If the committee approves the proposal, it will go to the European Parliament for a vote. The Parliament’s recommendations could help shape the corporate accountability law initiative announced by Didier Reynders, the European justice commissioner, in April 2020...

...People all over the world face human rights abuses and environmental impacts linked to the way businesses operate, but the vast majority of companies globally do not investigate and address human rights abuses or environmental harm in their supply chains. From Ghana’s gold mines to garment factories in Asia and beyond, workers have suffered serious labor rights abuses, including hazardous work conditions, forced overtime, wage theft, forced labor, and child labor...

...Following a commitment in April by Commissioner Reynders to passing an EU law that would make human rights and environmental due diligence mandatory for companies operating in the EU, the European Parliament is preparing a report to request the European Commission to submit a formal legislative proposal in line with its recommendations. The Commission is conducting a public consultation to gather input from civil society, the private sector, and member states. Once the Commission offers a proposed law, the European Parliament and the EU’s 27 member states will have to agree on the text for it to come into force.

For the EU due diligence law to be effective, companies should be required to address human rights and environmental risks throughout their entire business chain, and publicly disclose information about the entities in the chain and the steps they have taken to fulfill their due diligence obligations. To be effective, the EU directive should carry consequences for noncompliance, including penalties, and create a civil course of action and access to judicial remedies.

Company certification under existing voluntary certification processes or participation in responsible business multi-stakeholder initiatives should not be considered sufficient evidence of effective human rights due diligence, Human Rights Watch said...

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