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9 Mär 2022

Guy Ryder, Director-General International Labour Organization; Mathias Cormann, Secretary-General Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; and Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

ILO, OECD & OHCHR welcome EU Commission draft due diligence directive and urge stronger alignment with international standards

7 March 2022

Dear President von der Leyen,

The International Labour Organization (ILO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) welcome the European Commission’s commitment to advancing the protection of human rights and the environment through due diligence. In this respect, we appreciate that the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE Declaration) and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (OECD MNE Guidelines) have helped shape due diligence expectations for business in the Commission’s recently released legislative proposal for a Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence and amending Directive (EU) 2019/1937...

As the world’s largest trading bloc, the EU has a unique opportunity to promote more sustainable and responsible business practices in Europe and beyond. In its trade policy, the EU is already committed to advancing RBC in partner countries, promoting the three international instruments referenced in the Commission’s proposal. Coherence with the substantive elements of international standards can help bolster the impact and effectiveness of the EU’s efforts. For example, it can guard against box-ticking compliance approaches and overreliance on contractual assurances. It can also ensure that due diligence is embedded into enterprises’ oversight and management systems, covers the entire value chain, and is sufficiently risk-based, dynamic, proportionate and based on proactive and meaningful stakeholder consultation and dialogue, particularly with workers and all others potentially impacted by business activities. Coherence with international standards can also support the creation of a truly global level playing field, provide legal clarity to business, and reduce costs for companies seeking to comply with similar laws in other regions. Most importantly, aligning with such standards can help to prevent business involvement with harms to people and planet in the first instance, and enable access to effective remedy where they occur...

This letter has also been sent to Commissioner Thierry Breton and Commissioner Didier Reynders.