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11 Mär 2024

Gerónimo López Sevillano, General Confederation of Workers of Peru, David Bli Blé, CISL-Dignité, Ivory Coast, and Vyacheslav Bykovets, Union of Entrepreneurs of Small, Medium and Privatised Enterprises of Ukraine in Sustainable Views

Peru, Ivory Coast and Ukraine business organisations call for EU CSDDD deal

In today’s interconnected global economy, for the benefit of people, the planet and businesses, we should strive for sustainable international value chains. The EU Corporate Sustainable Due Diligence Directive is a crucial link in this pursuit since it calls for a shared responsibility along the entire value chain for the respect of human rights and the environment. Furthermore, it will prevent a patchwork of legislative initiatives in different EU member states.

Without this directive, the fragmentation of corporate accountability legislation will continue and even expand. Companies already have different responsibilities under national laws in Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway. In the EU, Luxembourg is considering its own legislation, and around the world countries including the UK and Brazil are taking similar steps.

A patchwork of laws and standards is neither in the interest of companies operating in the EU nor of companies, workers and communities across the globe. Furthermore, the CSDDD is not a bolt from the blue — it is based on the normative framework developed by the UN and the OECD, which has been the global standard for responsible business conduct since 2011.

The latest compromise on the proposed EU directive includes costly concessions that we would prefer were avoided. But even with these reductions in ambition, it defines a risk-based approach for large companies operating in the union to ensure that their products are not produced with child labour or under unsafe working conditions, for example.

The CSDDD would also mandate companies to carefully examine their purchasing practices to prevent negative impacts on human rights or the environment at any part of the value chain through practices such as late payments or last-minute changes of orders. With the directive, responsible business conduct would no longer be optional.

There is unprecedented and overwhelming support for the directive. 

We, as businesses and trade unions in production countries, stand with EU businesses, investors, trade unions, civil society, academics, religious leaders, UN institutions and European citizens who have all called on EU leaders to adopt this piece of legislation. 

Particularly notable among this widespread support is a statement from the Ukrainian Confederation of Employers explicitly welcoming the directive...

Moreover, investors have stressed the importance of creating a harmonised and cross-sectoral framework on responsible business conduct to complement EU transparency rules.

Now is the time to act. This is about EU leadership and political will to make a difference in the lives of millions of people working in miserable circumstances to produce goods and services for the European market. As one of the world’s most powerful economic regions, the EU should take its responsibility and approve the CSDDD without delay. 

We have seen a race to the bottom in terms of production costs over the past decades. By leveraging its influence and resources, the EU can catalyse a global shift towards a more sustainable world economy and strengthen companies that act responsibly, paving the way for a more prosperous future for all.