UK: Asos, Primark Urge UK to Enact Mandatory Due-Diligence Law
'Asos, Primark Urge UK to Enact Mandatory Due-Diligence Law', 22 October 2021
"A consortium of 36 companies, investors, business associations and initiatives, including Asos, Primark and the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, urged British lawmakers Wednesday to introduce a legal requirement for companies and investors to carry out human-rights and environmental due diligence in the United Kingdom. Such legislation to “prevent abuse of human-rights and environmental harm in global operations and value chains,” they said, would “deliver on the government’s commitments to the leveling up agenda and to the transition to a net-zero economy” as it “builds back better.”
“As we recover and rebuild, we recognize the need for new binding standards which benefit all and promote sustainability,” the organizations said. “Mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence is key to ensure that efforts by companies that respect people and the planet, both during and after the Covid-19 recovery, are not undercut by the lack of a uniform standard of conduct applying to all business actors.”
The call aligns with the recommendations of a 2017 report from the U.K. Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights, which received a large amount of evidence on human-rights abuses in the garment industry. The British Institute of International and Comparative Law has also determined that such a law would be legally feasible within the U.K. context, while more than 30 British civil society groups have called for the “urgent introduction” of a new law that would fortify the 2015 Modern Slavery Act and tackle the root causes of potential harms..."