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Mandatory Due Diligence

The growing worldwide movement to legally require companies to undertake human rights and environmental due diligence.

Under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights companies have a responsibility to undertake human rights due diligence. Yet a decade after their adoption benchmarks and analyses demonstrate low levels of commitment: almost half (46.2%) of the largest companies in the world analysed in the latest Corporate Human Rights Benchmark failed to show any evidence of identifying or mitigating human rights issues in their supply chains. Similarly, KnowTheChain benchmarks find companies score on average a mere 29% for their human rights due diligence efforts. This is what mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence laws seek to address.

There is more and more understanding that the smart mix prescribed by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights means that there needs to be legislation in order to reach the stated aims.
Heidi Hautala, Vice-President of European Parliament

There is growing momentum worldwide among governments, particularly in Europe, to require companies to undertake human rights and environmental due diligence, from the French Duty of Vigilance Law and the adoption in 2021 of new laws in Germany and Norway, to the EU's Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive. Major investors and companies are also speaking out in favour of such legislation.

Civil society across the world has been pushing for more robust requirements on companies for years and has been outspoken on the key elements these laws should include to be effective: a due diligence obligation for all businesses across their full global value chains; effective and safe stakeholder engagement; mandatory requirements that go beyond tick-box exercises and auditing, address irresponsible business models and purchasing practices, and are embedded in appropriate governance and accountability structures; and a strong civil liability regime.

This portal collects the latest news on mandatory human rights due diligence, national and regional developments, public company statements in support of mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence, guidance for companies and governments, and examples of company implementation of human rights due diligence. It also hosts a blog series where experts from civil society, governments and business discuss what mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence could mean for advancing human rights in business.

Featured contents

EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive finally & formally adopted

On 24 May, EU member states formally confirmed the CSDDD in Council – the absolute final sign-off of this landmark law. Follow the latest news as it moves on to transposition and implementation here.

Over 150 businesses call on the UK government to create ambitious due diligence law

On 17 April businesses and investors released a statement in support of a Business Human Rights & Environment Act, after Baroness Young of Hornsey introduced a Private Members Bill to the House of Lords.

New website maps progress on business and human rights in law

BHR-Law.org, created by ICAR, the European Coalition for Corporate Justice, CORE Coalition, Above Ground, and Public Eye, follows legislative and judicial developments, including the latest laws and court cases, in the field of corporate accountability.

Priorities for the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive from workers in the Global South

We convened workers, trade unions and their civil society partners from a range of jurisdictions in the Global South to discuss the Directive. This briefing amplifies the insights and analysis shared by workers and their representatives.

Delivering an EU-wide standard on responsible business: a joint call from business, trade unions and civil society organisations

Ahead of the last political trilogue on the CSDDD in December, a group of businesses including IKEA, ALDI SÜD, Novo Nordisk, Tchibo, L'Oreal and ABN AMRO, trade unions and civil society organisations, jointly urged EU co-legislators to reach a political agreement.

Buffering rights: How Europe's new due diligence regulation can help reverse tech rights risks

This briefing looks at the key areas in need of improvement to strengthen the EU's welcome draft Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive and shape a rights-respecting tech sector.

Closing the gap: Evidence for effective human rights due diligence from five years measuring company efforts to address forced labour

This report provides new evidence of the urgent need for voluntary action to be strengthened with robust regulatory requirements for companies to identify human rights risks and prevent abuse.

Hearing the human: Ensuring due diligence legislation effectively amplifies the voices of those affected by irresponsible business

We discussed safe and effective engagement with over 60 HRDs and developed recommendations to the European Commission, EU Parliament and Council of the EU.

Beyond social auditing: Key considerations for mandating effective due diligence

To realise its potential, regulation must drive action beyond the mechanical tick-box exercise which has characterised too many companies’ approaches to their duty of care to workers and communities.

The case for human rights due diligence laws in the United Kingdom

Explore the latest facts, statistics and case studies on the need for a human rights and environmental due diligence law in the UK.