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45 CSOs underline need for robust EU mandatory due diligence & directors' duties legislation in joint letter to Commissioner Reynders

...We, the undersigned organisations, would like to congratulate you for the very important announcement... that the Commission will propose legislation in 2021 on both corporate due diligence and directors’ duties..., taking into account ongoing national-level mandatory due diligence developments...

[T]he COVID-19 crisis has had and will have many societal and economic consequences that the EU needs to tackle. In order to combat these, we strongly believe that robust legislative initiatives on corporate due diligence and directors’ duties in 2021, as part of the European Green Deal, will make a significant difference...

...It is indeed critical for us that the Commission proposes a robust European legal framework consisting of:

- New horizontal legislation on mandatory human rights and environmental corporate due diligence where strong EU rules would help ensure robust, resilient and sustainable value chains and investments... It is necessary in particular to... ensure that there are liability rules for harm arising out of human rights and environmental abuses. Rules should ensure that due diligence processes be developed and conducted, at all stages, with full involvement of all rights- and stakeholders, including trade unions, civil society and women’s organisations, human rights defenders and indigenous peoples. In addition, workers’ information and consultation rights should be respected and the right for trade unions to negotiate at the relevant level with the company the due diligence process should be guaranteed. Rightsholders throughout global value chains must, crucially, have meaningful access to remedy, backed by effective grievance frameworks and including judicial remedy before EU Member States’ courts.

- New sustainable corporate governance legislation focused on directors’ duties – notably requiring sustainability strategies and targets for companies, to ensure that directors move away from short-termism, strengthen democracy at work and workers’ involvement in company matters, and consider all rights- and stakeholders’ interests...

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