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Briefing criticises corporate lobby tactics aimed at diluting EU law to hold companies accountable

"Revealed: Industry’s lobby tricks against liability for human rights and environmental abuses", 16 Jun 2021

Corporate lobbyists are fighting an announced EU law that seeks to hold companies accountable for human rights abuses and environmental destruction. This is evident from a new report by Brussels-based lobby-watchdog Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), the European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ) and Friends of the Earth Europe based on dozens of documents obtained through freedom of information requests.

The new report shows how seemingly cooperative corporate lobbies, such as the European Cocoa Association and CSR Europe, try to dilute the law that is crucial for preventing abuses and providing justice to victims by restricting or even banning strong liability provisions and access to courts...

The research finds that several big corporate lobbies like BusinessEurope employ outright hostility towards the forthcoming Sustainable Corporate Governance directive...

The picture is similar with individual companies that present themselves as ‘sustainability champions’. Privately, however, they are seeking to fatally weaken the law by calling for non-solutions. H&M says due diligence rules need to come with the ‘right incentives’; Mondelez wants companies to enjoy a ‘safe harbour’ from liability for the harm they cause; and Danone wants the EU law to be based on ‘voluntary measures’, which have proven ineffective...

A legislative proposal is expected from the European Commission’s Directorate-General Justice in September 2021.

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