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5 Mar 2020

Ruth Green, International Bar Association

Business and human rights: German companies push for mandatory due diligence law

At the end of 2019, 42 German businesses issued a joint statement calling on the country’s government to introduce mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence...

Johannes Blankenbach, European Union / Western Europe Researcher & Representative at the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre in Berlin, says the statement sends a clear message from the German business community that voluntary best practices are no longer sufficient. ‘Companies are increasingly aware of what employees, customers, investors and the public expect from them on human rights and the environment,’ he says. ‘German companies supporting binding rules sends a strong signal across Europe due to the size of the German economy and the reach of German businesses.’

There's growing momentum for greater corporate liability for human rights and environmental violations across Europe...

Like other signatories to the German statement, Schröder says Tchibo would welcome EU regulation. ‘Europe is one of the strongest economic areas in the world, so joint regulation would have a considerable positive impact in Europe and worldwide,’ he says. However, he warns that ‘without a national solution, German companies also run the risk of being disadvantaged in European and global competition.’ ...

[also refers to Total, ANZ Bank, ING]