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30 Sep 2022

Author:
63 UK businesses, investors and civil society organisations

Businesses, investors and CSOs write to UK Prime Minister calling for human rights due diligence legislation

Jordhan Madec, Unsplash

'A new UK ‘mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence’ law with access to justice for victims', 30 September 2022

Dear Prime Minister,

A new UK ‘mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence’ law with access to justice for victims – as called for by businesses, investors, civil society and the public.

Our congratulations to you in your new role as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

We, the undersigned 63 businesses, investors and civil society organisations, write to request that you urgently introduce a new law requiring companies to carry out human rights and environmental due diligence (HREDD) across their operations and value chains. Such legislation would ensure that Britain is at the forefront of setting standards for renewed prosperity and sustainable trade worldwide and would level the playing field for business.

UK businesses, investors and other financial actors have a responsibility to respect our shared human rights and the environment. The process of continuously conducting robust human rights and environmental due diligence (HREDD) is a core requirement for businesses and investors in fulfilling that responsibility, as outlined in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises - international standards to which the UK is a signatory.

Introducing a new HREDD law would help the UK maintain its pioneering leadership on shaping the standards expected of businesses, established by the Modern Slavery Act 2015 Transparency in Supply Chains regulation. While the Modern Slavery Act was a breakthrough when introduced, a more comprehensive approach which goes beyond modern slavery issues and reporting obligations alone is urgently needed. Introducing stronger legislation would position the UK at the forefront of an increasing number of states around the world, including some of our G7 partners, that are now introducing or preparing new laws which make due diligence mandatory and which cover a range of human rights and environmental standards. Notably, in 2022 G7 leaders committed tomaximise the coherent implementation of and compliance with international standards relating to human rights, environment, and labour across global supply chains,” including to introduce “mandatory measures that protect rights-holders”...

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