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18 Mar 2022

Jeffrey Vogt, Ruwan Subasinghe and Paapa Danquah

Commentary: A Missed Opportunity to Improve Workers’ Rights in Global Supply Chains

After two more robust mandatory human rights due diligence (HRDD) proposals were rejected by the European Commission’s (EC) Regulatory Scrutiny Board, revealing the influence of the business lobby, the EC finally issued its proposed directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence on 23 February 2022. By the EC’s own admission, the proposed directive’s personal scope and provisions on directors’ duties, among other things, were significantly revised or reduced following reflection triggered by the Board’s comments. While the proposed directive is an important step, it nevertheless contains several serious flaws – many of which are significant deviations from Pillar II of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). If not addressed fully in the legislative process, the proposed directive’s effectiveness as a tool to promote human rights, environmental sustainability, and corporate accountability will be certainly diminished. This analysis will focus on the proposed directive as it relates to labour rights. We take as a point of reference the ITUC’s publication, Towards Mandatory Due Diligence in Global Supply Chains (ITUC Guidelines)...