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14 Dec 2023

European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)

Due diligence deal will help end corporate exploitation

The political agreement found today on the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence directive is a step in the right direction on the path to securing decent and safe working conditions around the world.

The measures will help in holding businesses accountable for standards in their supply chains, both inside and outside the EU, and for the impact of their operations on human rights and the environment. A full text is not yet available but the agreement is reported to include measures that:

  • Gives an important role to trade unions and workers representatives in due diligence strategies and plan of business.
  • Ensure many more EU and non-EU companies will be hold accountable for their operations, incl. SMEs as part of the supply chains.
  • Ensure business civil liability, remediations for victims, strong non regression and review clauses provide reassurances that human rights violation by businesses is a no go.

While the text is not yet available, the ETUC hope for a quick procedure to for adoption at the next Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) of the European parliament and vote during a plenary session in 2024.

ETUC Deputy General Secretary Isabelle Schömann said:

“Today, the major political agreement on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence reached by the European Institutions shows that the EU can make the difference for social justice and human rights.

“This is a significant piece of a puzzle to stop business models based on labour exploitation, including child and forced labour. The EU is paving the way for more sustainability, in putting people and the planet for profit.

“The recognition of the important role played by trade unions in achieving this is crucial as workers know best where the health and safety risks lie, where human rights are at risk in their companies and their respective value chains.

“It is however a shame that financial sector is exempted, as it has a large responsibility in financing sustainable business.

“Nonetheless, the CSDD directive is a clear signal to the world, that business accountability is the new norm, that workers and trade unions matter, that the environment matters. This is what Due Diligence is about. This is good news.”