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14 Dec 2023

Amnesty International

EU: Agreement on new EU legislation governing big business is an important step but fails to fully advance human rights

Reacting to the EU reaching an agreement today on new business human rights legislation called the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD), Amnesty International’s Policy Advisor on Business and Human Rights, Hannah Storey said:

“By reaching an agreement on this legislation, which requires large companies to identify and address adverse impacts of their business on human rights and the environment, the EU has sent a strong signal that big business in Europe should no longer ignore negative human rights impacts, wherever they might occur.

“It means people suffering in Nigeria from disastrous oil pollution, or those forced to labour on palm oil plantations in Indonesia, or communities forcibly evicted to make way for cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, may finally have a route to hold large European companies to account for their human rights harms.

“This new law sets important human rights requirements for companies – which Amnesty International has long campaigned for – but the EU has failed to go far enough. We know that EU member states have introduced a loophole which means that companies are not required to address all of their human rights harms.

“Companies producing potentially dangerous products, including weapons and spyware, will not be required to assess how end users may use their products to harm human rights. Exemptions for the financial sector mean investors could continue to fund projects which harm people and planet, and the CSDDD only applies to very large companies, meaning many others will be able to continue harming human rights unchecked.”