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20 Dec 2021

Ursula von der Leyen

EU: Commission's President replies to MEPs on including access to justice in the upcoming Sustainable Corporate Governance initiative


Brussels, 20.12.2021

Dear Honourable Member,

I would like to thank you and the co-signatories for your letter in which you highlight, on behalf of the Parliament’s Responsible Business Conduct Working Group, the importance of appropriately addressing barriers to justice for victims of corporate abuse in global value chains within the upcoming Sustainable Corporate Governance initiative.

First of all, I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for the work of this Group. We all share the view that companies can and should make an important contribution towards sustainable development goals with respect to the environment, climate change and the protection of human rights, and that this is a major part of building long-term resilience. This Commission has taken an active and strong stance to foster the transition towards a sustainable economy and society. In this vein, the Commission announced a future legislative initiative on sustainable corporate governance, to foster long-term sustainable and responsible corporate behaviour. I want to reassure you that the upcoming initiative is being prepared with this goal in mind.

As you know, the resolutions and proposals of the Parliament, supporting legislation in this field, have further encouraged and inspired our work. lam grateful for your message highlighting some specific elements, in particular relating to enforcement of the forthcoming rules. The Parliament’s input, as well as the large number of replies in the public consultation and the numerous contributions from NGOs, business associations and interested parties, and a broad range of evidence, are being carefully examined during the preparation of the initiative, which will be subject to rigorous impact assessment.

All available policy options, including in terms of enforcement, are currently being assessed, with the elements of proportionality and subsidiarity in mind and guided by the requirements of Better Law-Making.

It is our task now to present to the co-legislators, as soon as possible, a proposal to achieve an EU harmonised approach that is balanced and helps businesses on the path to our headline ambitions of ‘an economy that works for the people...