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30 May 2022

Irish Coalition for Business and Human Rights (ICBHR)

EU: Irish Coalition for Business and Human Rights outlines key recommendations to strengthen draft due diligence directive

May 2022

The Irish Coalition for Business and Human Rights (ICBHR) welcomes the publication of this draft Directive, which will ultimately need to be transposed into Irish law, as a significant milestone in shifting away from the current reliance on predominantly voluntary standards towards firmer legal requirements for mandatory human rights and environmental ‘due diligence’ rules for businesses. However, at present there are significant weaknesses and serious flaws in the draft text that risk it being an ineffective tick-box exercise.

This paper outlines key recommendations for the Irish Government, MEPs, TDs, and Senators to strengthen the draft Directive. We are keen to ensure that this CSDD Directive is as effective as possible, and truly transforms the situation on the ground for the impacted communities and human rights defenders, particularly women and indigenous peoples, who are most affected by corporate abuses of power...

We are urging the Irish Government, MEPs, TDs, and Senators to ensure Ireland uses its influence, particularly in the Council of the EU and the European Parliament, to strengthen the draft Directive.

Furthermore, the areas where the draft Directive is strong and robust should be protected and defended from any weakening or watering down during negotiations. In particular, civil liability should be protected. The possibility to hold companies liable for failing to prevent and for causing harm has been a key ask of civil society for many years, and could make a significant difference to the communities, workers and human rights defenders that we work with around the world. Furthermore, responsibility along the full depth of the value chain, recognition of climate impacts, and the inclusion of duties for directors should also be retained.

Yet there are still significant weaknesses in the text, which may undermine these positive aspects and render the Directive ineffective unless they are addressed...