EU Justice Commissioner reaffirms commitment & emphasises importance of liability in upcoming EU mandatory due diligence proposal (video)
"Towards Effective EU Mandatory Human Rights & Environmental Due Diligence", 8 June 2020
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"Towards Effective EU Mandatory Human Rights & Environmental Due Diligence", 8 June 2020
Four EU member states are among the world’s top ten arms exporters: France (3rd), Germany (5th), Italy (6th) and Spain (9th).
"A proposed EU law to prevent environmental and human rights abuses by multinationals has been cautiously welcomed by global Indigenous leaders seeking to highlight the damage done by extractive industries. However they say the text needs to go further if it is to protect Indigenous populations from mining companies."
The EU corporate sustainability due diligence directive represents a key opportunity to advance women’s rights and gender equality in companies’ international value chains. However, the draft text fails to integrate a gender lens and risks leaving women behind.
Even though the Chilean Andina mine is exacerbating the water shortage in the region, numerous European manufacturers of mining machines and mining equipment had business relationships with the mine. The case study shows why the legal regulation of due diligence obligations in downstream value chains is necessary within the framework of the currently discussed Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive.
Due diligence in the downstream value chain: case studies of current company practice
This report by the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights (GBI) provides key questions for companies to ask when establishing downstream human rights due diligence, and offers an overview of the expectations contained in international standards. Companies are already conducting due diligence in downstream contexts. Yet, in current policy debates at the EU and OECD, the scope of human rights due diligence is being contested
The European Parliament’s environment committee has voted to include an obligation for large companies and SMEs in certain risky sectors to risk-assess their global value chains for abuses like oil spills and pollution, but the improvements are not yet sufficient to prevent and end the vast impacts of companies on climate change, said the European Coalition for Corporate Justice.
Members of the European Parliament’s environment committee voted on Thursday (9 February) to strengthen requirements on climate protection in the proposed EU rules on corporate accountability.
A key vote is taking place in the European Parliament's Environment Committee this Thursday, when MEPs will decide whether or not to include climate in their corporate due diligence directive.
As the world faces a growing array of environmental and social challenges, it is more important than ever for businesses to take a proactive and responsible approach to sustainability, writes WWF.
European technology companies and investors that fail to do risk-based downstream due diligence risk contributing to severe human rights violations committed by repressive regimes, such as in Iran
The opinions of the committees will feed into the final Parliament’s report on the file.
Report by Global Policy Forum Europe & MISEREOR
In 2016, the Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres was killed trying to protect her ancestral lands against the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project, bankrolled by European financial institutions. The CSDDD could stop companies profiting from projects linked to the repression and murder of environmental defenders - but not if it lets investors off the hook, says Global Witness
Open letter to MEP Axel Voss
Briefing by Germanwatch and the sustainable finance think tank Climate & Company
The study commissioned by The Left in the European Parliament sets out the various ways that subcontracting undermines labour laws in the EU and enables exploitation of workers. It among other things calls for a new European Regulation on decent work in the subcontracting chain and amending the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive.
In an interview with EURACTIV Lara Wolters highlighted that due diligence is also about downstream activities. According to her, this aspect has become even more relevant after the recent accusations that allege Qatar bribed European lawmakers. The rapporteur asserts that good governance, bribery and corruption should be part of due diligence discussions.
The table published by Neïla Mangin compares the Commission's proposal with the Council's proposal.
ShareAction, Accountancy Europe, Eurosif, Frank Bold, Finance Watch and WWF, as members of the Informal Group on Sustainable Finance, have released a joint statement on the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD).
European countries further weakened the EU proposal to clean up business and stop corporate abuse.
After the adoption of a position by the Council, Amnesty International criticises that the exclusion of banks and financial institutions and waivers for companies that sell high-risk security equipment and surveillance technologies undermine the directive.
The Council today (1 December) adopted its general approach.
The general approach reached today completes the negotiating position agreed by the Council and provides the Council presidency with a mandate to start negotiations with the European Parliament.
The authors outline three key elements to making this corporate sustainability due diligence law work, which they say EU governments got wrong.
Ahead of Thursday’s (1 December) meeting of EU industry ministers, the fight over whether to include the financial sector in the scope of the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) is still ongoing with France, Italy, and Spain threatening to block a common member state position.
ISEAL recommendations in advance of the Ministerial meeting on 1 December
If the proposals were adopted, they would severely limit access to justice for victims of corporate abuses, seriously undermining the effectiveness of the directive, the letter says.
The statement outlines four key areas which need particular attention if the Directive is to effectively aid in transforming the tech sector: scope of companies subject to the law; scope of rights; value chains and business relationships; and stakeholder engagement & access to justice and remedy
The letter calls for a General Approach that covers the full value chain including downstream impacts and the full coverage of the financial sector; expands the scope of rights and impacts covered; and strengthens access to justice provisions and addresses barriers to justice often faced by claimants in business-related human rights and environmental cases.
The European Commission’s proposal for a directive on corporate sustainability due diligence includes a dangerous overreliance on industry schemes, multi-stakeholder initiatives, and third-party auditing, a briefing paper by SOMO concludes.
On 24 November, Eurosif, the Investor Alliance for Human Rights and the PRI, supported by 142 signatories, released a statement of support for an ambitious and effective EU directive on corporate sustainability due diligence (CSDDD)
As EU member states close in on a common negotiating position on the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD), they are fighting over whether companies should do due diligence for their entire value chain or just the supply chain.
Luxembourg, Ireland and Germany have indicated they want to exclude asset managers and institutional investors from scope, with France and Italy going further and calling for the entire financial sector to be left out, an EU diplomat familiar with the negotiations said.
Draft report by Lara Wolters, member of the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI)
The EU’s long anticipated Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence is set to fail to hold ICT companies to account for human rights abuses and environmental damage if key shortcomings including on scope and stakeholder consultation are not addressed.
EU-based financiers and their subsidiaries have played central roles in financing projects that have caused human rights violations and environmental damage, and have been linked to land grabbing, deforestation, and violence against communities and land and environmental defenders.
Interview with Germany's Labour and Social Affairs Minister Hubertus Heil
On 26 September, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development held a virtual conference to discuss how the Directive can have a positive impact on developing countries.
Host Richard Howitt speaks frankly and personally about what moves policy makers, businesses, and activists to make responsible business the norm and redefine business.
A coalition of cocoa and chocolate manufactures and other organisations welcomes the EU Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence and calls for improvements in new position paper.
UN Human Rights is concerned about the proposition being advanced by some stakeholders that the requirements of CS3D should not apply to downstream impacts on human rights that a company may be involved in. Such an exclusion would not align with the UNGPs and could undermine the international consensus about the scope of the Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights.
The campaign, launched on 6 September in Brussels, calls for "no more exploitation, no more environmental destruction, no more unjust business practices by European companies".
Federal Labour Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) made the announcement
Briefing paper by Forest Peoples Programme
Statement with over 50 signatories
On this page, you will find selected responses in support of effective legislation aligned with international standards from companies and business associations/initiatives who submitted feedback along with other respondents.
Publication by the Danish Institute for Human Rights: "How do the pieces fit in the puzzle? Making sense of EU regulatory initiatives related to business and human rights"
Following the European Commission’s proposal on due diligence rules presented in February, the debate is set to pick up speed in September.
This piece argues that for legislation to succeed in advancing the rights of the most affected and to lead to better human rights outcomes for rights-holders, it is crucial to anchor such laws and regulations with not only the perspective of rights-holders but their ongoing involvement.
By the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and 22 of its Member organisations
By Friends of the Earth Europe, Corporate Europe Observatory & Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND)
The in-depth analysis requested by the European Parliament's Subcommittee on Human Rights compares the Draft Directive proposed by the European Commission with the positions adopted by the European Parliament and by the Foreign Affairs Committee. It recommends various changes to the Draft Directive, for example in regards to the scope of human rights and environmental standards and the corporate due diligence duty and process.
The letter was signed by more than 270 producer organisations and supported by 48 companies.
Commentary by Martijn Scheltema and Robert McCorquodale
The CSDD Directive must transform the situation on the ground for the impacted communities and human rights defenders, particularly women and indigenous peoples, says the ICBHR.
An alliance of over 60 companies and initiatives are calling on the European Parliament, Commission and EU member states to ensure that living wages and incomes are included in the final corporate sustainability due diligence directive (EU CSDDD) and that their definitions should not be compromised.
OHCHR highlights five areas where they believe further attention and discussion are needed in order to improve alignment with the UNGPs, and to create an EU regulatory framework that is capable of meeting the EU’s stated goals, including: company scope; subject-matter scope; taking action; compliance, enforcement and remedy; and stakeholder engagement.
UNICEF comments on the European Commission proposal
While the draft directive has promising elements, we highlight considerable gaps that must be closed to ensure the law can fulfil its historic potential and bring tangible benefits for workers and communities along global value chains (also includes an overview of relevant resources).
The GIHR provided comments with regards to: scope of value chain, due diligence in "established business relationships", scope of companies covered, civil liability & administrative enforcement
Position paper by CIDSE
Joint statement by Save the Children and the International Commission of Jurists
The EU's directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence could represent a landmark step forward, but the proposal contains significant flaws which risk preventing its urgently-needed positive impact for people, planet and climate. We join 220+ organisations calling for an effective law.
After a thorough internal analysis of the Directive’s content, as well as external consultations, ASI is now releasing a comprehensive analysis of the proposal for a directive on due diligence, with specific recommendations for the European Parliament and the European Council to strengthen it.
The document seeks to guide the formulation of effective accompanying support to the implementation of the legislation that maximizes the opportunities of mandatory due diligence.
By the Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre
The briefing addresses shortcomings in the parts of the proposal that relate to corporate governance, directors’ obligations and the responsibilities of the financial sector and makes recommendations for appropriate changes.
The coalition successfully campaigned for a supply chain law in Germany. However, due to resistance from the business lobby, this law still has gaps and weaknesses, which is why an even stronger EU supply chain law is needed.
Legal brief by the European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ)
Briefing by Global Witness
To close women’s month, 82 civil society organizations from across Europe sent an open letter to European Commissioners, Members of Parliament and Permanent Representations involved in the co-legislation of human rights and environmental due diligence legislation, urging them to make sure the gender-responsiveness gap is addressed.
Commentary by Germanwatch on whether the law can contribute to ending deforestation in transnational supply chains.
All feedback received will be summarised by the European Commission and presented to the European Parliament and Council with the aim of feeding into the legislative debate.
Analysis & recommendations by the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (France)
DIHR examines foundational aspects such as personal and material scope, business relationships and the scope of due diligence across the value chain, use of contractual assurances as well as enforcement and liability. It then goes on to consider each element of the due diligence obligation.
The authors analyse some of the weaknesses of the EU due diligence proposal by highlighting where the draft law falls short in providing better outcomes for people and planet
This two-part blog explores in detail the EU's draft Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence, arguing it provides a strong legal basis to enhance corporate accountability and to create a standard for responsible and sustainable business conduct.
Robert McCorquodale and Stuart Neely consider how the existing duties of directors might be affected if human rights due diligence becomes a mandatory obligation for companies.
Letter sent to President von der Leyen and Commissioners Breton and Reynders by the International Labour Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Anti-Slavery International raises concerns around loopholes in accountability for long supply chains, coverage, and meaningful stakeholder engagement and inclusion of civil society and trade unions.
Commentary by Mexican NGO ProDESC
With the right framing, a Directive could advance better outcomes for people and planet. However, for these significant opportunities to be realized, and for the Directive to meet its stated ambition, it is critical that the Directive is firmly grounded in the key international standards on sustainability due diligence adopted by the UN and the OECD.
Remarks delivered by Anita Ramasastry at panel discussion hosted by the European Parliament Responsible Business Conduct Working Group
Hosted by the EU Parliament Working Group on Responsible Business Conduct
Commentary by the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)
The European Commission’s new corporate due diligence proposal needs significant improvements to prevent and address human rights abuses and environmental harm
Short analysis of the main components of the EU Commission's Draft Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence
Mary Lawlor regrets the omission of provisions specifically addressing human rights defenders as "a clear and critical oversight"
ActionAid International raises concerns about the European Commission's proposal for a Sustainable Corporate Due Diligence Directive, specifically on the lack of inclusion of any reference to women and other marginalised groups
Important provisions in the proposal have been watered down according to ShareAction
The newly published Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive falls short on involving workers and trade unions in shaping and monitoring sustainable business due diligence strategies, says the European Trade Union Confederation
The EU's proposal falls short on a number of fronts in its promise to promote sustainable business and investor practices and ensure accountability for harms, says the Investor Alliance for Human Rights
The proposed EU law to stop corporate abuse fails to guarantee justice or make companies liable for their climate impacts, says Friends of the Earth Europe
Analysis of some of the key aspects of the draft law
On 23 February 2022 the European Commission published a long awaited legislative proposal laying down rules for companies to respect human rights and environment in global value chains
Frank Bold argues that the EU's legislative proposal on corporate accountability presents just some elements that foster integration of sustainability and long-term thinking in corporate governance rules, creating the risk of a tick-the-box exercise
The European Coalition for Corporate Justice identifies areas for improvement in the EU Commission's newly released proposal for a Directive on corporate sustainability due diligence
A leaked copy of the soon to be proposed EU Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence includes a reduced scope of the law to cover only big business, and a civil liability regime
Business has a duty to respect human rights, even when and where states waver in their responsibilities to safeguard workers, communities and our natural environment, writes Andre Hoffmann from Roche.
The Escazú Agreement and its principles must be integrated into the list of relevant international conventions that companies must comply with as part of the due diligence measures prescribed in the regulation, the organisations write.
Europe needs a Copernican Revolution in corporate behaviour to tackle the climate crisis and social disparities. To do that, the EU should start with clarifying the fundamentals of corporate law, the authors argue.
Not enough companies are acting to introduce effective human-rights due diligence. The EU must seize the opportunity to swiftly introduce regulations that drive better outcomes for people and planet
Open Letter by WWF European Policy Office, Finance Watch, ShareAction, Frank Bold, Economy for the Common Good & Oxfam: An encompassing approach to effective Sustainable Corporate Governance
This compendium contains the contributions of experts that participated in a series of webinars exploring the topic of due diligence and its connections to civil liability, private international law, and sustainable finance, among other topics
The opinion piece was initiated by French MEP Pascal Canfin and co-signed by a group of CEOs and business leaders.
Joint briefing paper by Clean Clothes Campaign, ECCHR, Public Eye and SOMO.
It's high time for the European Commission to finally make good on its promise and publish the long-awaited legislative proposal regulating companies and their supply chains
The request, made on the 15th December 2021, asked for all correspondence and (e)meetings with stakeholders and members of the RSB, related to the proposal, as well as the RSB opinion and the Commission Impact Assessment.
The European Coalition for Corporate Justice has identified a set of provisions that would make an EU mandatory human rights due diligence law effective and comprehensive
A network of NGOs from the DRC calls on EU Commissioners to consider risks to human rights defenders and how to address them in the upcoming EU Sustainable Corporate Governance initiative
President Von der Leyen stresses the importance of access to justice in her reply to MEPs
NGOs raise concerns that the delay may be symptomatic of a risk that the Commission is parting from its initial ambition to tackle sustainability gaps in corporate governance.
14 industry associations and responsible business initiatives express their support for the EU’s objective to ensure respect for human rights and the environment through an EU-harmonised regulatory approach to due diligence.
MEPs Lara Wolters, Heidi Hautala, Manon Aubry and Pascal Durand have sent an access to document request to the Commission, requesting access to the 2 opinions of the Commission’s internal quality control body, the Regulatory Scrutiny Board and communication between interest groups and the RSB on the Commission’s Sustainable Corporate Governance initiative.
Signatories express their concerns about the delay and urge President von der Leyen and the Commission to ensure it is used for positive impact and action on the proposal is expedited.
France will hold the Presidency of the Council of the EU from 1 January to 30 June 2022
The European Commission should keep its promises and uphold corporate human rights obligations according to an open letter sent to President Ursula von der Leyen on 8 December signed by 47 civil society and trade union organisations.
Socialist and Democrat Members of the European Parliament call on the European Commission to come forward with draft legislation without further delay.
The letter also raises concerns about the complete lack of transparency on the reasons for this new delay.
Minister De Bruijn’s decision follows last week’s news that the European Commission has delayed the announcement of a draft due diligence law.
In a debate in Parliament Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation announced that due to the "very disappointing" and "indefinite" delays at the European Commission, the Dutch government will immediately start work on ambitious national binding due diligence legislation.
The press kit outlines the main key points that should be included in the upcoming EU law, as well as a thorough analysis of its significance through case studies and testimonies.
On International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, over 60 civil society organisations sent an open letter to European Commissioners, Members of Parliament, and Council of the European Union Representatives, urging them to make the forthcoming corporate human rights and environmental due diligence law gender-responsive.
While the discussions on sustainable corporate governance and supply chain due diligence continue at EU level and a proposal for a directive has been postponed several times, Germany is sending a strong signal.
The two projects must be considered together, say Julia Otten and Johannes Heeg from Germanwatch and the Initiative Lieferkettengesetz.
The struggle of the Lenca people, of Bertha and her daughter, is only one example of the daily struggle of indigenous and peasant communities to protect land, water sources, forests and our human family from the negative impacts of corporate activities. The upcoming Sustainable Corporate Governance proposal could be a game-changer for communities faced with corporate abuse worldwide.
Building blocks for due diligence legislation
Campaign calls on Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders and Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton to introduce an ambitious legislative proposal on mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence.
Worker organizations and trade unions from South and South-East Asia garment production countries write to EU policymakers
In a letter to President von der Leyen, and Commissioners Reynders and Breton, MEPs stressed the importance of addressing barriers to justice for victims of corporate abuse in the upcoming due diligence law proposal
To effectively stop human rights violations and negative environmental impacts in global supply chains, EU policymakers should ensure the upcoming legislation leads to positive impacts for rightsholders and improves the situation and the livelihoods of smallholders.
How to make corporations effectively respect the environment and climate
The results come ahead of the European Commission’s expected announcement of a new human rights and environmental due diligence law.
In her letter to the presidents of EPP, S&D, Renew, GreensEFA and the Left political groups, President Von der Leyen stresses the importance of ensuring consistency in developing a sustainable framework for economic operators, and that the initiative will be adopted in 2021
"By passing world-leading legislation now to ensure transparency, liability for environmental and human rights abuses and remedy for the individuals affected, the EU can point the way to a safer, more sustainable planet, and establish frontrunner status in sustainability and justice" - MEP Toine Manders, European People's Party, and Steve Trent, Environmental Justice Foundation
A letter from nine civil society organisations to the European Commission calling for legislative action to address unfair purchasing practices
Saeeda Khatoon has been fighting for a long time to hold those who are responsible for a fatal fire at the Ali Enterprise garment factory in Karachi, Pakistan to account.
The note provides recommendations in light of the European Parliament's resolution of 10 March 2021 on corporate due diligence and corporate accountability, focusing in particular on issues connected with the translation of human rights due diligence into a binding legal standard, and on corporate accountability and remedy.
This report explores how the proposed EU mandatory due diligence law could affect the human rights of workers in global supply chains, with a focus on forced labour and exploitation
The undersigned Members of the European Parliament sent a letter to President von der Leyen and 13 commissioners reiterating some of the key demands of the European Parliament’s legislative own-initiative resolution regarding the upcoming proposal on Sustainable Corporate Governance.
The briefing follows a public letter sent by NGOs to DG Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders and Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans in support of the EU Commission plans on Sustainable Corporate Governance.
In her open letter to the EU Commissioners Breton and Reynders, Esther Kiobel reflects on her fight and the obstacles to seek justice in courts.
The fate of the proposals on (i) minimising the risk of deforestation and forest degradation associated with products placed on the EU market and (ii) sustainable corporate governance is now unclear, raising concerns among civil society.
This paper takes into consideration the EU draft Directive on Corporate Due Diligence and Corporate Accountability and examines ways to better design and integrate environmental due diligence
Ferrero, Mars Wrigley, Mondelez International, Nestlé, Tony’s Chocolonely & Unilever shared a joint letter to Commissioners Reynders, Breton and Sinkevičius, calling for the adoption of a legislative proposal without further delay.
Letter to Executive Vice President for the European Green Deal & EU Commissioner for Justice: NGO support for the EU Commission plans on Sustainable Corporate Governance and response to criticism
The results of the public consultation will contribute to an impact assessment accompanying the proposal
Policy briefing: Holding Companies to Account – how a new EU law can help create a more sustainable future
Eight years on from the Rana Plaza building collapse, many European fashion companies are still linked to human rights abuses on a daily basis. For an EU due diligence law to make a difference, it can’t just be a list of boxes companies must tick.
The organisations call on the EU to ensure that its upcoming legislative measures are effective and fully uphold their rights as set out in international law, and in line with the EU’s own commitments.
This brief prepared by the NOVA Centre for Business, Human Rights and the Environment outlines current national and European legislative developments regarding HREDD
EU Financial Stability Commissioner Mairead McGuiness and Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders explain the importance of aligning the due diligence law proposal with reforms to the non-financial reporting directive (NRFD) if companies are to effectively be held to account
Open letter "Call to Action on Sustainable Corporate Governance"
Over half a million people around the globe have demanded a strong EU law to hold corporations accountable for their impact on human rights, including trade union and workers’ rights, and the environment. These demands were made as part of the public consultation launched by the EU Commission.
John Ruggie voices three reservations: (1) directors are not the main driver of short-termism; (2) opposition to addressing directors’ duties may jeopardize the initiative; and (3) doing so may be largely unnecessary, as properly designed mandatory due diligence will itself change directors’ duties, he writes.
Richard Gardiner from Global Witness explains how a due diligence law would present a chance for the EU to reshape the often problematic relationship between corporations, people and the planet.
The European Commission hold a virtual exchange with three business & human rights advocates from the Global South as part of a public consultation for the proposed corporate human rights and environmental due diligence law
The European Commission is considering a new law to hold businesses accountable for their impact on people and the planet. To support people in participating in the EU's consultation on mandatory due diligence, Friends of the Earth, the European Trade Union Confederation, Arbeiterkammer Europa (AK Europa), Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund (OGB) and the European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ) have launched a new website.
There is growing pressure for corporations to do the right thing, but are EU lawmakers willing to act, asks ECCJ's Claudia Saller in this opinion piece for EU observer.
The initiative aims to improve the EU regulatory framework on company law and corporate governance. To this end, the Commission is seeking the views of a broad range of stakeholders.
The Working Group on Business and Human Rights set outs ten key recommendations for the EU as it develops the proposed Directive.
As the European Parliament begins developing proposals for a new – and momentous – law to hold business to account for its impact on people and planet, Richard Gardiner from Global Witness sets out how this process came about and what needs to happen now to ensure this really delivers results.