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5 May 2022

Directorate-General for International Partnerships,
International Trade Centre

EU: Commission publishes guidance on effective & inclusive accompanying support to EU due diligence legislation

"Making mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence work for all", 27 April 2022

The EU legislative proposal on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence calls for the development of accompanying measures to support its successful implementation and avoid unintended consequences for suppliers and producer groups in exporting countries. With this paper, DG INTPA and the ITC seek to guide the formulation of effective accompanying support to the implementation of the legislation that maximizes the opportunities of mandatory due diligence for suppliers in developing countries, while avoiding any negative effects on their sustainable development and trade with the EU.

This guidance document is mainly targeted at EU programme managers at EU Delegations and geo-units, as well as at main implementing partners of EU-funded programmes. It aims at furthering their understanding of the due diligence process and the responsibilities and support needs that arise from it for all actors along global supply chains. As a capacity building tool, we hope the guidance offered in this document will be useful for colleagues to design and implement support actions that are effective in harnessing forthcoming EU legislation on horizontal and product specific due diligence for achieving positive change on the ground. [...]

Human rights and environmental due diligence provisions will be most effective if they are adopted and adhered to by actors throughout the system. Many of those actors will need support and accompaniment to enable their meaningful participation in the system, however. The following conclusions shall guide the choice of intervention areas, instruments and targeted actors in the programming of accompanying support measures to proposed due diligence legislation. [...]

The achievement of ethical and sustainable supply chains will require collaboration and coordination between interdependent supply chain actors. Accompanying measures must support the development of coalitions, alliances and partnerships capable of operationalizing that mutual responsibility. Trust is a vital and necessary component and will need to be fostered through accompanying measures that support cooperation, partnership and new forms of governance that rebalance the asymmetries in many supply chains.[...]

The points above provide a list of action items for all supply chain actors to follow in operationalising human rights and environmental due diligence, but these should not be seen as isolated actions. Rather, they form part of a systemic approach to developing more ethical and sustainable supply chains anchored in responsible business conduct supported by accompanying measures from the EU and its Member States, combined with technical assistance from UN specialised agencies and other development partners.