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15 Jul 2020

Sabine Kinkartz, Deutsche Welle

German ministers push for supply chain law against exploitation

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According to a survey of over 5,500 large German companies with over 500 employees, voluntary commitments have brought little improvement. A first report published in December 2019 shows that merely 18% of companies surveyed implemented a system to monitor how their foreign-made goods are produced. A later survey showed that 22% of companies had implemented such a monitoring system...

"We need a legal framework, as stipulated in the coalition agreement, to meet human rights standards that rule out child labor along the supply chain, and ensure basic environmental and social standards are met," Müller stresses.

In 2018, Germany's governing coalition — comprising the Christian Democrats (CDU), Christian Social Union (CSU) and Social Democrats (SPD) — agreed that a law to this end would be passed unless companies' voluntary commitments proved effective. Since this is not the case, Labor Minister Hubertus Heil announced he will table a bill to tackle this problem in August this year. The plan is to adopt the law by early 2021...

Over 60 companies have expressed support for the proposed law...

Armin Paasch of the Catholic aid agency Misereor [...] is convinced that "we need a German supply chain law because this will increase the odds that in two or three years' time a similar EU regulation will be put in place that applies to other member states as well."