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10 Nov 2021

43 investors and companies issue statement in support of meaningful and safe stakeholder engagement as a crucial aspect of EU mandatory due diligence

In November 2021, 43 investors and companies issued a joint statement in support of meaningful and safe stakeholder engagement as a crucial aspect of the upcoming EU framework on mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence (mHREDD). Signatories include ACTIAM, Aviva Investors, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Patagonia, Storebrand Asset Management, Tchibo, Tony's Chocolonely and Unilever.

The statement says:

"We believe meaningful engagement with rightsholders and civil society, including human rights defenders (HRDs), that is gender-sensitive and intersectional, is critical to a due diligence process that effectively identifies human rights impacts and responds to their concerns. For Indigenous Peoples, meaningful engagement will also mean full respect of the principle and process of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). For these reasons, we believe it should be prioritized in the upcoming legislation."

Research by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre in 2020 found that at least one in three attacks recorded against HRDs were linked to a lack of meaningful participation, access to information and consultation, or the failure to secure FPIC of indigenous communities. EU mHREDD has the potential to address this.

A proposal for an EU-wide law is expected from the European Commission by the close of 2021. To support the inclusion of safe and effective stakeholder engagement, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Front Line Defenders, Indigenous Peoples Rights International & ProDESC, with the support of the ALLIED coalition, held regional online workshops with over 60 participants from CSOs and communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America and developed recommendations to the European Commission, EU Parliament and Council of the EU. The idea has also been publicly endorsed by the vice president of the European Parliament, Heidi Hautala, the UN Working Group on Business & Human Rights and the UN Special Rapporteur on HRDs. This business statement sends an important signal and lends weight to the EU to move forward and take decisive action on this issue now.

It adds to more than 70 statements made by companies and investors worldwide in support of mandatory due diligence regulation.

Resources

Download the statement (PDF)

43 investors & companies call for meaningful engagement with rightsholders and civil society to be prioritised in upcoming EU legislation on mHREDD.

Hearing the human: Ensuring due diligence legislation effectively amplifies the voices of those affected by irresponsible business

We discussed safe and effective engagement with over 60 HRDs and developed recommendations to the EU Commission, EU Parliament and Council of the EU.

Mandatory Due Diligence

Learn more about the global push for mHREDD, including the latest news, national and regional developments as well as public company and investor statements in support of mHREDD, in our Big Issue portal.

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