Something for Europeans to celebrate – a new social contract begins to emerge?

5/5/20 - Phil Bloomer, BHRRC, and Sharan Burrow, ITUC

BHRRC's Phil Bloomer and ITUC's Sharan Burrow discuss the EU Commission's plans for mandatory due diligence in a piece for Open Democracy

This piece first appeared on Open Democracy on 4 May 2020

This blog is part of a series 'Towards Mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence'.

COVID-19 has exposed the shortcomings for many companies denying responsibility for their workers, using tax havens and left without operating reserves to respect wages and supply chain orders due to share buybacks.

This week European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders provided important leadership towards establishing a framework for responsible business conduct. He announced a new legislative initiative to ensure companies act to prevent and reduce any negative impacts to workers and communities in their operations and supply chains through ‘mandatory due diligence.

This statement came amid so much unnecessary suffering of working people from the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the type of political and economic leadership the world needs after the collapse of public trust in global markets provoked by the 2008 Global Economic Crisis, and now the untold scale of economic challenge for an effective recovery from the pandemic. Commissioner Reynders stressed there should be no delay or postponement - the current pandemic has made human rights due diligence more urgent than ever, and is an essential part of an effective and just recovery. ... 

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