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Commentary: A watershed moment on corporate accountability?

1 Sep 2020

In response to [European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders] announcement, MEPs are now starting work to develop a European Parliament position on what an EU law on corporate due diligence could look like...

The goal of this work is to influence the final Commission legislative proposal and ensure that the Commissioner follows through on his commitment to present an ambitious framework for this law...

Global Witness' [...] report Defending Tomorrow shows that while land and environmental defenders continue to act as the first line of defence against climate breakdown, far too many businesses, financiers and governments either fail to protect them or – in the worst examples – can be complicit in the violence they face.

There is clearly a legislative gap when governments and citizens have no legal means to hold corporations accountable for their human rights and environmental abuses. As the world’s largest trading bloc, the EU is now looking to lead the global debate on corporate accountability and this new law will shape not only corporate behaviour within the EU but also globally...

Global Witness is part of a coalition of NGOs that has published its call to action for the key elements needed to hold businesses to account: You can read the full paper here.

The months between now and the end of the year promise to be extremely interesting on the topic of corporate accountability across all the EU institutions:

  1. Firstly, the European Parliament will aim to finalise its advice to the Commission by end 2020 in order to ensure that it can be taken into account in the Commission proposal.
  2. Secondly, the Commission has draft plans to release a public consultation on the new due diligence legislation in Autumn 2020 to get public input on how to draft their proposal.
  3. And finally, the German Presidency of the European Council have indicated that due diligence is a key political priority for their Presidency and they will aim to have Council conclusions on this topic by the end of the year...

Part of the following stories

EU Commissioner for Justice commits to legislation on mandatory due diligence for companies

European Parliament adopts key report with recommendations to EU Commission on mandatory due diligence & corporate accountability