As the COVID-19 crisis brought into stark relief, too many companies still place profit above people and planet – passing the buck at devastating cost to millions of workers, communities and defenders worldwide. Between the onset of COVID-19 (March 2020) and September 2020, we tracked 286 cases of attacks against defenders focused on business-related activities, a 7.5% increase on previous years. From March to May alone, garment workers were deprived of est. US$5.8 billion in wages – yet over half the fashion brands we surveyed last year reported pandemic profits. At the same time, KnowTheChain in its 2020 ICT Benchmark found Europe-based companies scored lower than their North American counterparts when it came to addressing forced labour risks in their supply chains.
However, there are signs this could change.
Last year, the EU Commission announced a legislative initiative to ensure EU companies act to prevent and reduce any negative impacts to workers and communities in their operations and supply chains through mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence (HREDD). It is now seeking input via a public online consultation on ‘sustainable corporate governance’, including mandatory HREDD, until 8 February.
Tangible improvements for rightsholders, especially in the global South, will be the key measure of success of such a law. For this to happen, the meaningful participation and early inclusion of stake- and rightsholders from countries around the world where EU companies work or source from is crucial.
Tool to facilitate participation in the consultation (choose one of the three websites below)
Global Witness, Anti-Slavery International (ASI) and Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) have developed a tool designed to make the consultation process easier. The tool includes draft responses to 11 of the 26 consultation questions, which can also be edited to reflect own views and experiences. Follow the links below to find out more, and submit a response to the EU Commission via one of the organisations' websites.
Submit your organisation's response to the EU Commission via Global Witness' website here
Submit your organisation's response to the EU Commission via Anti-Slavery International's website here
Clean Clothes Campaign
Submit your organisation's response to the EU Commission via Clean Clothes Campaign's website here
Event: Guidance for producing countries
ASI, CCC and Global Witness are also hosting webinars to provide an introduction, as well as guidance on the opportunity to input into the proposed law for organisations working in producing countries.
- Friends of the Earth Europe, ETUC, ECCJ & others: Website launched supporting citizens to participate in EU consultation on mandatory due diligence
- Meaningful Provisions on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Communities Essential for any EU Legal Corporate Duty
- EU Legislation on Corporate Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence: Perspectives from Latin America