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Germany: Govt. agrees on national mandatory due diligence law

"Germany to fine companies whose suppliers abuse rights", 12 February 2021

Germany is set to introduce fines for companies procuring parts or materials abroad from suppliers who fail to meet minimum human rights and environmental standards, after the governing coalition reached agreement on a draft law...

While the details of fines have not yet been settled, Heil said he could envisage penalties of up to 10% of turnover, meaning they could easily run into the millions in some cases...

The legislation will be introduced in stages; to apply to companies with more than 3,000 employees from 2023, and smaller companies, with more than 1,000 staff, the year after, according to a document seen by Reuters.

"This is the strongest law in Europe so far against worker exploitation," SPD Labour Minister Hubertus Heil told a news conference on Friday. "It's the end of companies weighing human rights against their economic interests."

...The law, similar law to one introduced by France in 2017, obliges companies to check their supply chains for themselves.

"The German constitution says the dignity of all human beings must be inviolate," Heil said, "not just the dignity of Germans. This is a good day for human rights."

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