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Towards an EU mandatory due diligence & corporate accountability law


On 29 April 2020, the European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, announced that the Commission commits to introducing rules for mandatory corporate environmental and human rights due diligence, as part of a Sustainable Corporate Governance initiative. The announcement was made during a high-level online event hosted by the EU Parliament’s Responsible Business Conduct Working Group, during which the Commissioner presented the findings of the Commission study on options for regulating due diligence requirements. You can watch the webinar here.

MEPs, NGOs and other stakeholders welcomed the annoucement. In December 2019, over 100 organisations had launched a campaign calling for EU human rights and environmental due diligence legislation. See the joint NGO statement on principal elements of an EU due diligence legislation here.

In December 2020, towards the end of the German EU Council presidency, the Council called for a proposal from the Commission for an EU legal framework on sustainable corporate governance, including cross-sector corporate due diligence obligations along global supply chains. See here for a due diligence webinar series supported by the current Portuguese EU presidency.

In response to the EU Commission's announcement, Members of the European Parliament started working on developing a European Parliament (EP) position on the shape such a law could take. On 27 January 2021, the EP Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) adopted a report including recommendations to the Commission on mandatory corporate due diligence and accountability. The final report was adopted on 10th March with 504 votes in favour, 79 against and 112 abstentions. CSOs welcomed it as a strong signal from the European Parliament but said the Commission will have to go further in its upcoming legislative proposal.

On 8 February 2021, the Commission concluded a public online consultation on its Sustainable Corporate Governance initiative.

The publication of the Commission's legislative proposal was scheduled for October 27 and then moved to December 8, before being delayed further again.

In December 2021, business and human rights experts and leaders addressed a joint statement to President von der Leyen and the EU Commission expressing concerns at the numerous delays. In February 2022, over 100 companies, investors, business associations and initiatives released another statement urging the EU to swiftly adopt a legislative proposal on effective mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence (mHREDD), within the Sustainable Corporate Governance initiative.

On 23 February 2022, the Commission published the proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence (CSDD) draft directive.

The file is now with the European Parliament and the Council for their consideration, and adoption of positions. The draft report of the EP's lead committee (JURI) was published on 7 November 2022. Draft and final opinions from several other EP Committees as well as amendment proposals are available here. The Council adopted its general approach on 1 December 2022.

On 11 April, more than 20 leading businesses and networks released a joint statement urging MEPs to adopt a text that is more closely aligned with the international standards of the UN Guiding Principles and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

On 25 April, the European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) adopted its position on the CSDDD. The full plenary vote is expected on 1 June.

Further materials and information are available in the timeline below, in our press release and initial reaction to the proposal, our blog series Towards Mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence, and on our mandatory due diligence portal.

European Parliament reports/opinions

Find (draft) opinions and (draft) reports released by European Parliament Committees on the proposed directive here