2 June, 2023On 1 June, the European Parliament adopted its position on a future EU Directive on human rights and environmental due diligence. After a shy European Commission’s proposal and a worryingly weak EU Council’s mandate, expectations were high on MEPs to make history towards genuine corporate accountability. The progressive approach ultimately won, but serious loopholes remain to be fixed.
The vote of the Parliament’s report on the proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive is an important step in putting people and planet before the profits, and making all businesses accountable.
The time when companies could make profit out of the exploitation of the environment and on the back of their and their suppliers’ workers’ fundamental rights all over the world is soon to be over.
However the process is not over yet and opposing forces remain active. Lobbying against the EU directive has been extremely high and achieved some wins in the final European Parliament’s vote with: no more reference on a corporate director’s duty to act in the interest of the people and the planet too; no more leeway for Member States to go beyond the EU minimum rules; no reverse of the burden of proof for victims; no full inclusion of the financial sector.
Now that the European Parliament has adopted its position, trilogue negotiations can start with the Council and the European Commission for a final adoption of the EU Directive expected by the end of 2023.
IndustriAll Europe, IndustriALL Global Union and affiliated trade unions in more than 100 countries are urging the EU negotiators to close the remaining loopholes and adopt the first-ever transnational binding due diligence rules that the 50 million industries’ workers they represent are demanding.
Doing business, within or outside the EU, must mean doing business responsibly, and companies must take responsibility for their actions.
Deputy general secretary of industriAll Europe Judith Kirton -Darling says:
"This vote is a step in the right direction, but the European Union must deliver for workers and must hold all buisnesses accountable. Workers deserve adequate working conditions and for their rights to be respected! European companies cannot turn a blind eye to their supply chains. People over profits!"
Says Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL assistant general secretary:
“This is a huge step towards corporate responsibility and accountability to safeguard human rights in global supply chains. The EU must take the lead in respecting, protecting and empowering workers and the struggle continues in this process. The next step should be the same position for a UN Binding Treaty.”