On 2 September, 26 companies, business associations, and initiatives released a joint statement calling for EU-wide, cross-sectoral mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence legislation. The group, which includes large multinationals such as ABN Amro, Adidas, Unilever, Inditex, and Mars, holds a combined annual turnover of almost 350 billion EUR. Several signatories have already supported calls for mandatory due diligence at a national level through previous statements and ongoing campaigns.
Earlier this year, the EU Commission committed to introducing legislation and has just launched a formal “sustainable corporate governance” initiative mentioning possible legislation. Regulation is already in place or under discussion in a number of European countries, including France, Germany and the Netherlands.
Research by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre and others shows that EU companies have been linked to human rights and environmental abuses worldwide – an effective regulatory framework on human rights and environmental due diligence could go a long way to reduce these harms.