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Mandatory Due Diligence

The growing worldwide movement to legally require companies to undertake human rights and environmental due diligence.

Under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights companies have a responsibility to undertake human rights due diligence. Yet a decade after their adoption benchmarks and analyses demonstrate low levels of commitment: almost half (46.2%) of the largest companies in the world analysed in the latest Corporate Human Rights Benchmark failed to show any evidence of identifying or mitigating human rights issues in their supply chains. Similarly, KnowTheChain benchmarks find companies score on average a mere 29% for their human rights due diligence efforts. This is what mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence laws seek to address.

There is more and more understanding that the smart mix prescribed by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights means that there needs to be legislation in order to reach the stated aims.
Heidi Hautala, Vice-President of European Parliament

There is growing momentum worldwide among governments, particularly in Europe, to require companies to undertake human rights and environmental due diligence, from the French Duty of Vigilance Law and the adoption in 2021 of new laws in Germany and Norway to the publication of a proposal for an EU-wide law in 2022. Major investors and companies are also speaking out in favour of such legislation.

Civil society across the world has been pushing for more robust requirements on companies for years and has been outspoken on the key elements these laws should include to be effective: a due diligence obligation for all businesses across their full global value chains; effective and safe stakeholder engagement; mandatory requirements that go beyond tick-box exercises and auditing, address irresponsible business models and purchasing practices, and are embedded in appropriate governance and accountability structures; and a strong civil liability regime.

This portal collects the latest news on mandatory human rights due diligence, national and regional developments, public company statements in support of mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence, guidance for companies and governments, and examples of company implementation of human rights due diligence. It also hosts a blog series where experts from civil society, governments and business discuss what mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence could mean for advancing human rights in business.

Featured contents

Over 100 civil society & trade union organisations launch campaign for a strong EU due diligence law

The campaign calls on the EU to close loopholes in the current proposal for an EU law that will fail to guarantee justice.

Buffering rights: How Europe's new due diligence regulation can help reverse tech rights risks

This briefing looks at the key areas in need of improvement to strengthen the EU's welcome draft Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive and shape a rights-respecting tech sector.

More than 100 companies and investors call for effective EU corporate accountability legislation

In February 2022, investors and companies including Aviva, Danone, Ericsson, IKEA, Hapag-Lloyd and VAUDE called for effective human rights and environmental due diligence legislation, with credible accountability mechanisms including civil liability.

Corporate due diligence in times of armed conflict

The Russian invasion of Ukraine shows there is an urgent need for due diligence rules to ensure that companies do not contribute to armed conflict. Frank Bold and ECCJ propose recommendations for the EU's due diligence directive.

Reactions to the release of the EU Commission's legislative proposal

Follow the latest news on the EU's proposal for mandatory corporate environmental and human rights due diligence, including statements and materials from partner organisations.

France's Duty of Vigilance Law

Learn more about the French mandatory due diligence law, adopted in 2017, on our overview page. Includes information on the first formal notices and lawsuits filed against companies as well as key resources on the law and its implementation.

Closing the gap: Evidence for effective human rights due diligence from five years measuring company efforts to address forced labour

This report provides new evidence of the urgent need for voluntary action to be strengthened with robust regulatory requirements for companies to identify human rights risks and prevent abuse.

Hearing the human: Ensuring due diligence legislation effectively amplifies the voices of those affected by irresponsible business

We discussed safe and effective engagement with over 60 HRDs and developed recommendations to the European Commission, EU Parliament and Council of the EU.

Beyond social auditing: Key considerations for mandating effective due diligence

To realise its potential, regulation must drive action beyond the mechanical tick-box exercise which has characterised too many companies’ approaches to their duty of care to workers and communities.

The case for human rights due diligence laws in the United Kingdom

Explore the latest facts, statistics and case studies on the need for a human rights and environmental due diligence law in the UK.