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18 Oct 2021

Friends of the Earth Europe

Briefing calls on EU to enshrine obligations for corporations to respect environment & climate in law

"Briefing: How to make corporations effectively respect the environment and climate", 13 Oct 2021

The European Union urgently needs to enshrine obligations for corporations to respect the environment and the climate in its law making. The forthcoming EU legislation on sustainable corporate governance will include a legal obligation to conduct due diligence – a good start but not a silver bullet to prevent businesses from causing environmental harm or violating human rights. This briefing by Friends of the Earth Europe and its members from Slovenia, France, the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden is aimed at decision makers from EU institutions. We recommend the following:

  1. A general standard of care for companies to respect the climate and the environment– mixed with non-exhaustive references to specific environmental standards
  2. Climate obligations for companies to reduce their GHG emissions – including a legal obligation for companies to set short and medium as well as long term targets for reduction of GHG emissions, criteria by sector in law for corporate climate targets and sanctions for when corporations fail to respect the climate or the environment.
  3. Civil liability – both injunctive and to ensure remedy for environmental harms and improved access to justice for people affected by harms occurring outside the EU
  4. Criminal liability of EU companies in cases of serious harms committed outside the EU and for the EU to work towards the recognition of ecocide for serious environmental harms