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Article

8 Dec 2021

Author:
Anti-Slavery International, BHRRC, ECCJ & 44 others

EU: 47 CSOs write to Commission President raising strong concerns about delay of Sustainable Corporate Governance initiative

"Open letter to President Von der Leyen: It is time for you to show leadership on the Sustainable Corporate Governance initiative", 8 Dec 2021

As a coalition of civil society organisations, including national coalitions and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), who are actively working and engaging on the planned Commission proposal on a Sustainable Corporate Governance (SCG) initiative, we are writing to raise our strong concerns about the new delay to the publication of this initiative.

In spite of your promise to deliver a “solid and well-balanced” proposal in 2021, we have been made aware via press reports that the SCG initiative has been further delayed. It is unacceptable that such a crucial new law that can help millions of people to demand justice against human rights violations and can help safeguard our environment and the climate, is delayed for the third time.

We are also deeply concerned by the complete lack of transparency on the reasons for this new delay. The uncertainty surrounding the fate of the legislation is highly damaging for people suffering from irresponsible corporate behaviour and for the environment. This unexplained delay risks undermining the trust that European citizens, local and international civil society and trade union organizations, workers and victims of corporate abuse have placed in the EU to regulate sustainable and responsible business in the wake of the COVID pandemic and of the climate and biodiversity crisis...

Since the Commissioner for Justice announced in April 2020 that the Commission would bring forward a proposal to introduce mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence, there has been increased political and societal support for this legislation...

Meanwhile, member states have clearly heard the call for greater corporate accountability and are advancing national-level legislation to implement rules for businesses. The Commission must also bear responsibility and ensure common rules within the single market.

As we have been emphasizing throughout our active engagement on this issue, an EU-wide legislation that will help prevent human rights abuses and environmental harms throughout corporate value chains, and that will apply to all businesses active on the EU market, is more important than ever. This will ensure a level playing field for all companies as well as a coherent legal framework to recognise companies’ liability to respect human rights and the environment all through their value chains, while improving victims’ access to justice.

At this time of uncertainty, we call on you to publicly reiterate your commitment as President of the European Commission to making supply chains of companies active on the EU market sustainable through ambitious, binding human rights and environmental due diligence legislation.

In doing this, we also request that you guarantee full transparency on the reasons for the delay and on the decision-making process going forward...

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