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25 Aug 2023


EU: Activists call for meaningful due diligence law and caution against further dilution of CSDDD in Trilogue negotiations

"EU due diligence proposal raises hope for activists, worries foreign companies", 25 August 2023

The corporate sustainability due diligence directive (CSDDD), first proposed by the European Commission in February 2022, seeks to hold large EU companies or foreign companies operating in the EU accountable for their impacts on human rights and the environment throughout their value chain...

[T]he draft EU directive raises cautious optimism among civil society organisations working for the rights of people affected by corporate behaviours in third countries.

According to Giuseppe Cioffo, Corporate Regulation Officer at the social justice network CIDSE, the EU legislation could finally address “predatory behaviours carried out by a part of European or local companies within European value chains.” 

Cioffo pointed at episodes such as the one involving the Brumadinho dam in Brazil, which collapsed in 2019 shortly after being certified by a German company, causing the death of 270 people.

According to activists, stakeholder engagement envisaged by the draft law is a “promising element” as the local community is key to understanding risks and possible impacts.

However, they also pointed to insufficient accompanying measures that would come with adopting the law, mostly aimed at supporting companies.

“There are limited resources and projects aimed at raising awareness and informing the local community on the law,” Cioffo said.

Moreover, NGOs are concerned that the proposal could eventually be diluted into a box-ticking exercise and limit access to justice for victims of corporate abuses.

“There are still barriers to access to justice, such as the burden of proof on the claimants,” Johannes Blankenbach, researcher at the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, told EURACTIV, adding that “if this gets watered down [in the ongoing negotiations], the law could become meaningless.” ...