abusesaffiliationarrow-downarrow-leftarrow-rightarrow-upattack-typeburgerchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-upClock iconclosedeletedevelopment-povertydiscriminationdollardownloademailenvironmentexternal-linkfacebookfiltergenderglobegroupshealthC4067174-3DD9-4B9E-AD64-284FDAAE6338@1xinformation-outlineinformationinstagraminvestment-trade-globalisationissueslabourlanguagesShapeCombined Shapeline, chart, up, arrow, graphLinkedInlocationmap-pinminusnewsorganisationotheroverviewpluspreviewArtboard 185profilerefreshIconnewssearchsecurityPathStock downStock steadyStock uptagticktooltiptwitteruniversalityweb

25 Apr 2023

European Parliament

EU: Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee adopts position on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive

Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images

"Corporate sustainability: firms to tackle impact on human rights and environment", 25 April 2023

With 19 votes against 3 and 3 abstentions, MEPs on the Legal Affairs Committee adopted their position on so-called corporate sustainability due diligence. Firms would be obliged to identify, and where necessary prevent, end or mitigate the negative impact of their activities, including that of their business partners, on human rights and the environment. This includes child labour, slavery, labour exploitation, pollution, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss.

More firms to be liable for impact on human rights and environment

Companies would also be required to evaluate their value-chain partners when carrying out their “due diligence”, MEPs say. This should include not only suppliers, but also activities related to sale, distribution and transport. Adverse impact would have to be mitigated and remedied by adapting the company’s business model, providing support to SMEs or seeking contractual assurances.

MEPs extended the application of the new rules, compared to the Commission proposal, to include EU-based companies with more than 250 employees and a worldwide turnover higher than 40 million euro, as well as parent companies over 500 employees and a worldwide turnover higher than 150 million euro. The rules would also apply to non-EU companies with a turnover higher than 150 million euro if at least 40 million was generated in the EU.

Supervision, sanctions and detailed guidelines

Non-compliant companies should be liable for damages and EU governments would establish supervisory authorities with the power to impose sanctions. MEPs want fines to be at least 5% of the net worldwide turnover and to ban non-compliant third-country companies from public procurement.

To facilitate compliance, member states would set up a national helpdesk and the Commission would prepare detailed guidelines.

Communication and fighting climate change

According to the adopted text, companies would have to engage with people affected by their actions, including human rights defenders and environmental activists, introduce a grievance mechanism and monitor the effectiveness of their due diligence policy.

To help combat climate change, all company directors would be obliged to implement a transition plan compatible with a global warming limit of 1.5°C. Directors of companies with over 1000 employees will be directly responsible for this step, which in turn will affect the variable parts of their pay, such as bonuses. [...]

Next steps

Once the Parliament adopts its mandate in the plenary, the negotiations with the Council on the final text of the legislation can start. According to the committee’s proposal, the new obligations would apply after 3 or 4 years depending on the company’s size and turnover.