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EU adopts historic Directive requiring large companies to focus on children’s rights


24 May 2024



BRUSSELS, 24 May 2024 - Large companies operating in the European Union will have to take child rights into consideration when they carry out due diligence processes in their global supply chains or face penalties under a landmark Directive adopted by the EU, Save the Children said.


The new Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD/CS3D), adopted today and likely to come into force next month, will allow children who have been negatively affected by a company’s business practices to take them to court, even if they live outside of the EU.


The Directive will apply to EU and non-EU/third country-based companies with over 1,000 employees and with a turnover of more than 450 million euro [1] and companies would be liable for fines for breaching the Directive. It will be legally binding and incorporated into the national laws of all EU Member States over the next two years.


The Directive includes the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) in its Annex, an inclusion which was advocated by Save the Children, and means a company’s environmental and human rights due diligence will need to take in to account children’s rights [2]. For over two years now Save the Children has been calling for the Directive to be as effective as possible in protecting the rights of children.


Vasilka LalevskaChild Rights and Corporate Sustainability Advisor for Save the Children’s Child Rights and Business Global Hub, said:


“The Directive is highly significant as it marks a shift from sustainability rules being voluntary to mandatory.  Large companies will have a legal obligation to carry out human rights and environmental due diligence and take effective action, and those who fail to do so will face penalties.


“The Directive could have a substantial impact on the lives of children, in a year marking the centenary of the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child [3], when children's rights were first recognised.


“With millions of children around the world facing extreme weather events, poverty and conflict, which threaten their safety, wellbeing and futures, it has never been more critical that companies play a role in upholding children’s rights. The adoption of the Directive is also timely, with the European elections taking place next month it’s also important that children’s rights remain a focus of the EU’s political agenda.”


Save the Children said it would continue to follow and participate in all relevant steps related to the implementation of the Directive. Save the Children will also continue to support companies to assess and strengthen their due diligence practices from a child rights perspective including to advance their strategies towards more sustainable investments in communities they source from.



Notes to editor


[1] With both employee and turnover thresholds applying to EU companies; and turnover threshold only applying to non-EU companies. The Directive also applies to parent companies of groups fulfilling the thresholds as well as companies entering franchising/licensing agreements in return for royalties of over 22,5 million EUR with a turnover of more than 80 million EUR.


[2] More details regarding this and other Save the Children´s positions on the CSDDD are available here


[3] The founder of Save the Children, Eglantyne Jebb, wrote the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child, a critical document outlining the unique rights of children. The Geneva Declaration was endorsed by the League of Nations in 1924 and this year marks its 100th anniversary of affirming the universality of children’s rights.


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