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We need binding rules on responsible business conduct and we expect the Commission to deliver ASAP

Date

10 Mar 2021

Sections

Social Europe & Jobs

The S&D Group is leading calls for the European Commission to come forward with legislation as soon as possible to guarantee sustainable and responsible business practice by all companies in Europe throughout the entire supply chain.

Drafted by S&D MEP Lara Wolters and voted on later today (results expected 19:00), the European Parliament wants mandatory due diligence rules to hold businesses to account by making it a legal obligation for them to identify and address adverse impacts on workers’ rights, human rights and the environment. The rules extend to all business operations outside the EU. They would apply to any business looking to sell goods or services on the internal market, including non-EU companies.

Lara Wolters MEP, European Parliament rapporteur for corporate due diligence, said:

“The European Parliament has the chance this week to become a leader in responsible business conduct. The status quo means companies doing the right thing are at a competitive disadvantage. That time is at an end. Businesses fully understand that mandatory standards are the only path to a level playing field and to business certainty. They also understand that modern consumers have high standards and that doing business in the 21st century means doing business responsibly. We have drafted ambitious rules that guarantee fair products for consumers, that enhance protections for workers, that improve access to justice for victims and that take a major step forward for the environment. We expect nothing less from the European Commission’s proposals later this year that have to deliver for citizens’ expectations and match Parliament’s ambitions.”

Bernd Lange MEP, chair of the international trade committee and due diligence rapporteur for the committee, said:

“Global trade opens up new opportunities and generates employment. However, trade must ensure good quality work, as well as fair and sustainable globalisation. Since 70% of global trade takes place in supply chains we must focus on regulating them in a sustainable way. Fundamental rights of workers and environmental standards such as the Paris Climate Agreement must become binding benchmarks throughout the entire supply chain of business activity. As well as the duty of care for European companies, we must look at products from manufacturers outside the EU and ban products that are made with forced labour from entering the European market. New binding due diligence rules are a sure way to guarantee chocolate no longer has the bitter taste of child labour.”

Raphaël Glucksmann MEP, due diligence rapporteur for the human rights committee, said:

“European citizens no longer accept being complicit in human rights violations and environmental destruction when they buy clothes or cars in the EU. They don't want their products to be tainted by crimes against humanity in China or deforestation and biodiversity losses in Africa. Our role as people’s elected representatives is to propose wambitious and enforceable legislation to address their claim. This is what we are doing today: we will put an end to the impunity of companies that benefit from child and forced labour throughout their global value chains without paying any price or being held accountable for it. We need to bring back rules and accountability in the whole system of globalisation. Thanks to the sheer size and power of its market and companies, the EU can reshape norms and practices globally. It is time to use this power.”

 

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