Civil society groups call for stronger corporate sustainability due diligence

May 27, 2022

Following the European Commission’s proposal for a directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence, over 220 civil society groups have signed a joint statement calling for the proposal to be strengthened.

The directive, released by the European Commission on 23rd February 2022, could pave the way forward to minimising the negative impacts of businesses on workers, communities and the environment. However, the civil society groups, represented by the European Coalition for Corporate Justice, released a statement in May highlighting significant concerns, ranging from the exclusion of SMEs from the directive to lax provisions on civil liability and sufficient disclosure requirements for a transparent value chain.

A key concern seemed to be the limitation of the due diligence obligation to “established business relationships” which the groups felt lagged behind international standards and “risks generating perverse incentives for companies to restructure their value chains in order to avoid their due diligence obligation.”

Another area of contention was the diminished and lack of specific references to human rights and environmental defenders, which the group called a matter of “grave concern”. They claim that the proposal fails to offer protection to human rights defenders worldwide and instead favours and protects EU-based works from risk of retaliation.

Concerns were also raised about the absence of climate due diligence.

The group put forward the statement and its proposals in an effort to ensure that the EU does not mandate a “mere tick-box” exercise. This latest warning joins a series of warnings from EU stakeholders.

Last Updated: 27 May 2022