BEERG: Key Members of European Parliament Urge Strict Supply Chain Enforcement for Human Rights Violations

June 05, 2020

A European Parliament Working Group on Responsible Business Conduct urged that supply chain due diligence legislation “makes sure obligations are genuinely mandatory and enforceable in court.”

Earlier this year the EU Commission announced that it will proceed with new legislation in 2021 that will impose wide-ranging due diligence obligations on businesses concerning their international supply chains.

The Dutch government has already called for such for EU-wide legislation, not least to ensure there is a level playing field among European countries as member states have each started legislating on the topic, creating a patchwork of differing obligations in the single market.

The letter demands the new legislation ensure “that business enterprises have an obligation to identify, prevent, mitigate, monitor and account for potential and actual human rights abuses and environmental harm in their entire global value chains.”  They also want a piece of legislation that “establishes civil liability for human rights abuses and environmental harm.”

Why it's important:  BEERG Executive Director Tom Hayes notes: “Human resource and labor relations specialists need to pay close attention to this issue.  This is not a matter to be dropped into the ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ box and left to the CSR guys to deal with.  Because when labor relations issues go wrong in global ‘value chains’—and they always will—it will be the HR and LR people who will be expected to deal with the matter, fix the problem, and pick up the pieces while the CSR team is off at the latest ‘Ethical Issues in Supply Chains’ conference.  That’s just the way it is.” 

Read the full BEERG Global Labor Newsletter