(3 October 2019) EPSU has co-signed an appeal of 88 organisations which demands the European Commission introduce new corporate accountability legislation requiring companies to respect human rights and the environment in their global value chains and operations. Victims of corporate violations should have their access to judicial remedy enhanced by this new legislation.
For decades, voluntary codes and initiatives for “corporate social responsibility” have been promoted. Our joint experience is that these do not adequately protect human rights or the environment. Violations of workers and trade union rights continue despite such codes, and many companies do not live up to the required ethical standards at all. Human rights and environmental defenders and trade unionists are killed. Companies like McDonalds avoid paying their fair share of taxes.
We agree that European companies and companies operating in the EU are not doing enough to address human rights and environmental risks in their global value chains and operations. The new legislation would be embedded into law existing international soft-law standards, such as the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights & OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct. The legislation would make corporate Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence mandatory. Several countries have already such legislation in place.
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