Environmental responsibility through supply chains – what is needed from the perspective of Latin American civil society
In the context of several European legislative processes on supply chains this study emphasizes the importance of binding legislation for companies to comply with environmental aspects in addition to human rights along their supply chains.
On the basis of experience of working closely together with communities living near mining sites, the authors have identified various ways how to implement environmental due diligence on the ground. This can be useful both in drafting legislation and considering its practical implementation. Thus, this document may serve as a valuable reference for policymakers, companies, and NGOs working in this field. Our findings are particularly relevant for the upcoming EU supply chain legislation (Sustainable Corporate Governance Initiative), the regulatory framework for batteries, the development of a OECD Practical Tool on Environmental Due Diligence in Minerals Supply Chains among others. Thus, this analysis is a contribution to a debate about environmental due diligence that has long been neglected.
The study stresses that binding environmental due diligence is important to:
- protect ecosystems, even if there are no immediate impacts on human rights;
- prevent human rights violations resulting from environmental contamination caused by corporations and
- to increase the likelihood of holding corporations accountable and provide victims access to justice and remedies.
It especially highlights the importance of independent, participatory and transparent Environmental Impact Studies alongside the strengthening of independent community monitoring, which it also defines. Moreover, it lays out why European due diligence legislations should refer to European and international standards instead of only referring to existing standards at the place of extraction. It highlights relevant jurisdiction in Latin America in the context of large scale projects, human rights and the environment and pinpoints relevant aspects to consider in the context of implementing environmental due diligence - making it effective without unintended consequences. Finally, it concludes with concrete recommendations for the European Union, international organizations and companies well as governments at the place of extraction.
Johanna Sydow, Andrés Ángel, Pavel Aquino, Fabiola Vargas, Juan Espinosa