The debate on downstream due diligence has never been more topical: The EU currently discusses the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive. However, both the Council and various parliamentary groups want to limit the scope of the value chain to which environmental and human rights due diligence obligations should apply. Among other things, the downstream value chain would then be (largely) exempted from corporate due diligence obligations.
This case study of the Andina copper mine in Chile shows how European mining equipment manufacturers maintain close business relationships with the mine, despite the mining activities damaging the surrounding glaciers, massively increasing the water scarcity in the region and local protests against the expansion of the mine. We provide an example of how downstream due diligence obligations of European companies--which, in simple terms, relate to the companies' customer relationships--could have been exercised in this case. This is particularly relevant in this sector, where the business relationships between mining equipment manufacturers and their customers involve significant human rights and environmental risks.
Luisa Denter, Johanna Sydow