Voluntary standards and other industry initiatives for the extraction of raw materials have established themselves increasingly in recent years as an instrument with which companies can implement their due diligence obligations. Yet, the existing standards are marked by a series of systematic, content-related and methodological shortcomings. This paper provides a first assessment of the methodological robustness of the various standards in the raw materials sector.
On 23 February 2022, the EU Commission published its long-awaited proposal for an EU supply chain law. The European Parliament and the EU Council – including a number of German government representatives – are now discussing the draft law. Together with more than 220 civil society organisations from Europe and the rest of the world, Germanwatch clarified which changes the Commission's proposal needs from the perspective of civil society.
The European Union’s proposed batteries regulation should require importers and manufacturers to source the bauxite, copper, and iron used in batteries responsibly, a coalition of 16 organizations said today. The coalition includes Amnesty International, Earthworks, Finnwatch, Germanwatch, Human Rights Watch, Inclusive Development International, INKOTA, PowerShift, RAID, SOMO, and Transport & Environment, as well as human rights and environmental activists from producer countries.
The EU Commission has recently presented a proposal for a Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence. The aim of this Directive is to integrate international standards into European law and prevent negative consequences of global business activities. Can the law contribute to ending deforestation in transnational supply chains?
Deforestation, overexploitation and climate change threaten forests around the world. The European Union also plays an inglorious role in this. To change this, the European Commission presented yesterday a legislative proposal to prevent products from forest destruction from entering the EU internal market in the future. At the same time, a general EU supply chain law is being planned. Is the EU Commission duplicating its efforts? No, say Julia Otten and Johannes Heeg from our member Germanwatch and the Initiative Lieferkettengestz.
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.
The legislative proposal presented today by the EU Commission to exclude deforestation in the supply chains of companies operating in the EU market does not go far enough, according to the environment and development organisation Germanwatch. Katharina Brandt, policy advisor for agriculture at Germanwatch, says: "If we want to curb the climate crisis and stop the global extinction of species, savannahs and wetlands must not fall victim to the cultivation of soy for industrial livestock farming in Europe."
The German "Supply Chain Due Diligence Act" is adopted! But what exactly is behind this? Our analysis shows: We are still a long way from reaching our goal in the fight against human rights violations and environmental degradation in global value chains, but with the new law, we are finally off to a good start.
In the last year, the German government held intense and controversial discussions on the introduction and design of national due diligence regulation. However, environmental aspects of corporate due diligence were given little attention. By contrast, the debate at European level is already much more progressive. On January 27, the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament explicitly recommended the inclusion of independent environmental due diligence requirements in a future European due diligence legislation.
To this date, environmental due diligence has hardly been integrated into legislations and it is not yet as concrete as UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are in regard to human rights concerning responsibilities of corporations. Human rights due diligence captures environmental destruction when it is directly linked to human rights violation like a toxic spillage, which directly causes death or health issues.