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.
For months, there has been an intensive and controversial debate in Germany on a Human Rights Due Diligence Regulation (so called supply chain law). Recently, a new proposal has been under discussion - a law for a supply chain register. Now that the debate on the supply chain register is public and this proposal has also been submitted to EU Justice Commissioner Reynders, Germanwatch, Greenpeace and INKOTA hereby publicly present their central points of criticism of the supply chain register.
The EU Regulation on the responsible supply of tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold (3TG) from conflict-affected and high-risk areas (CAHRA) is a crucial first step towards supply chains free from human rights abuse. The EU Regulation on the responsible supply of 3TG from conflict-affected and high-risk areas (CAHRA) was approved in 2017 and will enter into force in 2021. Before this date, the EU member states need to adopt measures to ensure the implementation of the Regulation. However, the first implementation measures being discussed by member states risk diluting the efficacy of the Regulation by concealing the list of companies subjected to it.