The draft legislation for an EU directive on corporate sustainability due diligence
On February 23, 2022, the EU Commission adopted a resolution of a draft for a new law to anchor sustainability practices in global supply chains. The draft aims to oblige companies to make their global activities sustainable by exercising due diligence with regard to the observance of human rights, the avoidance of child labor and worker exploitation, as well as mitigation of environmental impact. By doing so, company supply chains will become more transparent for consumers and companies throughout the EU will operate under the same competitive conditions.
The proposed legislation distinguishes between two groups of companies affected by due diligence:
- Group 1: EU-incorporated limited liability companies with at least 500 employees and a net turnover of €150 million worldwide.
- Group 2: other limited liability companies operating in resource-intensive industries with more than 250 employees and a net turnover of €40 million worldwide.
Also affected are companies headquartered in non-EU countries that nonetheless operate in the EU and generate turnover comparable with Groups 1 and 2. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are not affected by the amendments.
The submitted legal draft formulates concrete requirements for companies. For example, companies must establish due diligence practices in their corporate guidelines. To this end, management is to ensure monitoring and implementation. First, companies must identify the damage that their business activities cause to the environment or human rights. This should then be prevented, reduced or otherwise mitigated. Companies should establish methods by which to constantly monitor the effectiveness of the measures they implement. In addition, companies must set up a complaints procedure and also communicate publicly about how they are fulfilling their due diligence obligations.