Towards a mandatory EU system of due diligence for supply chains - Realities and consequences
WATCH THE RECORDING HERE
The Commission is working on a legislative proposal for a European due diligence for supply chains. It is due to be published mid-2021, after a consultation period. The proposal intends to oblige companies to analyse and monitor their business partners at all stages of their supply chain and to reveal violations of human rights and activities harmful to the environment or violating working conditions. But many companies argue that their influence on the actions and behaviour of third parties is limited.
The aim of the proposal is to reinforce the fight against abusive conduct by businesses, as has been highlighted in pictures of burnt-down textile factories or child labour on coffee plantations. It is clear that it’s in everyone's interest to eliminate human rights violations and unfair working conditions. Most companies are aware of their responsibility when it comes to human rights and are committed to ensuring responsible business conduct. This explains why many companies have international codes of conduct and supplier contracts in which they commit themselves and their partners to respect human rights.
But what impact does such a due diligence for supply chains have on companies from various sectors, such as the mechanical engineering industry, that has supply chains all over the world? What does a due diligence obligation mean for medium-sized companies that operate internationally?
Join this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to discuss how the EU can best ensure the implementation of the due diligence requirements in EU companies’ supply chains, whilst avoiding unintended consequences. Questions to be discussed:
-How can the Commission ensure that the new obligations are implemented uniformly in the EU, avoiding national solo efforts?
-To what extent should companies be liable for their value chains?
-How will internationally active small and medium-sized businesses implement the due diligence requirements?
-How can it be ensured that European companies remain competitive in the international context against competitors who are not subject to such requirements?
-What could a sensible division of tasks or responsibility between state and corporate action look like?
You can watch a short video message by MEP Anna Cavazzini here.
Lucrezia Busa, Member of Commissioner Reynders’ Cabinet, European Commission
Lara Wolters, MEP, Member of JURI Committee, European Parliament
Winand Quaedvlieg, Vice-President, Group I - Employers, EESC
Tim Gore, Head of the Low Carbon and Circular Economy Programme, IEEP
Ben Vanpeperstraete, Business and Human Rights Expert, ECCHR
Bertram Kawlath, Vice President, VDMA
Ross Melzer, EU Affairs Director, EURACTIV
Teresa Dominguez, EU Affairs Senior Manager, EURACTIV (Q&A moderation)
14:30 – 14:35 Welcome
14:35 – 14:50 Panellists' statements
14:50 – 15:50 Discussion and Q&A
15:50 – 16:00 Closing statements
Commission pledges new due diligence rules will be balanced
The European Commission is by the end of the year set to propose new rules subjecting companies to stricter controls in a bid to encourage them to ensure suppliers respect human rights and do not harm the environment.