In February of 2022, the European Commission proposed a groundbreaking Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence (CSDDD), laying the foundation for a legislative approach for European companies to protect human rights and the environment on a global scale. If robust, the Directive has the potential to establish accountability and transparency mechanisms that ensure sustainable and responsible business conduct along supply chains. With the proposal currently under discussion in the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament, however, some of the provisions of the Directive have been dramatically weakened and previous civil society recommendations have been neglected. In July 2022, the EU-LAT Network signed an open letter to the Czech Presidency of the Council in reaction to its proposed compromised text to the Directive. This week, the EU-LAT Network signed two more open letters directed to the EU to strengthen the provisions of the CSDDD and its following implementation.
On Monday, 28th of November, the EU-LAT Network signed an open letter to the ministers of the Council of Europe together with more than 50 civil society organisations calling for a more constructive and ambitious General Approach to the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive, scheduled for the 1st of December 2022. The open letter highlights the weakened provisions of the CSDDD currently under discussion in the Council, not living up to existing international standards and undermining the initial European Commission’s proposal. We are calling the ministers of the Council to include in their votes for the General Approach on the 1st of December to:
- Cover the entire value chain in the CSDDD, including downstream impacts and the entire financial sector.
- Expand and not curtail the scope of human rights and environmental impacts of the CSDDD.
- Reinforce Access to justice and to address the barriers to justice in the CSDDD, faced by claimants in cases of human rights and environmental violations.
Secondly, the EU-LAT Network signed a joint open letter calling on the European Commission to reform the Union Customs Code to allow access to customs trade information for non-state actors like civil society, a necessary step towards an improved implementation of the future CSDDD. Stakeholder involvement is crucial to ensure that human rights and the environment are respected in company value chains, in line with the upcoming CSDDD. In order to allow stakeholders to engage with companies and authorities to effectively address the human rights and environmental risks in the company value chains, stakeholders require to detailed supply chain and trade flow information. Currently, it is impossible for civil society to access this information in hands of the Member States. With this open letter, we are calling for an increased public access to customs data in the revision of the Union customs legislation, directly contributing to a more effective implementation of the EU policy goals, like the CSDDD.Read the Letter here