Reacting to a vote in the European Parliament today in favour of a draft bill governing the responsibilities of corporations towards human rights and the environment, known as the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive, Hannah Storey, Amnesty International Policy Advisor on Business and Human Rights, said:
“The European Parliament has sent a clear signal that it intends to support access to justice for victims of corporate-related human rights abuses. The Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive is a crucial piece of legislation that will help ensure larger companies are held to higher human rights and environmental standards. The European Parliament’s support for this law is a welcome development.
The European Parliament has sent a clear signal that it intends to support access to justice for victims of corporate-related human rights abuses.Hannah Storey, Amnesty International Policy Advisor on Business and Human Rights
“Crucially, the version backed by the parliament attempts to address some of the barriers victims face when trying to access justice for harms caused by companies. For example, it will allow courts in EU member states to order a company suspected of causing harm to disclose evidence. Without access to such information, it is very difficult to hold corporations to account for human rights abuses and environmental harm.
“Yet there are some troubling exemptions in the legislation which would make it very challenging to hold financial sector firms liable under civil law for human rights abuses and environmental harms. Companies also do not have to consider possible human rights abuses stemming from the misuse of their products. EU policymakers must urgently address these omissions during negotiations.”
The Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive has the potential to be a landmark piece of legislation governing the human rights responsibilities of larger companies within the EU. The version passed by parliament will now be reconciled with those being considered by the EU Council and the EU Commission, before a final text on the legislation is produced later this year.