Sign for a European law that protects the environment and human rights from harm caused by companies abroad!
European Directive on Business Due Diligence. Let's defend our common home.
When European companies operating abroad are implicated in environmental damage or human rights violations, they often ignore their responsibility. The absence of binding obligations for companies in these matters contrasts with the barriers to access to justice for individuals and communities affected by their malpractice.
While companies can leave the scene without being held accountable, the victims of their activities often see their rights violated, their territories polluted and thus lose their livelihoods. To obtain compensation, it is the victims who have to collect the evidence, identify the causer, find a jurisdiction that admits their claim and confront the company's lawyers. A costly, unequal and lengthy process that victims often die before obtaining justice.
On February 23, 2022, the European Commission published its proposal for a European Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence. This is an important step towards achieving a standard that, for the first time, establishes binding obligations and sanctioning regimes for companies that fail to comply with their obligation to respect human and environmental rights in their value chains.
However, the draft presented by the European Commission could be much improved:
- The number of companies covered is very limited. It is expected to affect 13,000 European companies (barely 1% of the total) and 4,000 foreign companies operating in Europe. The methodology used needs to be revised to broaden the scope.
- Beyond size, the draft focuses on companies operating in three risk sectors (textiles, agribusiness and mining). However, a true risk-based approach must emphasize the responsibility of all companies, tailoring obligations to their particular characteristics.
- It must clearly address the barriers to justice that prevent victims of abuses from accessing comprehensive redress within a reasonable timeframe (reversal of the burden of proof, financial support, legal deadlines).
- The due diligence process should not be reduced to compliance with codes of conduct and obtaining external certifications, but should incorporate the obligation to consult and ensure the safe and meaningful participation of stakeholders.
- The current draft does not adequately reflect the gender perspective or the particular risks affecting indigenous peoples and human and environmental rights defenders.
Throughout 2022, we have the opportunity to improve the European Commission's proposal. But to do so, we need to convince our representatives in the European Parliament to introduce the necessary amendments in the vote on the text that will take place in the fall of this year.
We need your help to achieve a law that does real justice.
Sign this petition and we will make your voice heard by our representatives in the European Parliament to put an end to the impunity of multinational companies and ensure access to justice for victims.