No more blocking human rights and environmental protection: in the last few weeks we have come much closer to a supply chain law. Federal Ministers Heil and Müller have announced that they will present a law. The Chancellor has meanwhile also spoken out in favor of a supply chain law – as has more and more German companies. Only one continues to try to block: Federal Minister of Economics Altmaier.
Numerous examples show that people and the environment all over the world suffer from the unscrupulous dealings of German companies. And after years of research, one thing is clear: only a few German companies make voluntary efforts to protect human rights and environmental protection. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Economic Affairs warns against a “quick shot” – one thing is clear: It is high time to act!
The coalition agreement – and incidentally also a CDU party congress resolution! – says clearly: If companies do not voluntarily adhere to human rights, a supply chain law must come. We therefore demand from Federal Minister of Economics Altmaier: finally take human rights and the protection of the environment seriously! No more delaying and watering down!
The Corona crisis has shown: Companies that know their supply chains and rely on reliable partnerships are more crisis-proof. A supply chain law that enshrines human rights and environmental due diligence obligations in law would be a boost to sustainability for the German economy. Now is the time to ensure respect for human rights and the protection of the environment in global supply chains. This opportunity must not be wasted on the stubbornness of the Minister of Economics!
Please join in now and urge the minister: Don’t stand in the way of a supply chain law any longer!
In view of the resistance from the economy to the planned supply chain law, the XertifiX chairman Ingrid Sehrbrock and the treasurer Peter Weiß wrote a letter to Federal Minister Dr. Gerd Müller wrote, in which they support the minister against all opposition to pass the supply chain law agreed in the coalition agreement during this legislative period.
We keep hearing legitimate doubts from our licensees as to how companies that comply with their due diligence and, for example, have their supply chains checked by XertifiX, should compete against other companies that do nothing of the kind. There is an imbalance in the market economy that needs to be remedied. A supply chain law is a very suitable instrument for this! It is not for nothing that large companies such as the Rewe Group, Tchibo or Nestlé stand behind such a law. We expect that given the importance of the new law for the entire German economy, the German Minister for Economic Affairs Peter Altmeier will also give up his resistance and proactively support the law.
Today, Tuesday (July 14th, 2020), Federal Minister Müller has published the percentage of German companies that fulfill their duty of care with regard to supply chains. The minister had already indicated that this would probably be less than 50% of the companies required. The survey of companies has shown, however, that only 22% of the companies based in Germany meet the relatively low requirements of the survey (NAP monitoring). In this case, a statutory regulation is provided for in the coalition agreement.
Unfortunately, the economy is struggling to meet its obligations and is trying to prevent such a law. Four associations (BDI, BDA, DIHK, and HDE) have published a statement saying: “We are rejecting the … idea of introducing a national German due diligence law”.
That’s a scandal!
Johannes Heeg, spokesman for the Supply Chain Act, comments on this:
„This result is stunning twice: First, the business lobby does everything to ensure that the requirements for the survey are as low as possible – and then the companies obviously fail because of it. This is the only way to protect human rights and the environment. The federal government must now keep its promise from the coalition agreement and without further delay put in place a supply chain law!“
Please refer (Finanzen.net, German): Deutsche Wirtschaft stemmt sich gegen Lieferkettengesetz
Please refer to the paper: VERWÄSSERN – VERZÖGERN – VERHINDERN: WIRTSCHAFTSLOBBY GEGEN MENSCHENRECHTE UND UMWELTSTANDARDS
In a unique appeal, more than 110 bishops from all over the world accuse: irresponsible companies “… avoid taxes that could serve to build up and maintain public services of general interest as hospitals or schools; they pollute the soil, water and air or make themselves guilty of serious human rights violations around the world, such as forced labor and child labor. Some transnational corporations are threatening governments with lawsuits with extrajudicial dispute settlement mechanisms if environmental or social laws jeopardize their profits. This profit-driven system and the associated disposable mentality must be questioned more than ever today. ” A voluntary commitment does not seem to be enough to respect environmental protection and human rights. We have experienced this to an increasing extent in recent decades.
For this reason – according to the bishops – it is time for legal regulations. A French law on due diligence is a positive example. Such a law is also being debated in Germany and other countries. The bishops are therefore calling on governments to finally take action and enact specific laws to protect the environment and human rights.
“We are convinced that such laws can bring tangible improvements for people if they do
provide access to effective remedies for those concerned!”
At the 5th Future Forum “Making Globalization Righteous”, Federal Minister Gerd Müller clearly stated that companies are responsible for their supply chains: “Companies must ensure that human rights are respected in supply chains.” He emphasizes positively that many companies are now voluntarily moving forward. But he also points out that this is far from sufficient: “If we come to the conclusion at the end of the year that the voluntary approaches are not sufficient, we will legally oblige the big companies. Best at the European level – if necessary, but also nationally. That’s how we set it in the coalition agreement. ”
Today, WDR reports on sustainable natural stone.
“Natural stones in the garden are very popular, but hardly any buyers know under which dramatic conditions the material will be mined abroad, certifications and stricter controls should ensure sustainable import.” (from the announcement)
Please refer: WDR Servicezeit
Directlink (German): Natursteine – auf nachhaltigen Import achten
Report on imported natural stones at Frontal 21
“China exports more than one million tons of granite stones annually to Germany. These are sold very favorably among other things in Do-It-Yourself Markets, for example as paving stones, wall cladding or kitchen plates. However, hardly a buyer knows that the granite stones are often produced under conditions that are harmful to the health, sometimes even life-threatening. This is attributable to inspection reports and pictures from Chinese quarries and processing companies, which were presented to Frontal 21 and are now being published for the first time. In Germany, however, only one of the six major DIY stores, toom, is active against such violations of the international workplace safety requirements. […]” (Extract from the ZDF announcement of the TV Broadcasting)
Will be broadcast on Tuesday, 14th March 2017 at 9pm
Please refer: Cheap granite from the Do-it-yourself Market
XertifiX and toom pull together
As a first DIY store chain in Germany, toom Baumarkt has certified natural stones from XertifiX. We are delighted that consumers will be able to buy certified natural stones in DIY stores all over Germany. If you want to pave the garage entrance, the terrace or garden paths with a natural conscience, now he / she has the choice!
Finally, there is a new legal opinion, which takes into account and takes due account of changes in the law at EU and federal level. The report draws attention to the reform of the German Public Procurement Act, which entered into force on 18 April 2016. This has been implemented by the EU directive on the award of 2014.
Key findings of the report:
- It can be social and environmental aspects in the award of public contracts without issues to consider: This can also be done at different levels:
- As a performance description, e.g. social innovations (see 34) [it is pointed out in the Opinion that there are alternative legal interpretations on this point]
- As a softer supplementary criterion (s. 34)
- As an implementation condition, e.g. to sanction non-compliance (s. 34)
- It follows that it is not necessary to accept self-explanations. On the contrary, proof of an independent third party may be explicitly required.
- Specifically, a specific quality mark is allowed to be required as proof if the public procurement body accepts all requirements of this quality mark.
- The federal states can obligate the public procurement bodies to demand certain social standards, but only at the level of the performance description and the implementation condition (S. 37f.)
It is very gratifying that, with Dr. Krönke’s report, a new reading of the legal room to manoeuvre for public procurement is finally to be found!
Please refer: Rechtsgutachten von Dr. Christoph Krönke