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International Day Against Child Labour: ILO warns of increasing child labour

On the occasion of the Day against Child Labour on June 12, the German section of the ILO warns of an increase in child labour due to climate change. “Climate change will become a driver for child labour due to poverty if the global community does not take countermeasures,” concluded Dr. Annette Niederfranke, ILO Director Germany.

In recent years, extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts, cyclones and floods have hit people in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia very hard – and have thereby increased child labour in particular.

The last survey on global child labor figures dates from 2021 and found 160 million child laborers, of which around 79 million were engaged in the worst forms of child labor. The child labour figures are updated every four years. It is assumed that the global community’s goal of eliminating child labor by 2025 will certainly be missed. Worse still, there are fears that child labour has even increased again.

For this reason, despite the numerous current crises, we must not lose sight of the goal of combating child labor. XertifiX Social Projects supports social projects in India to prevent child labor and to provide education in schools and bridge schools.

Here you have the opportunity to donate to our social projects!

Please check also: ILO: Klimawandel erhöht Risiko von Kinderarbeit

2024-06-14T11:26:34+02:00June 12th, 2024|

EU supply chain law finally passed

Today (24th May 2024) the EU Supply Chain Act (officially: Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive, CSDDD) was finally passed by the Council of the EU. The EU states now have two years to implement the directive into national law.

The CSDDD gradually applies to companies of different sizes in the EU:

  • It starts in five years with companies with 5,000 or more employees and a turnover of over 1.5 billion euros.
  • After six years, the CSDDD applies to companies with 3,000 employees or more and a turnover of 900 million euros
  • After seven years for companies with 1,000 employees or more and a turnover of 450 million euros

The Supply Chain Act Initiative has put together a few points in which the CSDDD stands out – also compared to the existing LkSG.

In principle, it is very welcome that the CSDDD represents a paradigm shift from voluntary commitments by companies to binding requirements regarding compliance with human rights and environmental/climate protection. With the CSDDD, companies must now carry out a risk assessment of their supply chains and take remedial measures if there are negative impacts on human rights and the environment.

Unlike the LkSG, the CSDDD includes the entire supply chain from the outset, including suppliers such as quarries and mines. When companies identify risks in their supply chains, these must be weighted and addressed as a priority depending on their severity. If, in addition to the risks, it is determined that damage has already been primarily caused by the company and has occurred, then the company must make reparation.

Compared to the LkSG, the CSDDD also covers more human rights and environmental protection criteria: e.g. the right to life and freedom of thought, as well as the right to food, clothing and sanitary facilities. Conversely, the CSDDD puts small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in a better position than under the LkSG, since it requires that access to training and financial support are provided if necessary. Accordingly, large companies are not allowed to pass on reporting obligations to SMEs. Unlike the LkSG, the CSDDD gives those affected the opportunity to sue companies that cause damage under civil law for damages.

What is negative about the CSDDD is that initially only companies with 5,000 or more employees are covered by the directive and that there is a long transition period until companies (of different sizes) have to comply with the directive. It is important here that the German federal government must not fall behind the German LkSG when implementing the directive, which already applies to 1,000 employees and without restriction to a minimum turnover. However, Article 1 Paragraph 2 of the CSDDD applies here, which stipulates that existing protection of human rights and the environment may not be weakened through the implementation of the CSDDD.

For a detailed assessment by the Supply Chain Act Initiative, see here:

“Was liefert das EU-Lieferkettengesetz? Kurzbewertung der EU-Lieferkettenrichtlinie (CSDDD)”

2024-05-30T12:21:30+02:00May 24th, 2024|

On our own behalf: XertifiX standard revision is pending

Every five years we revise our standard with the aim of adapting it to current requirements and the experience of recent years (see the process here).

Anyone interested is invited to take part in the revision process: To do this, please write a short email with the subject “Participation in the revision process” to info [at] xertifix.de. You will then receive the draft of the revised standard and can submit proposed changes to it by June 2024 (extended till end of July 2024!). In addition, XertifiX actively writes to representatives of various stakeholder groups and asks for feedback on the draft standard.

2024-06-14T08:29:20+02:00May 14th, 2024|

EU countries vote for EU supply chain law

On March 15, 2024, after a long struggle, the EU countries finally agreed to a compromise on the EU Supply Chain Act (Directive). The Belgian Council Presidency was able to reach the compromise despite Germany’s abstention. This is a major political success for the EU!

However, it must be noted that the agreement could only be reached in a massively slimmed-down form compared to the original draft from last December.

The directive does not apply to companies with 500 employees or more and a turnover of 150 million euros, but only to significantly larger companies – and only in a graduated form:

  • Initially, the law applies to companies with 5,000 employees or more and a turnover of 1.5 billion euros
  • After 4 years, it affects companies with 4,000 employees or more and a turnover of 900 million euros
  • after another year (i.e. a total of 5 years) for companies with 1,000 employees or more and a turnover of 450 million euros

Nevertheless, the current draft applies a liability rule according to which companies can be held liable in European courts if human rights are violated in their own supply chains.

It remains a big mystery why the FDP could not agree to this weak draft of the EU directive. The FDP’s argument was always a warning against excessive bureaucracy for small and medium-sized companies. This claim was pure nonsense in relation to the original draft; But in relation to the current compromise proposal, the objection is completely absurd. With a view to Germany and the current federal government, the sober conclusion remains that the FDP has broken the agreement in the coalition agreement, which should actually have prompted the German Chancellor to act. Johanna Kusch from the “Initiative Supply Chain Act”, of which XertifiX is also a member, also comments:

“After the long wrangling, the law has unfortunately been significantly weakened and only applies to a few companies It is shameful that the federal government itself could not agree to this version. In doing so, the FDP not only duped the SPD and the Greens, but also acted against the broad majority of the population […] We are disappointed that the project has been so undermined. Chancellor Olaf Scholz could have prevented this if he had put the FDP in its place and stuck to the compromise that had already been made. Instead, he accepted with full eyes that established EU procedures were ignored and that Germany is no longer considered a reliable negotiating partner in the EU.

The EU Parliament still has to approve the directive in April, which is considered very likely.

Please see: EU states agree on supply chain law – Germany abstains

2024-03-15T13:55:54+01:00March 15th, 2024|

EU supply chain law still without majority

On Wednesday, February 28, 2024, a debate on the planned EU supply chain law was scheduled at relatively short notice. It became apparent that there was no majority in favor of passing the law. This is more than unfortunate! And indirectly a consequence of the policy of the German government. The FDP’s refusal to recognize and accept a negotiated legal compromise and instead to stir up sentiment among other governments against this compromise has led to German abstention and uncertainty in other EU countries.

As the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports, there would not have been a majority for the law even with the approval of the federal government. This means that what many predicted has come true: that the blockade by the FDP and the resulting abstention by the German federal government ultimately led to the failure of the law!

See also: EU states bury supply chain law

2024-03-12T12:32:52+01:00February 28th, 2024|

Vote on the EU Supply Chain Act: Chancellor Scholz must secure a democratically found compromise!

Federal Minister Heil told Reuters on February 06 that Germany is expected to abstain from the vote on the EU supply chain law (“Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD)”). “I am very disappointed that Germany has to abstain from the upcoming vote due to an ideologically motivated blockade of the FDP,” said Heil. “An EU supply chain directive strengthens human rights in international trade relations, for example when it comes to combating child and forced labor.”

Germany’s abstention would endanger the adoption of the Supply Chain Act, as it is feared that other states will also abstain or even take a position against it.

An EU supply chain law would also be in the interest of the German economy. This would level the playing field for all companies. Instead, German companies must continue to follow the German supply chain law – while this does not apply to companies in other EU countries. Just today, numerous small, medium and large companies published their support for the CSDDD in a statement. These include companies such as ALDI Süd, KIK, EPSON, VAUDE etc. In contrast to the FDP’s claims, the companies assess the EU directive as practicable (“appropriate and implementable”) and are therefore demanding that Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz will “secure this democratically found compromise and thus provides companies with legal certainty and fair competitive conditions.”

See: Heil no longer believes in a German yes to the EU supply chain law
See: EU Supply Chain Act: Blocking a compromise means creating legal uncertainty
See: Business & Human Rights Centre
See: Initiative supply chain law

2024-02-29T09:09:15+01:00February 6th, 2024|

Protest action in front of the FDP European Party Conference

“Stop human rights violations and environmental destruction in the supply chains of European companies. And: Stop the FDP’s attempts to stop the EU supply chain law!”

That is the message of the protest action by the Supply Chain Act Initiative on the occasion of the FDP European Party Congress on January 28th in Berlin. The EU supply chain law is expected to be passed in the coming weeks. In December 2023, the Commission, Parliament and EU member states agreed on a compromise – with the participation of the federal government and Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP).
Partly at his insistence, the law was weakened in key areas and is no longer a “big hit”. But it is an important step forward for human rights and the environment without placing undue burden on companies. The FDP is now retrospectively and single-handedly questioning this Europe-wide compromise. The Supply Chain Act Initiative is protesting against this. The alliance of more than 140 civil society organizations expects Chancellor Olaf Scholz to give his say and a clear commitment to the EU Supply Chain Act.

Text/Foto: Initiative Lieferkettengesetz/Paul Lovis Wagner

See also: Unternehmen wollen Regeln (TAZ vom 28.01.2024 / Autor: Jonas Seufert)
It says, among other things: “Billion-dollar shipping companies, a large German supermarket, a furniture giant, a pharmaceutical company, medium-sized clothing manufacturers from southern Germany – they all want politicians to regulate their supply chains: with a strong EU supply chain law.
That is remarkable. Because at the moment it seems as if the entire economy in Germany is up in arms against the law, which is intended to create uniform rules for the protection of human rights in the supply chains of larger companies. Too much bureaucracy, they say, an overburdening of small companies, the end of Europe as a business location. […] But if you ask around at companies, you will get a much more differentiated picture.

Statement from the CDA

Even the German CDA is urging the federal government to support the EU supply chain law. This is what Karl-Josef Laumann, Minister of Social Affairs in North Rhine-Westphalia and chairman of the Christian Democratic Workers’ Association (CDA), the “social wing” of the CDU, says:

“Human rights and sustainability are no longer supposedly “soft” topics in the economy. More and more companies want the state to create a better “level playing field”, i.e. to enforce the same minimum standards for everyone. Otherwise those companies that are indifferent to environmental protection and labor rights can gain a price advantage.

Sustainability in the supply chain is important for a majority of companies. According to their own statements, the bureaucratic effort for the affected companies is limited and only makes products and services minimally more expensive. Nachteile im globalen Wettbewerb befürchtet kaum einer. Hardly anyone fears disadvantages in global competition.”

See: Laumann gegen deutsche Blockadehaltung beim Lieferkettengesetz

2024-02-06T15:56:53+01:00January 29th, 2024|

Meeting in the Chancellery on the EU Supply Chain Act

A crucial meeting between the relevant ministries will take place in the Chancellery today, January 19th, 2024, at which it is expected to decide whether the Federal Government in the Council will approve the EU Supply Chain Act or abstain. Therefore, together with the Supply Chain Act Initiative, we are calling on our Chancellor Olaf Scholz to show his colors:

2024-01-22T10:44:22+01:00January 19th, 2024|

New resolution: FDP rejects EU supply chain law

In the coalition agreement two years ago, the “AMPEL”-Coalition agreed to support the EU supply chain law. It states unequivocally: “We support an effective EU supply chain law, based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which does not overwhelm small and medium-sized companies.” (siehe unten).

Now – shortly before the successful adoption of the EU Supply Chain Act – things suddenly sound completely different for the FDP. The FDP Presidium published a resolution paper on January 15, 2024, which states: “We reject the current draft of the EU Supply Chain Directive. This would create disproportionate bureaucratic hurdles and legal uncertainty…”

This is questionable in itself against the background of the joint coalition agreement. However, it also overlooks the fact that many companies (including medium-sized businesses) welcome a stricter EU supply chain law. A recent survey of 2,000 companies by the Handelsblatt Research Institute (HRI) showed that only 7 percent reject an EU supply chain law, while 44 percent of companies are already paying attention to sustainability in the supply chain and 37 percent are already partially doing so.

Johannes Heeg from the Supply Chain Act Initiative, of which XertifiX is also a member, writes: “The EU supply chain law is not about annoying bureaucracy, but about fundamental human rights and environmental standards. With its U-turn shortly before the finish line, the FDP is jeopardizing Germany’s credibility in the EU when it comes to sustainability.With its blockade stance, the FDP is also isolating itself internationally: the liberal group in the European Parliament celebrated the agreement on a compromise on the EU supply chain law in December as a great success.Chancellor Olaf Scholz is now responsible for protecting the credibility of the federal government in the EU.

See: Coalition Agreement

See: Resolution paper of the FDP Presidium published on January 15, 2024

See: Handelsblatt Research Institute (HRI) about the Supply Chain Law

2024-01-18T09:49:14+01:00January 15th, 2024|

One year of the Supply Chain Act / Extension from January 1st, 2024

The German Due Diligence Act (LkSG) has now been in force for almost a year. This means that all companies with 3,000 or more employees must, among other things, adopt a policy statement, analyze the risks among direct suppliers and, if necessary, take corrective measures if risks are identified. From January 1, 2024, the LkSG even applies to companies with 1,000 employees.

The Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the LkSG. This can even impose sanctions on companies for violations of the LkSG. In the first year, however, BAFA has not yet imposed any sanctions on companies. This is quite deliberate, because – as Torsten Safarik, head of BAFA, explains: “We see ourselves as partners of companies in order to successfully implement the law together,” as can be seen in an article in the Tagesschau.

There is also criticism of this approach because it means that changes are achieved less quickly than human rights violations in supply chains might require. The criticism is certainly justified. However, as always, it is important to find the balance between reality and expectations. The new EU supply chain directive with civil liability and applicability to companies with 500 or more employees will certainly increase the pressure on everyone involved.

See: Article in the Tagesschau

2023-12-21T12:49:54+01:00December 21st, 2023|
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