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EU supply chain law (provisional) passed

Yesterday, the EU Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD), which aims to protect the environment and human rights in the EU and worldwide.

The Due Diligence Directive imposes obligations on large companies regarding actual and potential negative impacts on human rights and the environment. This affects EU companies with more than 500 employees and a net turnover of 150 million euros and includes their own business activities, those of their subsidiaries and those of their business partners.

Companies must therefore carry out a risk analysis of their supply chains and, if necessary, initiate measures to minimize the risks. The directive also strengthens access to justice for those affected (“civil liability”), according to which those affected by negative impacts (including trade unions and NGOs) have 5 years to make claims. If companies violate the directive, they can be subject to penalties equal to 5% of the company’s net sales.

The provisional agreement reached with the European Parliament must now be approved and officially adopted by both institutions (which is considered a formality in Brussels).

It is great that the Due Diligence Directive has now been adopted in this form and will give all European companies legal certainty in the future and a level playing field in matters of human rights and environmental protection for companies with 500 or more employees. In the last point, the EU directive goes beyond the German Supply Chain Act, which can be seen as a great success and a step in the right direction!

Siehe: Council and Parliament strike deal to protect environment and human rights

Source: Corporate sustainability due diligence: Council and Parliament strike deal to protect environment and human rights

2024-01-08T09:18:46+01:00December 15th, 2023|

BMZ / BGR develop certification system for mineral raw materials

Tin, tungsten and tantalum (coltan) are mined and traded in the Great Lakes region of Africa (Angola, Burundi, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Central African Republic, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia). These raw materials enable the (illegal) enrichment of unlawful militias. This also puts international companies under pressure not to trade in these conflict minerals. The result is that companies are withdrawing from the region – which in turn deprives the local population of access to income.

The federal government is supporting the Great Lakes region in establishing a transparent and credible certification system for the most important mineral raw materials (tin, tungsten and coltan). To this end, the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) is carrying out a long-term project. The central points of the project are:

  1. Through training and further education in mining supervision and inspection, national authorities are enabled to ensure the sustainability of raw material mining.
  2. Supporting the Great Lakes Region in implementing the regional certification mechanism.
  3. The sustainable implementation of the “Analytical Fingerprint” (AFP) developed by BGR.

The traceability of the supply chain is ensured based on the mineralogical and geochemical compositions of the mineral concentrates. However, this system is only used if doubts about traceability arise when the supply chain is checked by external auditors. The project will run until the end of 2024.

See: Supraregional Africa – German development cooperation with the ICGLR – Support for regional raw material certification

2023-12-06T17:41:51+01:00December 6th, 2023|

SMEs want human rights enforced

The Frankfurter Rundschau reports that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) generally support compliance with human rights in global supply chains. This was the result of a survey by the Hamburg Foundation for Business Ethics. At the same time, the survey shows that companies fear that the Supply Chain Act (LkSG) will lead to companies focusing primarily on “compliance”, i.e. on legal certainty – and less on actual changes in favor of human rights.

There is also criticism of the behavior of the business associations, which “first ignored the fundamentally positive attitude of many SMEs, then relied on prevention for too long and finally did not contribute enough pragmatically to the concrete design,” as the study quotes.

See: Article from the Frankfurter Rundschau

2023-12-06T14:54:04+01:00December 6th, 2023|

OECD updates guidelines on corporate due diligence

The Business & Human Rights Resource Center reports that the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has updated its corporate due diligence guidelines. Along with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles, these guidelines are the international reference for the implementation of companies’ due diligence obligations.

The update involves, among other things, companies having to specify that CO2 reduction targets are scientifically based, that not only the supply chains for the production of a product must be examined, but also the potential use of a product, as well as a tightening of the requirements for combating corruption.

See: Business & Human Rights Resource Center article

2023-12-06T11:55:55+01:00December 6th, 2023|

ZDF donation gala in favor of XertifiX social projects

This year’s ZDF donation gala with Johannes B. Kerner collects, among other things, for our school project for carpet weaving children, which is monitored by XertifiX social projects. The gala will be broadcast on ZDF on December 17, 2022 from 8:15 p.m.

In Agra, children from the age of 5 have to weave carpets and are thus robbed of their childhood: they can neither play nor attend a kindergarten or later school. They remain trapped in the spiral of poverty into which they were born. In order to offer these children a way out of this situation, our partner organization Vikas Santhan is running a school project. In this way, these children are taught basic content and are gradually prepared for attending a state school.

Broadcast date: 17.12.22 from 8.15 p.m. on ZDF

ZDF announcement: The ” Carpet Children” of India

Please refer: Radhika (8) knüpft Teppiche für deutsche Wohnzimmer

2022-12-13T09:21:56+01:00December 9th, 2022|

Study: Proposals to regulate audits and certifications

The purpose of the new study was to analyze how well the NAP UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and where there are still deficits. It should also be developed which important new topics in the field of human rights have meanwhile been added. Regarding the latter point, it is noticeable that in 2015 audits and certifications still had no role in the Report played. In contrast, the new study from 2022 makes some suggestions for the classification and further development of audits and certifications.

This is due to the fact that audits are playing an increasingly important role in the implementation of supply chain laws such as the LkSG. On the one hand, this is good news, but on the other hand, it also makes it clear that the legislature must pay more attention to the quality and reliability of certifications. Among other things, it proposes:

  • The federal government should define binding quality criteria that make it possible to measure the validity of audits and certifications and to establish comparability between different providers.
  • There should be an independent quality check and monitoring of sustainability labels and certifications.
  • Seals should be awarded by independent third parties and not by the manufacturing companies themselves.
  • In the context of the implementation of the LkSG, seals/certifications should only have a supporting function and should not be approved as “safe harbour” solutions for companies.

XertifiX would expressly welcome it if the government would take more action in this area in order to achieve quality assurance for the audits and certifications offered and used on the market. Especially with a view to smaller companies (“SMEs”), it must be emphasized that reliable seals/certifications can take on a significant relieving function, which should not be underestimated. But even in these cases, it goes without saying that the “ultimate responsibility” and liability for their own supply chains must always lie with the companies themselves.

Please refer: National Baseline Assessment: Contribution to updating the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (German)

bzw.: pdf (German)

2022-08-29T16:03:44+02:00August 25th, 2022|

ILO report: Link between social protection and child labour

As many know, simply condemning child labor as such is far too short-sighted. One also has to consider the context that leads to child labor. We shouldn’t just blame employers for employing child labourers. We also need to examine: How do these and other employers pay adult workers? Are living wages paid? Are there social security systems that benefit workers? Is occupational safety important to prevent (avoidable) accidents? etc.

A new joint study by the ILO and UNICEF demonstrates the direct connection between social security systems and child labour. The study also makes concrete suggestions as to how social security systems should be structured in order to prevent child labour.

Please refer: The role of social protection in the elimination of child labour

2022-06-30T17:01:55+02:00June 30th, 2022|

Health and safety as the 5th ILO core convention

In a landmark decision, the United Nations International Labor Conference (ILC) ruled that “health and safety at work” should be upgraded as the fifth ILO core labor standard. Every year, 3 million workers die at work and tens of millions of workers suffer injuries and illnesses from their jobs.

Unions will now stand up worldwide to ensure that as many countries as possible adopt and implement all ILO conventions on health and safety, such as the right to risk consultation, elimination of toxic substances, provision of appropriate protective equipment and the implementation of protective measures and training.

Please refer: ILO: Major breakthrough on occupational health and safety

 

2022-06-21T11:06:46+02:00June 21st, 2022|

Europ. Supply chain law: more than 100 companies make demands on the EU Commission

More than 100 companies and investors are calling for an effective EU supply chain law. Various companies such as Ikea, Danone, Epson and Hapag-Lloyd as well as numerous outdoor companies such as Vaude, Schöffel, Jack Wolfskin and Deuter have published a statement with demands on this.

At the beginning of the statement, the companies express great concern that the publication of a proposal for a corresponding law by the EU Commission has been significantly delayed (see below), and they call on the EU Commission to finally meet its responsibility.

A total of 5 demands are mentioned that the EU Commission should take into account, which include: The legislation must apply to all companies so that the same competitive conditions are created for all companies (and not, as in Germany, for companies from 3000 (from 2023 ) or 1000 (from 2024) employees). The due diligence obligations should apply to the entire value chain (and not only to the first supplier, as is the case in German law). And the law should contain a liability rule that allows victims to obtain compensation (which is also not provided for in German law).

The EU Commission has now announced that it will publish its draft on February 23, 2022. We will report here as soon as the draft is available.

See: Making EU legislation on mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence effective

2022-02-09T16:42:46+01:00February 9th, 2022|
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