Economy fights against Europ. Supply Chain Act

Sections of the European economy are fighting openly or behind the doors against the planned European supply chain law. The organizations “Corporate Europe Observatory” and the “European Coalition for Corporate Justice” have written a study that makes transparent how the economy has tried to influence politics in their favor in the last few months in order to achieve a possible binding European regulation dilute.

Among other things, the conclusion of the study says: The industry “that rather than covering global supply chains, the law should be limited to tier one (ie just the companies’ immediate suppliers, rather than those further down the supply chain). It also lobbies for ‘safe harbours’ that strip away liability, rejecting measures that would improve access to justice for victims.” Instead, it must now be a matter of creating a law “that actually ends environmental and human rights violations, holds companies accountable if they do violate these rights, and brings justice to victims and the environment.” The prerequisite for this, however, is that the drama from Germany is not repeated at EU level, as a result of which an actually very well-written law was massively watered down after a lobby battle. Much remains to be done on the way to a good EU supply chain law!

Please refer: Off the hook? How business lobbies against liability for human rights and environmental abuses

 

2021-06-23T10:25:38+02:00June 23rd, 2021|

Alarming figures on the worldwide development of child labor

On the occasion of the Day against Child Labor on June 12, 2021, the ILO and UNICEF publish the first joint study on child labor. Accordingly, between 2016 and 2020, worldwide child labor increased by 8.4 million to 160 million child laborers. These numbers are so alarming because the trend in the decline in child labor of the previous years has reversed. This means that the great goal of the United Nations – the elimination of all child labor by 2025 – has moved a long way off!

This is sobering and sad news!

In view of the ongoing global corona pandemic, which is particularly afflicting the countries of the global south, it is even to be expected that child labor will continue to increase. ILO / UNICEF estimate that the pandemic could force a further 9 million children into child labor. One simulation model even speaks of 46 million possible new child workers if insufficient measures are taken to counteract them.

These are sober numbers we are juggling with here. But: Every single child worker has a terrible fate of poverty, coercion and need that makes these children, who, like all children, would have deserved a carefree childhood, into child laborers. And every additional child laborer ensures that global poverty persists, if not increases again.

XertifiX has already achieved a lot in the fight against child labor in the Indian natural stone sector in recent years. But the expected setbacks due to the ongoing corona pandemic will probably also be felt in the natural stone sector. XertifiX auditors will therefore pay more attention to what it looks like in the area around the quarries and processors, and whether the workers’ children can also attend school. One can only hope that the gloomy forecasts will not come true – and that we can all build on earlier successes in the fight against child labor!

See at ILO.org: Child Labour: Global estimates 2020, trends and the road forward

Report “Child Labour: Global estimates 2020, trends and the road forward”

See at ILO.de: Weltweite Kinderarbeit steigt auf 160 Millionen

2021-06-12T09:25:22+02:00June 12th, 2021|

A supply chain law in Germany: Finally!

Today the German Bundestag passed a “Supply Chain Due Diligence Act” (LkSG). The law will come into force in 2023 and will initially cover companies with 3,000 or more employees and then companies with 1,000 or more employees from 2024. From now on, these companies must identify risks for human rights violations and environmental degradation with direct suppliers and, if necessary, also with indirect suppliers and take countermeasures and document them.

The German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act passed today is a political compromise. A number of points are to be welcomed from a civil society perspective, as companies are obliged to contribute to greater human rights and environmental care in the supply chains. The Supply Chain Act initiative, of which XertifiX is also a member,has put together in a detailed analysis the decisive points to be assessed positively and critically. Among other things, the following can be rated positively:

    • Introduction of a necessary paradigm shift in Germany: No longer voluntary CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), but binding human rights and environmental requirements for companies.
    • Preventive effect through the law: Companies must change their behavior and prevent damage to people and the environment through preventive measures.
    • Strong official control and enforcement of the law: If companies violate their duty of care, they act improperly and can be fined by the competent authority, the Federal Office for Economic and Export Control (BAFA) .
    • By law, those affected can demand that BAFA take action: If those affected claim against the Federal Office for Economic and Export Control (BAFA) that their rights are due to non-compliance with due diligence If the company is injured or threatened immediately, BAFA must take action and check whether there has been a violation and work to ensure that the company eliminates it.
    • The law introduces litigation: In future, those affected will be able to authorize NGOs and trade unions through the existing legal channels to bring their rights to German courts in their own name.

At the same time, the compromise falls far too short on many points:

  • The duties of care apply in full only to the company’s own business area and to direct, but not to indirect, suppliers.
  • There is no civil liability rule according to which companies are liable for damage caused by failure to observe their duties of care.
  • The law only marginally takes environmental aspects into account.
  • The number of companies recorded is too low ( not will be all large companies with over 250 employees as well as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in sectors with particular human rights risks recorded).
  • There are large gaps in the issues of gender equality and indigenous participation rights .
  • The BAFA is a federal authority in the business area of ​​the Federal Ministry of Economics (BMWi), which has decisively blocked an ambitious supply chain law in the last few months.

The law should therefore not simply serve as a model for a European supply chain law. Therefore it can be said:

We are still a long way from our goal, but we are finally at the start!

Please refer: Analysis of the supply chain law initiative: what the new law delivers

On the website of the Supply Chain Act initiative: Analysis

2021-06-11T12:22:17+02:00June 11th, 2021|

ILO / UNICEF conference On the day against child labor

On the occasion of the Day against Child Labor (June 12th), the International Labor Organization (ILO / ILO) is organizing a virtual conference together with UNICEF on June 10th, 2021 at 2.30 p.m. (CET). Everyone is invited to take part; no registration is necessary!

The first part of the event will focus on a discussion of ILO-UNICEF’s newly published global estimates and trends on child labor. Participants in the panel include Guy Ryder (General Director, ILO), Henrietta Fore (Executive Director, UNICEF), and Qu Dongyu (General Director, FAO).

This is followed by an interactive discussion between high-level speakers and youth representatives on the path to 2025, highlighting efforts to implement the International Year’s “Promises of Action 2021”.

The event ends with the announcement of the winners of the music against child labor competition by the prominent jury.

 

Link to follow the event online on June 10th, 2021 at 2.30 p.m. (CET): To the live event
The arrangement will be translated into English, French and Spanish.

2021-06-10T17:16:28+02:00June 10th, 2021|

Call for donations in 2021!

Unfortunately, we are currently receiving worrying news from India. The Indian mutation of the corona virus ensures a massive spread of the virus and extremely high mortality. There is a lack of medical equipment and medicines. Internationally, India is therefore also supported by governments. However, the renewed strict lockdown in many parts of the country poses a further threat to the population. This is how we hear from our auditors in India:

“There is a strict lockdown in Rajasthan. People cannot move from one district to another. This affects the livelihood of many workers who used to go to work in the cities and return in the evening. […]

The government appeals to employers to look after their workers and provide payments and all possible assistance for their welfare. In many places, however, this is not implemented. The permanent workers of the production site / factories receive the monthly payment from their employer / owner, but contract workers or day laborers do not have this privilege. Local workers who migrated from one district to another are affected by travel restrictions as well as less production work.”

So many employees (contract workers or day laborers) and their families are threatened with hunger. There is also a lack of hygiene articles and protective equipment to be able to protect themselves effectively against the corona virus. As in the previous year, we want to provide direct help to the most severely affected employees through our auditors.

Please help too!

We know that this time is very difficult for all of us too! But if you can still do without something, it would be wonderful! In this case, please donate with the donation keyword “Corona” an:

XertifiX Sozialprojekte e.V.

We collect the money and send it directly to our partners in India. They will use the money for food for those in need in this corona crisis. 100% of the money reaches the needy.

We thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

2021-05-17T17:30:47+02:00May 17th, 2021|

Marie Nasemann on the Supply Chain Act (in German)

Marie Nasemann, model, presenter, actress and fair fashion blogger calls for a strong supply chain law in a video and thus draws attention to the supply chain letter.

Please refer:
Twitter: @marie__nasemann
Instagram @marienasemann, @fairknallt
Facebook @MarieNasemann

2021-05-05T09:52:23+02:00May 5th, 2021|

ZDF “HeuteShow” on the Supply Chain Act

The ZDF on the background of the contribution:
“It is intended to help respect human rights, curb child labor and starvation wages worldwide: The Federal Government’s Supply Chain Act. German companies are to be obliged to ensure that local social and ecological standards are met by foreign suppliers. The law is to apply from 2023 to companies with more than 3,000 employees and from 2024 to companies with more than 1,000. The Federal Cabinet passed the draft law on March 3, and it was debated in the Bundestag in April.

In mid-February, Economics Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU), Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) and Development Minister Gerd Müller (CSU) presented the draft of the Supply Chain Act at a press conference. In addition to Hubertus Heil, Gerd Müller in particular is considered a staunch supporter of the law. At the meeting he emphasized, for example, that the importance of the supply chain law goes beyond Germany: “It triggers a debate in Germany and in Europe about the future of globalization, about fair globalization.” Müller’s aim was to get companies to commit to violations of human rights also have to be civilly liable within the supply chains – this was not implemented in the current decision, however. […]

The CDU Economic Council in particular is working hard on the supply chain law and is trying to prevent it or at least dilute it. In February he called on the Union parliamentary group to stop “this project”: “In the middle of the Corona crisis, the SPD is stubbornly working on its left ideological issues, while numerous entrepreneurs are afraid of their existence.“

Please refer: What the Fakt!? Lieferkettensägenmassaker – Was bringt das deutsche Lieferkettengesetz? (German)

2021-05-05T08:47:59+02:00May 3rd, 2021|

ILO: International Year for the Elimination of Child Labor

The International Labor Organization (ILO) has called 2021 the year for the elimination of child labor. Individuals and companies are called upon to be particularly active this year in order to jointly fight child labor worldwide!

Everyone is called:

  • Write to a decision maker
  • Raise funds for a charity or school dealing with prevention of child labour
  • Read about fair trade and how it benefits children of poor families
  • Educate yourself and then share what you learn with friends, family, co-workers, and others, and work together to increase your “voting” power

“Individuals have power when they work together in a coordinated global movement.”

Companies and other stakeholders are called upon:

  • Give action pledge in 2021, e.g.:Development of a regional roadmap for ending child labor with milestones that can be reached based on time and suggested resource allocations.
  • Draft new laws and / or guidelines to encourage public procurement as a tool to combat child labor.
  • Development of a regional fund to end child labor in 2021.

It is recommended that you download the Action Pledge – Practical Guide:

2021 Stakeholder Action Pledge – Practical-Guide

2021-04-20T10:04:54+02:00April 20th, 2021|

Supply Chain Act: The Bundestag has to improve!

As reported, the federal government finally agreed on a draft of the supply chain law last week! Good thing: This is the first time that companies’ human rights due diligence obligations are regulated in Germany.

But the bill is not enough, because:

  • It stipulates that companies only have to take action with indirect suppliers when there are concrete indications of human rights violations. That is absurd!
  • In addition, there is no civil liability rule. People affected by human rights violations will continue to find it difficult to claim damages from German courts.
  • The draft law takes too little account of environmental standards!
  • The law should only apply to around 2,900 companies with more than 1,000 employees.

The good news: the law is not ready yet. In April the Bundestag will discuss the Supply Chain Act. The MPs then have the opportunity to request improvements.

Ask your MP to take action accordingly. The Supply Chain Act initiative has prepared a serial letter with which you can write to your MPs directly. Practical: You just enter your postcode and the members of your constituency appear for selection. Therefore:

Write a supply chain letter now!

2021-03-15T15:40:33+01:00March 15th, 2021|

German Federal government agrees on a weakened supply chain law

After months of negotiations, the federal government has agreed on a supply chain law. From XertifiX’s point of view, this is basically a step in the right direction. However, the initial limit of 3000 employees, for whom the law will apply from 2023, is a disappointing limitation. The initiative supply chain law, of which XertifiX is a member, evaluates the law accordingly.

In our view, a more effective law would have been possible and desirable. But apparently the lobbying work of the business associations prevented an effective protection of human rights and the environment. The lack of civil liability means that victims of serious human rights violations are denied improved legal protection before German courts.

2021-02-15T08:48:27+01:00February 12th, 2021|

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