XertifiX chairwoman receives Federal Cross of Merit

We are pleased that our Chairwoman Ingrid Sehrbrock received the Federal Cross of Merit from Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke in the name of Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier last Thursday. The Federal President is thus honoring Sehrbrock’s years of commitment to justice through his work with the CDU, Care and XertifiX. In her voluntary work, Sehrbrock has campaigned, among other things, for equal rights for women, better working conditions for textile workers and quarry workers, as well as for school and social projects.

We warmly congratulate Ingrid Sehrbrock on this well-deserved award!

2022-11-10T11:15:35+01:00October 7th, 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|

Film tip on the occasion of the day against child labor

On the occasion of this year’s Day Against Child Labor (June 12), we recommend the documentary “Riders of Destiny”. The film tells the story of two little boys, Sila and Firman. Sila and Firman are child jockeys who risk their lives to take care of their loved ones. At only 5 and 7 years old, they are responsible for their families.

This week the tv format “Volle Kanne” (ZDF) reported on the film and then interviewed the XertifiX co-founder Benjamin Pütter on the subject of child labour.

Please refer: Riders of Destiny

Please refer: Volle Kanne vom 13.06.2022 (ab Minute 3 und 37 Sek.)

2022-06-14T15:23:14+02:00June 13th, 2022|

EU Due Diligence Directive: Commission falls behind on announcements

On February 23, 2022, the EU Commission presented its proposal for an EU Due Diligence Directive. This is a big step forward towards a more just and fair globalization! It is also very welcome that the draft directive closes some gaps in German law:

  • The guideline holds companies responsible along their entire supply chain,
  • There is also civil liability.

The draft stipulates that EU companies with more than 500 employees and a turnover of 150 million euros and in risk sectors for EU companies with more than 250 employees and a turnover of 40 million euros must take responsibility for the supply chain. This is a clear step forward compared to Germany (where only companies with 1,000 employees will be included from 2024). But even the EU limit is not enough, insofar as the directive would probably only apply to less than one percent of EU companies.

As welcome as the inclusion of a liability rule in the directive is, it must be feared that companies could exploit possible loopholes. Because the draft directive provides that companies can meet their obligations by including certain clauses in their contracts with suppliers and outsourcing the verification process. This would give companies the opportunity to pass on their responsibility to their suppliers.

It is also problematic that the due diligence requirements are limited to ‘established business relationships’. In principle, it is therefore possible for companies to evade this by frequently changing suppliers.

For this reason, the Supply Chain Law Initiative, of which XertifiX is a member, calls on the federal government to use its influence in the EU to advocate for improvements so that Europe ultimately has a really effective supply chain law, as is also stipulated in the German coalition agreement.

Please refer: Proposal for a Directive on corporate sustainability due diligence and annex

Please see also: Dangerous gaps undermine EU Commission’s new legislation on sustainable supply chains

Please see also: Initiative Lieferkettengesetz

2022-02-25T10:38:07+01:00February 23rd, 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|

The EU Commission postpones the draft of the LkSG for the third time

For the third time, the EU Commission has postponed the draft of the planned European supply chain law. The draft will therefore no longer be published this year as planned, but rather in March 2022 at the earliest. No reasons are given for the postponement. It is believed that the intervention of the “Regulatory Scrutiny Board” is responsible for this. This is a body of dubious democratic legitimation within the Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/law-making-process/regulatory-scrutiny-board_de

Numerous European civil society organizations and trade unions have therefore written an open letter to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. There it says among other things:

“Despite your promise to come up with a ‘solid and balanced’ proposal in 2021, press reports have warned us that the SCG initiative is being further delayed. It is unacceptable that such an important new law, which can help millions of people demand justice against human rights abuses and help protect our environment and the climate, be postponed for the third time.

We are also deeply concerned about the total lack of transparency about the reasons for this new delay. The uncertainty about the fate of the legislation is very harmful to people suffering from irresponsible corporate behavior and to the environment. This inexplicable delay risks undermining the trust that European citizens, local and international civil society and trade union organizations, workers and victims of corporate abuse have placed in the EU to regulate sustainable and responsible business in the wake of the COVID pandemic and the climate and Biodiversity crisis. “

Please refer:

December 10th is Human Rights Day. We would have liked to have been able to announce news from the EU that day promising increasing protection of human rights. It is therefore all the more important to support initiatives that campaign for human rights around the world, such as XertifiX or the Supply Chain Act initiative .

2021-12-15T10:54:38+01:00December 10th, 2021|

New federal government is committed to the supply chain law

SPD, Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen and the FDP today presented the coalition agreement to the future federal government. In it they commit themselves to the German and the planned EU supply chain law. The “Initiative Supply Chain Act” comments on this:

This announcement must now be followed by action: the new federal government should actively campaign for an effective EU supply chain law in Brussels. Those affected by human rights violations finally need the opportunity to sue for damages from companies. The EU supply chain law must make a contribution to climate and environmental protection. And it must ensure that due diligence obligations apply without gradations for the entire value chain – as provided for in the UN Guiding Principles.

Please refer: Coalition agreement “Dare to make more progress. Alliance for Freedom, Justice and Sustainability “

See: Initiative supply chain law

2021-11-24T17:26:54+01:00November 24th, 2021|

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|

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