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|

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|

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