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|

Minister Altmaier (CDU) is still boycotting supply chain law

In the dispute (between the Ministry of Labor and Development on the one hand and the Ministry of Economic Affairs on the other), Ministers Heil (SPD) and Müller (CSU) presented a compromise proposal for a supply chain law. As can be seen in today’s Handelsblatt, the compromise offer only provides for fines and administrative penalties, such as the exclusion of a company from public contracts. This actually fulfills one of Altmaier’s central requirements. This compromise proposal should now go to the coalition committee.

According to Handelsblatt, Minister Altmaier is still sticking to his blockade: according to this, companies should only be responsible for the first link in the supply chain, i.e. their direct suppliers. The suppliers of the suppliers, e.g. raw material suppliers, would then be left out. The Supply Chain Act initiative, of which XertifiX is a member, is correspondingly critical of this initiative by Altmaier:

The limitation of the duty of care to direct suppliers, which Altmaier also called for, would finally reduce the law to absurdity, since it would then neither cover child labor on cocoa plantations nor environmental damage in raw material extraction […] Such a law would run counter to any idea of corporate human rights responsibility . This would mean that Germany would lag far behind international standards and would also thwart the current negotiations at EU level. We therefore expect Angela Merkel, Armin Laschet and the other members of the coalition committee to finally make a clear commitment to the coalition agreement and to pass the present compromise for a supply chain law now without further watering it down and delaying it.“, said Johannes Heeg, spokesman for the civil society alliance “Initiative Supply Chain Act”.

Please refer: Gegen Kinderarbeit und Umweltzerstörung: Wirtschaftsminister Altmaier blockiert Lieferkettengesetz  (German)

2021-02-15T08:48:44+01:00February 3rd, 2021|

A big step towards the EU supply chain law

“The Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament yesterday voted for a European supply chain law. … The committee has thus voted in favor of a proposal on what a European supply chain law should look like – namely effectively. Companies should be obliged to avoid human rights violations and environmental destruction along their entire value chain. If companies fail to comply, they should be able to be sanctioned and made liable.

So is that all good? Can we lean back in Germany now because the EU is now taking care of everything?

No, on the contrary. A German supply chain law is more important than ever. Because the EU supply chain law is everything, just not a sure-fire success. The way there is still long, full of obstacles and will probably take several years. It is therefore crucial that Germany lead by example. If the largest economy in Europe gives its companies clear rules on human rights and environmental standards, then it is very likely that the EU will follow suit: The German supply chain law could become a blueprint for a European solution. That is why an effective, far-reaching law is so important in Germany – and a weak law so fatal.”

Siehe: EU macht großen Schritt für Menschenrechte und Umwelt – was heißt das für das Lieferkettengesetz?

2021-02-15T08:48:55+01:00January 28th, 2021|

Oxfam study: Covid exacerbates poverty and inequality worldwide

In a study, Oxfam described the catastrophic effects of the corona pandemic with the consequences of growing inequality and poverty, or in the words of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres:

The COVID-19 pandemic has played an important  role in highlighting growing inequalities. It exposed the myth that everyone is in the same boat. While we are all floating on the same sea, it’s clear that some are in superyachts, while others are clinging to the drifting  debris.“

This can already be seen in the first few months in the growing gap between rich and poor. However – according to Oxfam – this would not have to be accepted, but the governments could respond appropriately with the right measures, among other things…

  • … governments must recognize the value of care and welfare systems and invest in free quality public services and social protection to support everyone, from cradle to grave
  • … governments … must protect and empower all workers by mandating dignified working conditions and fair wages for all, and living wages for all workers, along with ensuring the right to collective organization and unionization of workers, so that employers and large shareholders can be held accountable
  • … closing down tax havens, ending wasteful tax competition and ensuring fair levels of taxation on the most profitable multinational corporations and the wealthiest individuals offers an obvious solution, as recently recommended by the IMF

Please refer:

2021-02-15T08:49:21+01:00January 28th, 2021|

BaWü: Parliament decides to ban child labor tombstones

Today, Wednesday, January 27th, 2021, the state parliament in Baden-Württemberg decided that the municipalities may ban tombstones from child labor. It is now stipulated in the amendment law that this is to be proven by “proven certificates”. This includes XertifiX and other certificates that is “awarded authenticity on generally accessible and recognized platforms after evaluation of the certification process and publication of the results obtained”. The plus seal from XertifiX receives the top grade on such a platform from the federal government (best seal of all natural stone seals).

Please refer: 2021-01-27 BaWü Änderung_Bestattgesetz_Entwurf (German)

 

2021-02-15T08:50:01+01:00January 27th, 2021|

EU: Consultation on EU supply chain law

The EU Commission is currently conducting the public consultation on “Sustainable Corporate Governance”. Among other things, it also deals with corporate human rights and ecological due diligence.

In order to increase the pressure and maximize our chances of the Commission coming up with a strong proposal for a directive, it is important that as many individuals as possible also support the project.

“Raise your voice to hold business accountable!”

“We need as many people as possible to convince the European Commission to change the rules of the game to end corporate impunity and enforce human rights.

The clock is ticking.

Help us build pressure and have your say until 8 February 2021!

Companies and NOGs can enter their position directly on the EU website.

2021-02-15T08:50:13+01:00January 22nd, 2021|

Fact check: Can a supply chain law even be expected of the economy?

Again and again representatives of the economy raise the accusation that the economy in Germany is exposed to incalculable liability risks due to a supply chain law (SCL) or that the economy is disadvantaged compared to international competition. In this way you try to discredit the concerns of an SCL from the outset.

The Supply Chain Act initiative has taken a closer look at such allegations and examined what is actually in them. The aim of the fact check is to objectify the debate. It is shown that the question of liability is primarily “about reparation for serious individual cases”. The SCL is intended to close a legal loophole that arose in the first place through global cross-border trade, and is based only on the principles that are already customary in case law, such as the duty of care under tort law. And instead of causing a wave of lawsuits, an SCL should primarily have a preventive effect and instruct companies to set up “preventive management systems”. If a company fulfills its due diligence obligations adequately, it does not have to expect legal action. In part 2, the fact check presents specific examples (such as “copper mine in Peru”) where the company can be assumed to be liable, and those for which a company based in Germany does not have to reckon with legal action despite damage (such as “pineapple plantation from Costa Rica “).

Plese refer: “Verhältnismäßig und zumutbar: Haftung nach dem Lieferkettengesetz” (German)

2021-02-15T08:50:21+01:00September 2nd, 2020|

Supply chain law: This has to be there!

While little is made public, the federal ministries are currently wrestling violently over the content of a supply chain law. Economics Minister Altmaier and other opponents of strong regulation are doing everything they can to water down the supply chain law. This concerns the question of the size of companies from which the law should affect, whether civil liability should be abolished and the law should be made toothless, or whether environmental issues should be excluded from the law. For a supply chain law to work, it would have to meet certain minimum requirements.

This is presented by the Supply Chain Act initiative: That must be included in the supply chain law!

2020-08-27T10:05:40+02:00August 27th, 2020|

Write a protest mail to Federal Minister of Economics Altmaier now!

No more blocking human rights and environmental protection: in the last few weeks we have come much closer to a supply chain law. Federal Ministers Heil and Müller have announced that they will present a law. The Chancellor has meanwhile also spoken out in favor of a supply chain law – as has more and more German companies. Only one continues to try to block: Federal Minister of Economics Altmaier.

Numerous examples show that people and the environment all over the world suffer from the unscrupulous dealings of German companies. And after years of research, one thing is clear: only a few German companies make voluntary efforts to protect human rights and environmental protection. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Economic Affairs warns against a “quick shot” – one thing is clear: It is high time to act!

Participate now and write a protest mail to Altmaier!

The coalition agreement – and incidentally also a CDU party congress resolution! – says clearly: If companies do not voluntarily adhere to human rights, a supply chain law must come. We therefore demand from Federal Minister of Economics Altmaier: finally take human rights and the protection of the environment seriously! No more delaying and watering down!
The Corona crisis has shown: Companies that know their supply chains and rely on reliable partnerships are more crisis-proof. A supply chain law that enshrines human rights and environmental due diligence obligations in law would be a boost to sustainability for the German economy. Now is the time to ensure respect for human rights and the protection of the environment in global supply chains. This opportunity must not be wasted on the stubbornness of the Minister of Economics!

Please join in now and urge the minister: Don’t stand in the way of a supply chain law any longer!

2020-08-27T09:56:18+02:00August 6th, 2020|

Letter to Federal Minister Müller on the Supply Chain Act

In view of the resistance from the economy to the planned supply chain law, the XertifiX chairman Ingrid Sehrbrock and the treasurer Peter Weiß wrote a letter to Federal Minister Dr. Gerd Müller wrote, in which they support the minister against all opposition to pass the supply chain law agreed in the coalition agreement during this legislative period.

We keep hearing legitimate doubts from our licensees as to how companies that comply with their due diligence and, for example, have their supply chains checked by XertifiX, should compete against other companies that do nothing of the kind. There is an imbalance in the market economy that needs to be remedied. A supply chain law is a very suitable instrument for this! It is not for nothing that large companies such as the Rewe Group, Tchibo or Nestlé stand behind such a law. We expect that given the importance of the new law for the entire German economy, the German Minister for Economic Affairs Peter Altmeier will also give up his resistance and proactively support the law.

2020-09-01T14:29:15+02:00July 16th, 2020|

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