Despite some lobbying efforts MEPs voted to defend the human rights of millions of workers and protect the environment.
The outcome is the result of a four year battle alongside activists and NGOs.
The adopted text includes many of the Left in the European Parliament’s priorities to ensure the responsibility and accountability of multinationals throughout the supply chain.
Key elements of the resolution:
The scope is widened to cover all large companies (250 employees and €40 million turnover) and ultimate parent companies of very large groups (more than 500 employees and €150 million turnover) that operate in the EU.
The text requires companies to take all appropriate measures to identify, prevent, bring to an end, and remediate adverse impacts on human rights and the environment.
Companies will have to exercise heightened due diligence in areas affected by conflict or occupation.
Companies must suspend and terminate business relationships with faulty business partners when the situation requires it.
Companies face tough sanctions, including fines of up to 5% of their net worldwide turnover (administrative liability).
Victims will benefit from strong access to justice measures when filing claims before EU courts, including civil society representation in court, the right to access evidence possessed by companies, the right to request injunctive measures and 10 years minimal limitation periods.
Co-President of the Left Manon Aubry (La France Insoumise, France) commented on the vote:
She said, “The European Parliament vote on the directive on due diligence is a historic victory against the impunity of multinationals that exploit workers and destroy the environment. The united front of the left and green groups has made it possible to protect human rights against the outrageous attacks of the right and extreme right. We defeated the lobbies that tried everything to make the text meaningless.”
Another MEP, Helmut Scholz (Die Linke, Germany), told this site, “the vote is an important step for fairer global economic relations. The European Parliament demands strong legislation: all large European companies with 250 or more employees are to assume responsibility for workers’ rights along their supply chain. After today’s vote, time is pressing: citizens are watching and expect the directive to be adopted before the European elections. It is now up to national governments to move and prove that Europe is serious about human and workers’ rights. The aim of this legislation is not to create new trade barriers, but to stand in solidarity with workers in the Global South.”