Rights groups join forces to demand UK corporate liability laws | Corporate social responsibility


Nearly 30 organizations have joined forces to call on the UK to follow in the footsteps of its European partners by introducing corporate liability laws requiring companies to apply due diligence on human rights and environment throughout their supply chains.

Groups, including the TUC, Friends of the Earth and Amnesty International, say systemic human rights violations and environmentally destructive practices are rife in the global operations and supply chains of UK companies, and that voluntary approaches to tackle the problem have failed.

Countries such as France, Germany and Norway have already passed supply chain due diligence laws, while the EU must introduce obligations of all companies operating in the single market. Those who support a new law say that without it UK companies operating in the single market would have to meet these obligations, but not those that do not.

Mark Dearn, director of the Corporate Justice Coalition, which supports the appeal, said: “It is not possible to ensure respect for human rights without binding laws addressing abuses of corporate rights – which occur with impunity in the global supply chains of multinational corporations. .

“The UK is promoting itself as a leader in business and human rights, but that is just not true. There are no UK laws to hold companies accountable for human rights violations and the Modern Slavery Act does not ensure that supply chains are free from modern slavery. Meanwhile, countries in Europe are creating new laws that will go far beyond any obligations imposed on UK businesses. “

The 29 groups supporting a new law, which also include Labor Behind the Label, Unison and Christian Aid, say it is essential to ensure the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and to honor G7 commitments to uphold human rights. humans. At last month’s G7 summit, hosted by Boris Johnson, leaders pledged “to ensure that global supply chains are without recourse to forced labor”.

A government spokesperson said: “The government is committed to eradicating modern slavery from the global economy and increasing transparency in supply chains, and we will go further than ever to tackle the problem. illegal deforestation and protect tropical forests, thanks to new world-class laws. introduced by the historic environmental bill.

“We actively encourage companies to exercise due diligence and identify, prevent and consider potential risks in their operations and throughout their relationships with the supply chain. “


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