The EU’s role in the global framework of human rights and business

Vice-President of the European Parliament Heidi Hautala and Professor John G. Ruggie discuss the EU’s due diligence efforts from a global perspective.

With the European Green Deal the EU chose to head towards a more sustainable economy. Which role can due diligence play on this path? In March 2021 the European Parliament adopted recommendations on corporate due diligence and accountability.

The Parliament called on the Commission to submit without undue delay a legislative proposal on mandatory supply chain due diligence. Is this the starting point for a comprehensive legislation on a politically lively debated issue? What role can the EU play in the global framework of human rights and business?

Awareness of the responsibilities of businesses with regard to the adverse impact of their value chains on human rights became prominent in the 1990s, when new offshoring practices in clothing and footwear production drew attention to the poor labour conditions that many workers in global value chains, including children, faced. At the same time, many oil, gas, mining and food industry undertakings pushed into increasingly remote areas, often displacing indigenous communities without adequate consultation or compensation.