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Passing of CSDDD blocked – human rights in danger

  • Published on
    February 28, 2024
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    Law & Policy, Supply Chain
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What could have been a day to celebrate, has turned into a day full of disappointment. On February 28, 2024, the European Council blocked the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) after the vote had been postponed due to insufficient support, as reported by Reuters. Thirteen out of the 27 member states voted against the law or abstained from the vote, leaving the ‘qualified majority’ of 15 countries short of one.

A timeline of events

The CSDDD has been in the works for around two years and promises the establishment of due diligence standards that companies with more than 500 employees have to meet, including upholding human rights in their supply chains and subsidiaries.

  • December 2023: Agreement on the CSDDD was reached in the European Council. The European Parliament already announced its support, so we are optimistic.
  • January 2024: Germany announces that it will abstain from the vote and lobbies other countries to follow suit. The passing of the law is threatened.
  • February 9, 2024: The vote on the CSDDD was pulled from the agenda as it became evident that the likelihood of it passing was too low.
  • February 28, 2024: The postponed vote took place, but there was not sufficient support for it to be endorsed by the Council. France proposed to reduce the number of impacted companies from 15,000 to 1,400, making it a requirement to report and act on human rights and environmental abuses only for companies with 5,000+ employees, as shared by Euractiv.

“This is no time for political games by the member states. The legislation must be effective to deal with the issue at hand.” – Ilan de Basso, Swedish MEP for S&D group

What now? The vote has been postponed yet again while negotiators try to come up with a deal that has the potential to gather more support. There is a tight timeframe as the European Parliament must approve the text before March 7th for it to be adopted before the European Union goes into recess for elections in June, as reported by Forbes.

Disappointed reactions

Advocates and campaign groups all over the world are disappointed in the outcome of the vote. So are we. We have joined more than 140 campaign organizations in a press release calling for the member states to come to an agreement.

“It is utterly deplorable that EU capitals have turned their backs on the political agreement reached in December.” – Nele Meyer, Director of the European Coalition for Corporate Justice

But we are not yet giving up. A second vote is expected to take place, which is why we are calling on German chancellor Olaf Scholz to change his mind and vote YES to fighting forced and child labor in supply chains!

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Jessica Percifield Henry
Jessica Percifield Henry
1 month ago

Have you looked into funding blockchain verification. An importer of specialty coffee just a few years ago, I believe it was Yave Coffee, was using blockchain to track quality coffee scoring over 85 and its price from farmer to roaster, to end greenwashing in specialty coffee and create real transparency in the supply chain… I don’t know if they were successful as it was just before Covid hit, but the model was quite compelling. Instead of a regulatory approach, it takes a secure data approach.

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