GlobalNo compromise for respect for human rights

No compromise for respect for human rights

The Twenty-seven find at least an agreement on legislation on the duty of vigilance of companies

First, only multinationals will be constrained; the majority of large companies will be exempt. Then, certain sectors are excluded from the scope of the directive, such as the financial sector. The result of significant lobbying, this exclusion means that through market investments, any socially or environmentally “problematic” activity could continue to be supported. We may also be surprised by the virtual exclusion of the agricultural and textile sectors, even though their impact on the environment and working conditions is no longer in doubt.

We can then regret that the control that will be exercised over companies is relatively vague, even if the heaviest sanctions can be considered coercive (up to 5% of turnover). No one knows exactly who will control their vigilance rules and how. Another criticism that can a priori be leveled at the text is the latitude left to Member States in their way of implementing this directive in their national legislation. This opens the way to distortions of competition between large companies. The employers’ federations are already proclaiming their fed up with other regulations on sustainability, governance or environmental criteria; a possible additional competitiveness problem would drive them to the barricades.

If we can be pleased that Belgium has given new life to a text that we thought was buried, we will regret that the concessions made to seal the agreement create doubts about its real scope. Doubts that should not exist when we talk about rules inherent to respect for human rights and the environment…

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