The German "Supply Chain Due Diligence Act" is adopted! But what exactly is behind this? Our analysis shows: We are still a long way from reaching our goal in the fight against human rights violations and environmental degradation in global value chains, but with the new law, we are finally off to a good start.
In the last year, the German government held intense and controversial discussions on the introduction and design of national due diligence regulation. However, environmental aspects of corporate due diligence were given little attention. By contrast, the debate at European level is already much more progressive. On January 27, the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament explicitly recommended the inclusion of independent environmental due diligence requirements in a future European due diligence legislation.
To this date, environmental due diligence has hardly been integrated into legislations and it is not yet as concrete as UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are in regard to human rights concerning responsibilities of corporations. Human rights due diligence captures environmental destruction when it is directly linked to human rights violation like a toxic spillage, which directly causes death or health issues.
For months, there has been an intensive and controversial debate in Germany on a Human Rights Due Diligence Regulation (so called supply chain law). Recently, a new proposal has been under discussion - a law for a supply chain register. Now that the debate on the supply chain register is public and this proposal has also been submitted to EU Justice Commissioner Reynders, Germanwatch, Greenpeace and INKOTA hereby publicly present their central points of criticism of the supply chain register.
In order to strengthen corporate responsibility along supply and value chains, so-called multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) are often used nationally and internationally. Most recently, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) announced its intention to step up its efforts to promote EU-wide sectoral dialogues within the framework of Germany’s EU Council Presidency.
Ab nächstem Jahr soll die Verordnung zur verantwortungsvollen Beschaffung von Zinn, Wolfram, Tantal und Gold (3TG) aus Konfliktregionen in der EU in Kraft treten. Die meisten EU-Staaten sind derzeit daher mit der Ausarbeitung entsprechender Umsetzungsgesetze beauftragt. Die ersten Entwürfe, darunter auch aus Deutschland, sorgen nun allerdings für massive Kritik seitens europäischer Entwicklungs- und Menschenrechtsorganisationen, darunter auch Germanwatch. Die vorliegende Stellungnahme wurde von Nichtregierungsorganisationen aus ganz Europa unterzeichnet.
The EU Regulation on the responsible supply of tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold (3TG) from conflict-affected and high-risk areas (CAHRA) is a crucial first step towards supply chains free from human rights abuse. The EU Regulation on the responsible supply of 3TG from conflict-affected and high-risk areas (CAHRA) was approved in 2017 and will enter into force in 2021. Before this date, the EU member states need to adopt measures to ensure the implementation of the Regulation. However, the first implementation measures being discussed by member states risk diluting the efficacy of the Regulation by concealing the list of companies subjected to it.
Claudia Saller (ECCJ), Julia Otten & Johanna Kusch on why the German government should give the mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence agenda a real push, both at home and in Brussels.
Artisanal gold mining in Colombia is associated with the financing of armed conflicts. The adoption of the EU Conflict Minerals Regulation in 2017 has raised attention to respective challenges. One of the world's largest gold smelters, the Swiss smelter Metalor, has consequently withdrawn from small-scale mining business. However, as the following study argues, the link between artisanal gold mining and the financing of armed conflicts in Colombia is much more complex. At the same time, small-scale mining faces criminalization by national legislation. A general boycott of this sector by major smelters can further marginalize the artisanal mining sector in favor of international mining companies. At the same time, the EU Conflict Minerals Regulation excludes many serious human rights violations, such as violent expulsions and massive environmental destruction by large mining companies destroying the livelihoods of local populations.
Colombia is one of the countries categorised as a conflict region by the EU Regulation on Responsible Sourcing. This paper will take a closer look at gold extraction in Colombia in the context of the violent conflict and human rights abuses taking place there. From there, the paper will present recommendations directed towards the implementation of Accompanying Measures of the EU Regulation on Responsible Sourcing in Colombia, as well as additional measures needed to diminish the levels of conflict and human rights violations in this sector.