The Human Rights and Business Event addressed the growing trend toward enhancing corporate responsibility through mandatory human rights due diligence, in light of the recent adoption of the French corporate duty of vigilance law.
The event took place at the European Parliament in Brussels on 28 March.
The event was hosted by Members of the EU Parliament, MEP Heidi Hautala (Greens), MEP Pascal Durand (Greens) and MEP Marie Arena (S&D), together with French MPs Danielle Auroi (EELV) and Dominique Potier (PS).
Several recent European and national level legislative initiatives are evidence of a growing trend towards regulating human rights due diligence. They include reporting requirements geared towards enhancing corporate transparency, like the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive, the UK Modern Slavery Act, as well as obligations on business to identify, address and account for their human rights and environmental impacts, throughout their supply chains. Examples of the latter category are the EU Conflict Minerals Regulation, the Dutch law on Child Labour Due Diligence and, as probably the most ambitious reform, the French law on Corporate Duty of Vigilance adopted on 21 February.
In June 2016, following a prior inter-parliamentary meeting organised in Paris, eight EU Member State Parliaments launched the Green Card Initiative. With the Green Card, the eight Parliaments called on the EU Commission to initiate a legislative procedure to enhance corporate respect for human rights and the environment. Similar debates have also been held in other EU Parliaments, indicative of the increasing political attention given to this issue.
For more information on the connection between the French Corporate Duty of Vigilance Law and other developments at national, European and international level, please check our French Corporate Duty of Vigilance Law FAQ, points 8 and 9.