EU governments OK loopholes the size of an oil spill

Brussels, 1 December 2022 – Today, EU governments have weakened the upcoming EU law on corporate sustainability, aimed at preventing abuse and remedying victims for harms like forced labour or oil spills. The ministers’ proposed changes to the draft law leave the inclusion of the financial sector at the discretion of each member state, which would lead to market fragmentation and a ‘race to the bottom’.  

Moreover, the definition of ‘chain of activities’ shields companies producing pesticides, weapons or surveillance tech from scrutiny for the harms their products and services create. 

ECCJ policy officer Sylvia Obregon Quiroz commented: “The Council gave their greenlight to a mixed bag that doesn’t take us much further than where we started. Governments managed to close some of the gaps in the Commission’s proposal but also created new holes to allow many powerful companies to evade legal responsibility for clearcut wrongdoing. It certainly doesn’t create a level playing field. While it is a step forward that governments agreed on a general approach, this is not the end. If member states are truly committed to a sustainable and fair future, they can still change course. It’s also up to the Parliament to set the bar higher.” 

Since the European Commission released its proposal in February 2022, the European Parliament and the Council have been drafting their own stances towards on the draft law. Today’s decision confirmed the Council’s position for the trialogue negotiations, which should start in the spring of 2023. 



Sylvia Obregon Quiroz, Policy Officer:  

Iva Petkovic, Communications Officer:  

European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ) is the largest civil society network devoted to corporate accountability in the EU. Representing over 480 organisations from 17 countries, we are the only European coalition bringing together civil society, trade unions, consumer organisations and academics to fight for accountability, transparency and justice for people harmed by corporate abuse.  

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