2021 Annual Report: A new era of corporate accountability
May 18th, 2022

Over the past decades, many decision makers and companies said that binding rules are out of the question. Today, we have a legal proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive. This breakthrough has taken many years of collecting evidence, sharing legal expertise and speaking with one voice at the European level.

The proposal for an EU directive on corporate due diligence includes the main elements our coalition has been asking for — including full value chain reach and a civil liability regime — and it is linked to the new Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, which will for the first time set reporting standards for impacts on people and the planet.

While this is a big success, we now need to get stuck into improving the proposal — and we can expect tough debates. But these negotiations will be taking place in a new context. Both the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have raised new questions around the role of corporations. Working against this dramatic backdrop, legislation on corporate accountability needs to protect those who are most vulnerable and suffering the consequences of greed, negligence and short-termism that too often define corporations’ strategies.

We are in a new era for corporate accountability in Europe thanks to the enthusiasm and hard work of our members. Last year, Germany and Norway followed France with their own national laws. Governments in the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Austria and Spain committed to a national law, whilst in other countries, our coalition members campaigned in favour of the European initiative.

So, what have we been up to? A lot, as our 2021 annual report shows.

  • Our policy experts had their hands full, as they worked to ensure EU legislative efforts on corporate due diligence will work for people and the planet.
  • We spotlighted the legal barriers which prevent victims of business-related abuses from accessing judicial remedy in the EU.
  • We issued recommendations to revamp the EU’s outdated Non-Financial Reporting Directive.
  • We delivered the submissions of over half a million people from around the world to the European Commission.
  • We ran a poll showing overwhelming public support for an EU law to hold companies liable for human rights violations and environmental harms.
  • Our work reached new levels of visibility: an increase of 600% in press coverage, more than 50,000 visits to our new website, and more than 20,000 video views across all channels.

… and a lot more.

Our work has reached the tipping point. We have an unprecedent opportunity to realise our vision of a sustainable world where companies respect human rights and the environment. Let’s make it count.

In our annual report, you can find a summary of our coalition’s top achievements, as well as our activities, resources, impact, and financial and governance information.