Nearly 30 organizations have joined forces to call on the UK to follow in the footsteps of its European partners by introducing corporate liability laws requiring companies to do human rights due diligence and the environment in their supply chains.
Groups, including the TUC, Friends of the Earth and Amnesty International, say systemic human rights violations and environmentally destructive practices are rife in the global operations and supply chains of UK companies, and that voluntary approaches to tackle the problem have failed.
Countries such as France, Germany and Norway have already passed laws on supply chain due diligence, while the EU must introduce obligations of all companies operating in the single market. Those who support a new law say that without it UK companies operating in the single market would have to meet these obligations, but not those that do not.
Mark Dearn, director of the Corporate Justice Coalition, which supports the appeal, said: “It is not possible to ensure respect for human rights without binding laws addressing abuses of corporate rights – which occur with impunity in the global supply chains of multinational corporations. .
“The UK is touting itself as a leader in business and human rights, but that’s just not true. There are no UK laws to hold companies accountable for human rights violations and the Modern Slavery Act does not ensure that supply chains are free from modern slavery. Meanwhile, European countries are creating new laws that will go far beyond any obligations imposed on UK businesses. “