March 11, 2021
MacManus welcomes EU Parliament demand for corporate responsibility

MacManus welcomes EU Parliament demand for corporate responsibility

Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands Northwest, Chris MacManus, has welcomed the European Parliament’s adoption of a report on corporate responsibility. MacManus, speaking from Brussels, commented:

“I am pleased to have had the opportunity to support this report. In basic terms, it is a demand for companies to seriously heed the ‘do no harm’ principle. All over the world, we see economic activity result in negative impacts for social rights, labour rights, the environment and good governance of states.”

“It is time multinational companies took responsibility for these impacts, as many of these violations have become an essential part of their supply chain.”

MacManus outlined the main benefits of the report, “Essentially the report is focussed on due diligence, this means that before companies engage in new practices, they must examine whether they would have negative impacts. Doing the analyses beforehand would result in averting harmful activities, rather than waiting for the negative impacts to mount before considering remedial action.”

“The longstanding refusal of many corporations to engage in such analyses has allowed a system of world production to develop which involves around 25 million victims of forced labour, 152 million victims of child labour, 2.78 million deaths due to work-related diseases per year and 374 million non-fatal work-related injuries per year. These are staggering numbers that highlight the importance of intervention.”

“Specifically, what is being called for, is that the EU to adopt binding requirements for companies to identify, assess, prevent, cease, mitigate, monitor, communicate and address potential or actual adverse impacts on human rights, the environment and good governance in their value chain.”

The Midlands Northwest MEP said a move from voluntary guidance to actual binding legislation would be an important distinction. “There are many voluntary frameworks for due diligence, such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights or the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, but what’s required is binding legislation. The private sector has clearly demonstrated that voluntary initiatives do not pose enough of a threat for these multinationals to curb their harmful practices.”

“Given the Parliament’s support for such an initiative, I would expect a legislative proposal from the Commission in the coming months.”

MacManus concluded, “Our strong position on the issue must be guarded against oncoming pressure from private interests, to remove the teeth from our proposal. The only group who will lose from such requirements are those determined to exploit workers or our natural resources with impunity.” ENDS

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