February 24, 2022
New EU corporate accountability law must be strengthened – Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment Louise O’Reilly TD has called for the European Union Directive on ‘Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence’ to be strengthened, so as to truly clean up global supply chains and minimise negative global impacts on workers, communities and the environment.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“It was promised that the European Union Directive on ‘Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence’ would ensure that EU companies undertook due diligence checks along their full supply line so as to prevent environmental abuses and human rights violations.

“The aims behind the directive were welcomed by progressive politicians, trade unions, environmental groups and human rights groups, amongst others; unfortunately, the newly-published law falls far short of what is needed to protect workers, communities and the environment.

“The directive falls far short of what is needed because it will only apply to:

  • companies with an annual turnover of over €150 million and more than 500 employees; and
  • companies in high-risk industries like agriculture and fashion, companies with more than 250 employees

“While the directive is a move in the right direction, it must be further strengthened.

“There should be no half measures by the European Union where it comes to protecting against human rights and environmental abuses, whether that be from a State or a corporation.

“As Sorcha Tunney, Coordinator of the Irish Coalition for Business and Human Rights, stated ‘we need to take forced labour, deforestation and oil spills out of our shopping baskets once and for all, but this proposal just doesn’t go far enough and is riddled with loopholes’.

“In its current guise the directive would be totally ineffectual as it would only apply to 1% of companies. By excluding almost 99% of companies, the EU are essentially sanctioning business practices which exploit workers and communities, and which destroy the environment.

“The reality is any size of company can engage in human rights abuses and/or environmental destruction; therefore, the Directive on ‘Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence’ must be broad enough and strong enough to reflect this.”

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