Written by 18 h 17 min Advocacy, Research and Studies, Strengthening corporate accountability advocacy

Focus on: Can the proposed European Directive on the Duty of Vigilance close the corporate accountability gap?

6 September 2022 – Last February, the European Commission published a proposal for a directive on “corporate sustainability due diligence”. Now that the Council is examining the text and that the debates in the European Parliament are about to start, Sherpa publishes its analysis and recommendations on six key points of the upcoming legislation.

The French Duty of Vigilance Law, enacted on the 27th of March 2017, was a first step in the fight against impunity for economic actors. Since then, the political and economic context has changed significantly. Several countries have adopted, or are about to adopt, legislation in this area. The climate emergency, the sanitary crisis and the war in Ukraine question the legal framework of global supply chains and their viability. 

The Commission’s proposal for a “corporate sustainability due diligence directive”, published on the 23th of February 2022, was long overdue. In its current wording, however, the proposal fails on multiple accounts. 

Sherpa presents its analysis and recommendations on six key points: the material scope of application, the notion of established business relationships, the definition of the duty of vigilance, civil liability, supervisory authorities, and the protection of persons likely to act on the basis of the duty of vigilance. 

Sherpa also underlines its main concerns as to the vision and overall balance of the text, which tends to transform the duty of vigilance into a compliance exercise aimed at reinforcing the legal security of companies, to the detriment of environmental protection and the rights of those affected by corporate abuses. 

Last modified: 14 November 2022