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9 July 2020
CSR: Covid-19 outbreaks in the heart of the EU have uncovered working conditions that are sometimes akin to modern-day slavery
The coronavirus has acted as a messenger. After an entire meat slaughtering sector was stigmatized in Germany, the hot seat of shame has been passed to the British online clothing company Boohoo, accused of using quasi-slavery suppliers and  of contributing to the spread of Covid-19. Both cases have sparked strong reactions. In Germany, measures have been taken to combat the precarious situation in the meat industry, while in the UK, Boohoo is being dropped both by its customers and investors.
Managing the fallout of Covid-19
8 July 2020
South Korea: government re-launches ratification process of fundamental ILO conventions in order to avoid EU trade retaliation
Under pressure from the European Union for non-compliance with the free trade agreement, South Korea’s government announced that it had relaunched the process of ratifying the ILO conventions on freedom of association, the right to organize and bargain collectively, and the prohibition of forced labour (albeit only one of the conventions, with the other still requiring some legal adaptation). This free trade agreement, which entered into force in 2015, intends for these fundamental conventions to be ratified as...
30 June 2020
Asian garment sector on the cusp of a “humanitarian crisis”
An investigation conducted by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC) has reached an indisputable verdict: the anticipated impact of the Covid-19 epidemic on the fashion and garment industry would represent a veritable “humanitarian crisis”. The first signs began to emerge as early as March, when a report indicated that, in Bangladesh, more than half of suppliers had experienced mass cancellations of orders, either completed or in production, as a result of the pandemic (see article n°11941),...
26 June 2020
Germany: government scales back ambitions for corporate duty of vigilance bill
In an article published on Thursday 25 June, the business daily Handelsblatt lifts the lid on the broad outlines of a bill being prepared, which would introduce a duty for companies to be vigilant when it comes to social and environmental standards in supply chains (Sorgfaltspflichtengesetz). The bill, the presentation of which has been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic and consequent lockdown, is important as it is intended to serve as a model for similar future European Union legislation that Germany wants to...
26 June 2020
Great Britain: more than 370 companies have now signed the “Women in Finance charter”.
Forty-two new companies have just signed up to this charter, the goal of which since 2016 is to raise female occupancy rates in positions of responsibility within the financial sector (c.f. article No. 9771). At the time of this announcement on 23 June, the government stated that in 2019 the proportion of women in senior management positions had either increased or stabilized in 3 out of 4 signatory companies. In addition, the average proportion of females in senior management rose from 30% in 2017 to 32% in 2019....
20 May 2020
McDonald’s: trade unions file sexual harassment complaint with the OECD
An international group of trade unions is tackling ‘systematic sexual harassment” at McDonald’s by bringing a case to the OECD for mediation. The complaint also targets two of the fast food chain’s shareholders as the OECD’s own guidelines ‘require due diligence by institutional shareholders in companies to ensure responsible business conduct.’
15 May 2020
NGOs track ‘bad’ buyers in global garment supply chains
A study by the Center for Global Workers’ Rights (CGWR), at the Pennsylvania State University, published on 27 March has caught the attention of worldwide public opinion. Entitled “Abandoned? The Impact of Covid-19 on Workers and Businesses at the Bottom of Global Garment Supply Chains”, the research – based on feedback from 316 garment suppliers in Bangaldesh (of a total of 2,000) – indicates that since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic more than half of Bangladesh suppliers have had the bulk of their...
Managing the fallout of Covid-19
15 May 2020
Solvay: solidarity fund set up by managers, employees and shareholders to help staff affected by the crisis raises €15 million
This significant sum – dedicated to the solidarity fund announced on 9 April and created at the end of the same month – was announced on 6 May by Solvay chief executive officer Ilhma Kadri to the Belgian press. The fund was set up to help employees and their relatives who are facing financial difficulties, and not only those placed on short-time working. It is financed first and foremost by the Belgian chemical company’s 30 senior managers and the CEO, who have all agreed to waive 15% of their salary, from...
Managing the fallout of Covid-19
6 May 2020
EU: EU Commission to propose a regulation by 2021 on human rights due diligence in global supply chains
On 29 April the European media reported that EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders had announced that next year, and as part of the EU Commission’s 2021 work plan and the European Green Deal, he would be presenting a legislative proposal that would create a due diligence obligation to prevent the risks of human rights violations in global supply chains. While clearly not new news (c.f. article No. 11675), Mr. Reynders’ announcement, made during a European Parliament webinar, confirms that the EU...
26 March 2020
Danone guarantees jobs and salaries to all its employees worldwide for 3 months.
On 26 March, during an interview on French radio (RTL), Emmanuel Faber, CEO of the French food group Danone, stated the following commitment on air, “All employment contracts at Danone and all salaries, worldwide, are guaranteed for the next three months.” In addition to not laying off employees because of Covid-19, Danone will cover “all income up to salary level” in the event of recourse to partial unemployment measures, due to supply disruptions in a factory, or the inability of people to...
Managing the fallout of Covid-19