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11 October 2019
UN : discussions over a treaty on the liability of transnational businesses for human rights violations to recommence
The UN inter-governmental working group on transnational businesses and human rights is to hold a fifth session of discussions over an international, legally binding instrument between 14 and 18 October in Geneva. The talks will be based on a new draft text, presented by the rapporteur having been drawn up following the fourth discussion session in October 2018 (see article n°10810). This initiative seeks to ensure effective access to justice and reparations for victims of human rights violations committed by...
10 October 2019
88 NGOs and trade unions launch an appeal for a European regulation making human rights and environmental due diligence mandatory
On 03 October 2019 a coalition of 88 NGOs and European trade union organizations (ETUC, Uni Europa, EFBWW, EPSU, EFFAT, ETF, and IndustriAll Europe) called for the adoption of a regulation that would establish a mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence framework for business, companies and financial institutions operating, or offering a product or service, within the EU. These more binding rules address the prevention and mitigation of risks that these rights may be breached as a result of...
11 September 2019
Germany: new ‘Green Button’ label created for textiles produced in line with social and environmental standards
In Berlin on 09 September, German Economic and Development Minister Gerd Müller (CSU), officially launched his key project creating the ‘Grüner Knopf’ (Green Button). The Federal Economic and Development Ministry will award the Green Button certificate to textile-based products that comply with a series of environmental and social production standards, thereby providing a layer of guarantees to consumers seeking equitable and sustainable production processes. The Green Button’s overriding characteristic is...
22 July 2019
France: Teleperformance called on to comply with duty of vigilance legislation
In a statement on 18 July, international trade union federation UNI Global Union, together with the well-known French legal activist NGO, Sherpa (for the protection and defense of victims of economic crimes) announced they were putting the French outsourcing giant, Teleperformance (best known for its call center business), on formal notice to comply with the French Law on Duty of Vigilance regarding human rights by ‘strengthening its plan and implementation procedures.’ If the warning is not followed...
22 July 2019
France: Samsung indicted for misleading business practices violating labor rights
On 03 July 2019, two French activist groups — Sherpa and ActionAid France signaled that the he French subsidiary of the Korean electronics giant Samsung was indicted. According to their statements (Sherpa statement, ActionAid statement), this stage means ‘that the investigating magistrate recognizes that Samsung’s ethical commitments may indeed constitute business practices in which the company, or issuer, is engaged.’ Indeed article L121-1 of the national Consumer Code explains that a business practice is...
19 July 2019
ING: three NGOs file complaint with Dutch contact point for the OECD, demanding that the bank ceases investment in the palm oil sector
On 5 July, environment-focused NGOs from three different countries – Milieudefensie (Netherlands), Sustainable Development Institute (Liberia) and Wahana lingkungan Hidup Indonesia – announced that they have filed a complaint with the Netherlands’ contact point for the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) against the Dutch banking group ING. The complaint regards the bank’s funding of three palm oil companies: Noble Group, Bolloré Group/Socfin and Wilmar International. The NGOs...
5 June 2019
The Netherlands: multi-stakeholder agreements concluded for the metals and natural stone sectors to prevent CSR risks
On 23 May 2019, the Dutch Government together with businesses (e.g. Tata Steel Nederland B.V.), industry associations (e.g. Association of the Dutch Metallurgy Industry – VNMI), trade unions (e.g. CNV and FNV) and NGOs (e.g. UNICEF Nederland) signed the International Responsible Business Conduct Agreement for the Metals Sector. For the first time, a European industry association, the European Association of Metals (Eurometaux), is one of the signatories of an International Responsible Business Conduct (IRBC)...
21 May 2019
Great Britain: trade union applying pressure on Amazon UK shareholders
Against a backdrop of repeated criticism of Amazon UK’s working conditions, in May 2019 trade unions had a first-time meeting with a number of the online giant’s shareholders, the goal of which being to convince them to contribute to devising a plan that could change the situation for Amazon’s 27,500 UK employees.
9 April 2019
EU: European Commission draws attention to the need for Seoul to uphold the social clause in the EU-Korea trade agreement
In Seoul on 09 April, EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström co-chaired the 8th Trade Committee set up by the EU-South-Korea trade agreement that was initially signed back in 2010 and that both parties recognize as being a success. The meeting was nonetheless somewhat marred by Seoul’s difficulty in approving a section of the ILO’s fundamental conventions that aim to improve working conditions and labor rights. Since the troublesome TTIP (UE-US) and CETA (EU-Canada) negotiations, the European Commission...