The UK Government recently announced that it is developing legislation that would make it illegal for large businesses operating in the UK to use certain commodities that have not been produced in line with local laws, and require in-scope companies to conduct due diligence to ensure that their supply chains are free from illegal deforestation
Hannah Edmonds-Camara advises on a range of both international and domestic employment and human rights issues including drafting and implementation of policies and compliance programmes, international employment and human rights aspects of global transactions and contentious employment matters.
She has particular expertise in helping businesses manoeuvre through the growing global regulatory landscape surrounding the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, through training on international human rights law and best practice, policy design and implementation, management of supplier relationships and due diligence.
Ms. Edmonds-Camara gained valuable experience while on secondment to a large pharmaceutical client. She is a member of the firm’s Diversity Committee, Public Service (pro bono) Committee, and Africa Initiative.
“Businesses that have better risk mitigation processes across their supply chains cause less harm to people… Good environmental, social, and governance practices pay off… We need to make sure that responsible business conduct and sustainable supply chains become the norm.”
EU Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, April 29, 2020
On April 29, 2020, in a webinar hosted by the European Parliament’s Responsible Business Conduct Working Group, EU Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders announced that the European Commission (the “Commission”) will move swiftly to introduce regulation on mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence for companies, with its legislative proposal to the European Parliament and Council expected in the first quarter of next year.
In this alert, we provide an overview of the comments and commitments made by Commissioner Reynders against the backdrop of the recently published Study on Due Diligence Requirements Through the Supply Chain (the “Study”), which considered possible EU-wide regulatory interventions relating to human rights and environmental due diligence, and which provides the impetus for the Commissioner’s announcement.
Consultations to inform the Commission’s legislative proposal are expected to start in the coming weeks, so we also set out some initial factors that commercial organizations operating in the European Union may want to consider as they seek to engage with this policy process.
- Background: the Study
Commissioner Reynders’s presentation centered around the findings of the Study, which was published in late February and conducted by an expert panel that included representatives of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Civic Consulting, a public policy consultancy.
The Study involved: (i) a detailed examination of existing regulations and proposals for supply chain due diligence requirements, as well as market practices; (ii) the development of four general options for regulatory interventions at the EU level; and (iii) an assessment of the potential impact of these four options, based also on stakeholders’ perceptions of the different regulatory interventions.
In high-level terms, the Study identified and evaluated the following four options:
Option 1—No EU level policy change: This option would not involve any harmonized EU level regulatory intervention. The Study indicates that this option would be likely to result in a “patchwork” of due diligence expectations across the EU, as there are pending proposals or campaigns for mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence laws in 13 European countries, of which 11 are EU Member States.…
Continue Reading European Union Justice Commissioner Commits to Regulation on Corporate Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence
In Part 2 of our business and human rights series to mark World Human Rights Day, we discuss the increasing recognition of the linkages between human rights abuses and corruption, and how companies can find efficiencies in their efforts to address these overlapping risks.
Corruption and adverse human rights impacts are often intertwined. This was…
In Part One of our blog series to honour the UN’s World Human Rights Day, we consider the evolving business and human rights landscape and some of the challenges this presents for multinations. This piece was first published in the U.K.’s Law Society Gazette on 10 December 2019.
The theme of this year’s UN Forum…
On 4 September 2019, the U.S. Department of State (“DoS”) published draft ‘Guidance for the Export of Hardware, Software and Technology with Surveillance Capabilities and/or Parts/Know-How’ (the “Guidance”). The DoS invited public comment on the draft Guidance until 4 October 2019, after which they will publish finalised guidance.
Goal: Preventing Human Rights Abuse
The UK’s anti-slavery commissioner resigns
On 17 May 2018, the UK’s Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland OBE, announced his imminent resignation. While praising the Prime Minister’s leadership in the fight against modern slavery, he expressed concern about Home Office interference with the role, and the hope that any future Commissioner would be assured of independence.…
- U.S. Policy: The derogatory remarks that President Trump made about Africans and Haitians, which he denies having said, create a negative image for the U.S. across the region as the year begins. Nevertheless, the administration will push forward on
The U.K. government has provided updated and firmer guidance on the section 54 Modern Slavery Act transparency in supply chain reporting requirement (about which see more here). Organisations are now expected to publish transparency statements ‘at most’ six months after the organisation’s financial year end. Businesses are also encouraged to leave statements from previous…
We recently reported on the global trend towards improved business “non-financial reporting” of human rights and environmental practices. The latest U.K. developments in this area are the Modern Slavery (Transparency in Supply Chains) Bill 2017 (the “Bill“) and a report on labour market enforcement strategy published by David Metcalf, the U.K. Labour Market…
The Joint Committee on Human Rights – comprised of members of both Houses – has published a report calling on the U.K. government to take significant further steps to improve corporate human rights practices, including criminalising “failure to prevent human rights abuses”.
The Committee acknowledges that the U.K. Government’s introduction of reporting requirements under the…