We know that companies have captured governments around the world through campaign financing and excessive lobbying to water down regulations designed to protect people and planet. We know that Big Oil has been profiting from climate wrecking fossil fuels while pumping out misinformation to skew the science. And we know that companies are complicit in the killing and silencing of land and environmental defenders. This must stop.
We want to turbo-charge this shift by using our investigative and campaigning skills to uncover the role corporations and financial institutions are playing in undermining efforts to stop climate breakdown and muddying the waters around protections that could make a real difference.
What we need are new global standards to stop companies being able to operate in a way that drives environmental and human rights abuses.
Our goal is for mandatory corporate due diligence and liability to be introduced across all sectors, including those who provide finance to businesses. This means:
- Companies must identity, prevent, mitigate and publicly report on human rights, environmental and corruption risks linked to their global operations, subsidiaries or value chains. Rules must cover all industry sectors from companies that put food on our plates to those that extract dirty fossil fuels.
- They will have to do it (the mandatory bit) - a big improvement on voluntary approaches that only the more responsible businesses and investors act on
- There must also be meaningful sanctions and penalties for companies that fail to address their negative impacts, and a means by which victims of corporate abuse can seek justice and hold companies liable for harm
The European Union is a first mover in recognising the lack of rules to hold corporates to account. In April 2020, following our sustained campaigning with civil society allies across Europe, the European Commissioner for Justice announced that new rules for mandatory corporate due diligence would be introduced. In March 2022, the Commission presented a proposal for the EU’s Sustainable Corporate Due Diligence Directive. While this includes many of our key asks there is still more work to be done to strengthen this.
It’s a game changer: as the world’s largest trading bloc, the European Union has significant political and economic influence. We have shown how European companies are harming people and planet through their operations. And how EU investors and their subsidiaries have bankrolled oil exploration in Africa’s oldest national park, a mining project in India which sparked violent protests, and land grabs in Asia and Africa.
We are now working with our partners around the world to ensure the commitment turns into legislation that includes financial institutions - and for other parts of the world to follow suit.