After several rounds of negotiations, EU member states finally voted in favor of a directive on corporate responsibility for human rights and the environment. Swedwatch welcomes the fact that the directive has passed an important formal stage, but deeply regrets the extensive dilution that the recent renegotiations have resulted in.

EU member states on March 15 finally passed the directive on corporate responsibility for human rights and the environment, the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD), in the Council's preparatory body COREPER. However, the renegotiated version contains several compromises and last-minute changes due to political maneuvers. Among other things, the law will only apply to companies with more than 1000 employees and an annual turnover of over 450 million euros, an increase from the previous 500 employees and 150 million. According to an estimate from the organization SOMO, this means that in practice only around 5400 – corresponding to 0.05 percent – of companies in the EU are be covered.

"We welcome the fact that the directive was voted through, but it is difficult to be pleased when the content has been watered down in a number of important areas. The fact that so few companies are covered is an incredible erosion of the purpose of the law; to protect the environment and people whose rights are violated in global value chains. That Sweden could not even support this version is incomprehensible," says Alice Blondel, head of office at Swedwatch.

More on the topic:

EU document with the agreed text 

Learn more about the compromises agreed on between the member states March 15 in an analyse by ECCJ

Extensive analysis from Swedwatch (note well that the analysis is based on the previous political agreement, reached in December 2023)

  • Focus Areas: Supply chains
  • Publication: Article

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