Trade associations want to soften criteria

Trade associations want to soften criteria

Disagreement continues over planned supply chain law © Dmytro Vietrov (shutterstock)

There is still disagreement about the planned so-called supply chain law on human rights compliance. Misereor criticizes that business representatives want to undermine the law to the point of ineffectiveness. Get their way?

Business lobbyists are trying to "undermine the law to the point of ineffectiveness," criticized Armin Paasch, the consultant for business and human rights at the aid organization Misereor, in the "Suddeutsche Zeitung" (Tuesday). And further: "Without liability and sanctions, a supply chain law would neither prevent human rights violations nor facilitate access to German civil courts for the injured parties."

Softening the criteria

The newspaper has received submissions from the leading associations of German business and the German Retail Federation. They demand corrections to the proposed law. According to the bill, the obligations should not start at 500 employees, but only at 5.000 in Germany or 10.000 worldwide reach out. Also, companies should only be able to be held responsible for the conditions at the first supply stage, because they would have "difficult access" to the further stages, it says.

Taking human rights off the checklist

Lawmakers are also expected to waive civil liability – otherwise companies could be forced to "shorten their supply chains and withdraw from regions with problematic human rights situations," the newspaper quotes. In addition, the associations want verification requirements to be limited to human rights, but not for environmental or labor standards. They also call for a list of unobjectionable states, including those with EU free trade agreements.

Bill is delayed

Labor and development ministries originally planned to bring key points for a supply chain law to cabinet before the end of August. After that, a bill is to be put on the way. Now key points delayed at least until September.

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