The European Commission’s dangerous overreliance on industry schemes, multi-stakeholder initiatives, and third-party auditing in the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive

Introduced in February 2022, the European Commission (the Commission)’s Proposal for a Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence (the Proposal) places industry schemes, multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs), and third-party auditing at the heart of the due diligence process. It allows companies to rely on these mechanisms to demonstrate compliance with their newly defined human rights and environmental due diligence (HREDD) obligations and, in certain circumstances, to use them as a legal defence against charges of liability.

This briefing is intended to inform policymakers and civil society working on the Due Diligence Directive at the European Union level as well as those in European countries that are developing national due diligence legislation. The briefing explains why SOMO believes the Commission’s approach is ill-conceived and risks replicating and crystallising in law a decades-long approach to corporate social and sustainability compliance.

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