German cabinet launches bill to strengthen rights protection in global supply chains

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Germany’s cabinet has launched the bill for the Act on Corporate Due Diligence in Supply Chains aimed at strengthening the protection of human rights, health and the environment in German companies’ global supply chains.

German Parliament
German Parliament

The bill mandates German companies with at least 3,000 employees to comply with supply chain standards throughout the manufacturing process by analyzing human rights-related risks, taking measures to prevent and mitigate human rights violations, setting up grievance mechanisms and reporting on their activities.

It also covers environmental risks that can lead to human rights violations.

Penalties for non-compliance include a fine of up to two percent of average annual sales for companies with an annual revenue of at least 400 million euros, and exclusion from public tenders for up to three years.

German companies have expressed concerns over the bill, stating that it would place them at a competitive disadvantage, citing difficulties in enforcement, and have called for an EU-wide approach.

The bill is expected to be passed by the parliament before the summer break.

It would bring under its ambit up to 2,500 companies and will expand its reach in 2024 to companies with 1,000 or more employees.

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