Human rights and environmental activist groups are calling on the UK Government to implement supply chain due diligence requirements to help address the contribution these groups say UK-based companies have on the people and environments where goods are sourced and produced.
On 10 March 2021, the European Parliament voted to adopt a law requiring companies to conduct environmental and human rights due diligence on their value chain. France, Germany and Norway have also already passed laws requiring supply chain due diligence. Therefore companies within the single market will have to comply, but those outside will not, unless the UK follows suit.
In June, the UK financial regulator, the FCA, introduced ESG disclosure rules for asset managers, similar to the EU's disclosure regulations for asset managers and financial advisors (see our previous post here). The UK Government has also announced plans to strengthen the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (see our previous post here), which critics say does not do enough to hold companies responsible for failings.
However, groups - such as Amnesty International and Christian Aid - say that the proposed law is important as the UK still has more to do to ensure that UK corporations are held to account for impacts in their supply chains and to ensure delivery of the UN sustainable development goals.
Almost 30 organisations have joined forces to call for the UK to follow in the footsteps of its European partners by introducing corporate accountability laws requiring companies to undertake human rights and environmental due diligence across their supply chains.