EuroCommerce, which represents the retail and wholesale trade in Europe, has welcomed the European Parliament’s approval of a draft law that would make it mandatory for large companies to check whether their suppliers are using child labour or damaging the environment.
Commenting on the outcome of the vote, EuroCommerce director-general Christel Delberghe, said, "The Parliament has already improved the proposal in many respects, and we were pleased to note that several of the concerns and recommendations highlighted by stakeholders were taken into account.
"Concerning the upcoming trilogues, we urge the co-legislators to further improve the text to ensure the end goal of delivering a practical, harmonised, and realistic EU Due Diligence Directive."
The parliament voted 366 in favour, with 225 against, though an attempt to strengthen the obligation of company boards and directors to ensure compliance with the new law failed, according to a Reuters report.
Retailers and wholesalers are fully engaged and committed to supporting due diligence throughout their supply chains, EuroCommerce noted.
Many of its members have implemented actions and initiatives on due diligence with the aim of protecting human rights and the environment throughout the EU.
Level Playing Field
EuroCommerce has called for a workable EU due diligence legislation that creates a level playing field in the EU and helps streamline related reporting requirements.
The legislation needs to acknowledge that due diligence is a dynamic process achieved by adopting an educative and cooperative approach, encouraging learning and best practice sharing, EuroCommerce added.
The policy on due diligence should consider day-to-day operational challenges faced by businesses, their complexities, and the international standards they abide by.
For further stages in the legislative process, EuroCommerce urged co-legislators to consider the impact of the legislation on small and medium-sized enterprises.
It also called for full harmonisation to create a level playing field and avoid further internal market fragmentation and disruption.