European Food Forum

13. Mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence in the EU: transparency and accountability

Event Hosted by: MEP Brando BENIFEI, MEP Petros KOKKALIS, MEP Irene TOLLERET


April 22, 2021 - 14:30


April 22, 2021 - 17:00

“Growing demand for all type of foods in the world has boosted global supply chains, creating both value and complexity. The European food sector is at the center of these changes and while there has been unprecedented efforts from business and farmers to drive transparency and positive impact, many issues remain in the face of major governance gaps and weak regulation, especially in developing countries. These negative impacts relate sometimes to violations of human and labour rights, including forced labour and child labour, environmental damage, land grabbing, and corruption.

The unanimous endorsement of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2011 represented a watershed moment in efforts to tackle adverse impacts on people resulting from globalization and business activity in all sectors. They provided, for the first time, a globally recognized and authoritative framework for the respective duties and responsibilities of Governments and business enterprisestopreventandaddresssuchimpacts. TheGuidingPrinciplesclarifythatallbusinessenterpriseshave an independent responsibility to respect human rights, and that in order to do so they are required to exercise human rights due diligence to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how they address impacts on human rights.

The idea of mandatory Due Diligence legislation, already applied in some EU Member States, aims at establishing rules for companies to disclose risks, set up appropriate implementation and remediation tools and strive towards a harmonized legal framework. The European Parliament has long been advocating for a stronger legal framework to encourage EU companies to take up their responsibility towards human rights and environmental norms in international supply chains. A legislation that will help creating a harmonized legal framework and create a level playing field at European level is considered a useful way forward by businesses and civil society.

In response to this the European Commission will present in June a proposal for an EU-wide due diligence directive alongside a proposal to regulate Imported deforestation.

In this EFF event on “Mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence in the EU: transparency and accountability” we will particularly focus on one of the most important elements of these new rules: Legal liability and enforcement. In the spirit of the European Food Forum’s mission to foster dialogue and debate on the issues that matter, the two hours debate will encourage an open sharing of perspectives from Public sector, industry and Civil on how these new rules can become a key driver for change.”