A panel discussion on the proposed German Supply Chain Law
Dr Miriam Saage-Maaß, European Center of Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)
Robert Grabosch, Schweizer Legal
Frank Zach, German Trade Union Confederation (DGB)
Prof Dr Eva-Maria Kieninger, University of Würzburg
Dr Anneloes Hoff, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law
On 3 March 2021, the German Cabinet passed a draft for a Supply Chain Due Diligence Law (Lieferkettengesetz) which will impose an obligation on companies to identify, prevent, mitigate, and document how they address the human rights impacts of their activities. The marks a shift away from voluntary standards to regulate corporate conduct, based on social expectation and moral imperative, towards legally binding obligations. The Parliament is expected to pass it in the next few months.
Civil society campaigners the initiative have welcomed the legislative proposal, but criticize its limited scope to the company’s own activities and those of its direct suppliers (‘tier 1’ of the supply chain), and the absence of a civil liability provision.
The German developments are in line with a wider trend towards ‘mandatory human rights due diligence’ (mHRDD). Several European states have adopted similar legislation requiring companies to conduct human rights due diligence, or are in the process of doing so. The EU Parliament has adopted a legislative initiative report for an EU-wide mHRDD directive, which existing domestic legislation, such as the German law, may inform.
The Human Rights Discussion Group of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law is delighted to host a panel of four experts well-versed in the German business and human rights debate, who will discuss the latest developments around the German Supply Chain Law. They will introduce you to the main elements of the law, identify areas in which the law may be strengthened going forward, and reflect on the German efforts in relation to the wider mHRDD trend.
The event will be recorded for subsequent publication on the Institute’s YouTube Channel.