26 February 2014
Today, European Union (EU) member states took a first step towards strengthening the transparency and accountability of the social and environmental impact of businesses and their operations. After long and intense negotiations with the European Parliament (EP), the Committee of the Permanent Representatives of the EU Council (COREPER) agreed to support legislation obliging listed European companies to disclose information on the human rights, social, and environment al risks and impacts of their operations.
The original EP and Council compromise text did not garner sufficient support last week. But following additional negotiations, member states’ political representatives adopted it today at the eleventh hour.
“The decision by the Council to accept the amended compromise text is an important but very modest move towards social accountability for businesses. It is however regrettable that the Commission and Parliament proposals were seriously weakened by the member states” said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office.
The disclosure of non-financial information will be part of companies’ annual management reporting and will include issues arising from their supply chains. It will require companies to report on their due diligence procedures and how they mitigate risks and potential impact. Member States reduced the scope of the legislation to apply to less than half of the companies originally envisaged in the Commission’s proposal. In addition, they watered down the reporting requirements, and allowed for exemptions.
The European Parliament still needs to officially confirm its approval to the compromise.
For more information, please read Amnesty International’s public statement or contact: