EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive

Brussels, 2 June 2023



CARITAS EUROPA, CIDSE, COMECE, THE JESUIT EUROPEAN SOCIAL CENTRE, JUSTICE AND PEACE EUROPE AND THE LAUDATO SI’ MOVEMENT – collectively forming the European Laudato Si’ Alliance – and PAX CHRISTI INTERNATIONAL – welcome the European Parliament’s adoption of the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive and remain hopeful that the proposed text will be supported and strengthened in the course of the inter-institutional dialogue due to start next week. 

“I think of the difficulties which, in various countries, today afflict the world of work and business; I think of how many, and not just young people, are unemployed, many times due to a purely economic conception of society, which seeks selfish profit, beyond the parameters of social justice.” Pope Francis

We are particularly pleased to see that important principles have been affirmed with this text: the extension of the duty of care of company directors to include human rights, climate change and environmental consequences possibly making them liable for  the outcomes resulting from  their decisions on sustainability matters ; and a first significant step towards ensuring access to justice for the many victims of the greed that too often characterises business practices, especially in the Global South.

The duty of care of company directors is a key constituent of a culture of care that we advocate for and that needs to be extended to the whole of the value chain. Businesses need to maintain a moral compass and their company directors need to uphold the highest standards while leading by example. 

What is appreciated, is that this text gives a strong sign that the European Institutions are ready to steer away from an economical model based solely on the pursuit of profit to the detriment of the whole of Creation. 

Furthermore, we hope that all parties involved in the trilogue will continue negotiations in good faith and with the best interest of the most vulnerable and excluded at heart. 

We exhort them to address the issue of the reversal of the burden of proof for victims of corporate abuse, putting the onus on corporations. We call on all parties to uphold human dignity, integral human development, holistic peace and apply an integral ecological approach that can enable all living beings and the environment to thrive within planetary boundaries. 

We also recognize that this text is a first step towards ensuring dignified work for all, promoting safe workplace conditions and work that does not cause harm to the environment. 

Finally, best corporate practices should embrace stakeholders’ participation and put in place measures to ensure that all voices are heard, including the concerns of local communities. As Pope Francis has said, “[…] We live in a world so interconnected that, in the end, the actions of each person affect everyone […]”.