Today, the European Parliament voted through a resolution calling for long-needed laws to hold EU transnationals accountable for their impact on human rights and the environment overseas. The resolution proposes legislation that NGOs have long called for: parent company liability for their subsidiaries, better access to justice for victims around the world, and strong sanctions and fines for companies that break the rules.
Jill McArdle, corporate accountability campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: “The era of European companies being allowed to wreck the planet and destroy livelihoods with impunity is coming to a close. This proposal would mean companies like Shell can no longer shirk responsibility in the EU for the harms they cause abroad. It’s also refreshing to see a call for the EU to take part in UN negotiations for a binding treaty to close the gaps in corporate impunity worldwide.
“The proposed legislation is a step towards corporate justice, but the European Commission should not leave out key ingredients: powerful companies must be liable for what happens down their supply chains, and human rights and environmental violations like illegal logging and forced evictions are crimes and must be tried as such. Company-based grievance mechanisms have failed to provide justice to victims. Now it’s up to the European Commission to build on this momentum and draft a law that does what it’s meant to do: protect the environment, protect human rights, and make justice a guarantee.”
Half a million people have called on the EU for a strong law to hold transnational corporations accountable.