Apr 24, 2024

MEPs take a bold step towards corporate accountability

By EJF Staff

The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) welcomes the European Parliament's landmark adoption of the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD). In doing so, MEPs have approved a comprehensive set of rules for major companies to carry out environmental and human rights due diligence throughout their supply chains. This crucial legislation is long overdue, and marks a key moment in the pursuit of sustainable business conduct globally, according to EJF.

Despite clear weaknesses, the passage of this law sends a resounding message that corporate giants cannot operate with impunity; it underlines the principle that actions must have consequences, even in the realm of business and international trade, says the NGO.

Steve Trent, CEO and founder of the Environmental Justice Foundation said: “After a tumultuous legislative process, we welcome this milestone and now urge lawmakers to prioritise the robust implementation of the new rules. Our recent investigation into abuses by the Chinese distant-water fishing fleet in the South West Indian Ocean makes it clear why this is needed, by revealing appalling human rights abuses and environmental harm.”

“Among the fishers interviewed, most of them reported shark finning, abusive working and living conditions, excessive overtime and physical violence. Fishers working on Chinese trawlers in Mozambique reported physical abuse and the deliberate capture and/or injury of vulnerable marine megafauna such as cetaceans, sea turtles, dolphins, and sharks.​​”

“Worryingly, seafood from these vessels may be reaching major international markets, with around 73% of suspect vessels listed as authorised exporters to the EU. Companies in the scope of these new rules must now do everything to eliminate such abuses in their supply chains. Those who fail to comply with the rules must be sanctioned. This law can spark a race to the top among European companies, driving a fundamental shift towards sustainable behaviour, but rigorous enforcement is needed to achieve this.”

With the world watching, the EU has the opportunity to lead by example and demonstrate its commitment to environmental protection and human rights. The pursuit of profit must never again come at the expense of people or the planet, says EJF.


Notes to editor

EJF works internationally to inform policy and drive systemic, durable reforms to protect our environment and defend human rights. We investigate and expose abuses and support environmental defenders, Indigenous peoples, communities, and independent journalists on the frontlines of environmental injustice. Our campaigns aim to secure peaceful, equitable, and sustainable futures.

Our investigators, researchers, filmmakers, and campaigners work with grassroots partners and environmental defenders across the globe. Our work to secure environmental justice aims to protect our global climate, ocean, forests, and wildlife and defend basic human rights. For more information or to speak to one of our expert analysts, please contact