Historic EU directive puts onus on large companies to focus children’s rights

Large companies operating in the European Union face could be sued or fined if they fail to consider child rights when doing their ‘due diligence’ in their global supply chains.

Under a forthcoming new landmark directive from the EU, children will even be able to take companies to court if they believe that they have been negatively affected by a company’s business practices.

The Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD/CS3D), which is set to come into force from June onwards, will apply to EU and non-EU/third country-based companies with over 1,000 employees and with a turnover of more than 450 million euros.

Companies would be liable for fines for breaching the Directive, which will be legally binding and incorporated into the national laws of all EU countries over the next two years.

The Directive includes the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in its Annex, which means a company’s environmental and human rights due diligence will need to take in to account children’s rights.

The move has been welcomed by the Save the Children charity, which for over two years has been advocating for the Directive to be as effective as possible in protecting the rights of children.

Vasilka Lalevska, Child Rights and Corporate Sustainability Advisor for Save the Children’s Child Rights and Business Global Hub, said: “The Directive is highly significant as it marks a shift from sustainability rules being voluntary to mandatory. Large companies will have a legal obligation to carry out human rights and environmental due diligence and take effective action, and those who fail to do so will face penalties.

‘It’s important children’s rights remain on the EU political agenda’

“The Directive could have a substantial impact on the lives of children, in a year marking the centenary of the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child, when children’s rights were first recognised.

“With millions of children around the world facing extreme weather events, poverty and conflict, which threaten their safety, wellbeing and futures, it has never been more critical that companies play a role in upholding children’s rights. The adoption of the Directive is also timely, with the European elections taking place next month it’s also important that children’s rights remain a focus of the EU’s political agenda.”

Save the Children said it would continue to follow and participate in all relevant steps related to the implementation of the Directive. Save the Children will also continue to support companies to assess and strengthen their due diligence practices from a child rights perspective including to advance their strategies towards more sustainable investments in communities they source from.

Author: Simon Weedy

Add your comment

characters remaining.

Log in through one of the following social media partners to comment.