New EU guidance for companies to combat forced labour

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Brussels, EU
The EC in Brussels. Image: Pixabay

The EU has published guidance on due diligence to help EU companies to address the risk of forced labour in their operations and supply chains, in line with international standards.

The guidance aims to enhance companies’ capacity to eradicate forced labour from their value chains by providing concrete, practical advice on how to identify, prevent, mitigate and address its risk.

“There is no room in the world for forced labour. The Commission is committed to wiping this blight out as part of our broader work to defend human rights,” Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis on July 13.

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“This is why we put strengthening the resilience and sustainability of EU supply chains at the core of our recent trade strategy. Businesses are key to making this happen, because they can make all the difference by acting responsibly. With today’s guidance, we are supporting EU companies in these efforts. We will ramp up our due diligence work with our upcoming legislation on Sustainable Corporate Governance,” he added.

The guidance explains the practical aspects of due diligence and provides an overview of EU and international instruments on responsible business conduct that are relevant for combatting forced labour. The EU has already put in place mandatory standards in some sectors and actively promotes the effective implementation of international standards on responsible business conduct.

Promoting responsible and sustainable value chains is one of the pillars of the recent EU trade strategy. The guidance delivers on the strategy by helping EU businesses already take the appropriate measures, bridging the time until legislation on Sustainable Corporate Governance is in place.


The upcoming legislation should introduce a mandatory due diligence duty requiring EU companies to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for sustainability impacts in their operations and supply chains. Subject to the upcoming impact assessment, this will include effective action and enforcement mechanisms to ensure that forced labour does not find a place in the value chains of EU companies.


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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.

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