2024 February 7

Electronics Watch calls for the adoption of the EU directive on corporate sustainability due diligence

We urge member states to vote in favour of the directive on corporate sustainability due diligence to give workers around the world a better chance to live and work free from forced labour and abusive working conditions

Electronics Watch knows that forced labour is a reality for workers in many global supply chains. Our monitors provide regular evidence of workers handling highly toxic chemicals without adequate training or protection, working excessive hours, standing for long shifts to assemble parts, suffering deprivation of basic freedoms, and enduring reduced pay on illegitimate pretexts.

Battery manufacture involves the strategic mining sector which, in addition to its environmental impact, is a high-risk sector when it comes to respect for fundamental workers' rights. In the DRC, for example, many thousands of miners dig unprotected in unstable tunnels, risking their lives. In Indonesia, fatal smelter explosions are a regular occurrence.

In view of this human rights crisis in global supply chains, Electronics Watch urges member states to adopt the potentially game-changing EU corporate sustainability due diligence directive by building on the political trilogue of last December 13th.

Many industry, civil society and trade union organisations have expressed their support for implementing this vital framework legislation that will make it possible to hold players accountable throughout the value chain. It will give victims, local communities and trade unions a strong voice, and offers hope to workers that tomorrow's reality will not include forced labour and abusive conditions.

We will continue working with public authorities, industry and trade unions to promote human rights due diligence in the electronics sector in line with the international instruments of the UN, ILO and OECD. We support more than 1,500 public authorities in Europe to use their collective leverage to promote and protect the rights of workers in their supply chains.

However we are working in a fractured landscape.

The due diligence directive would unify our approach, providing a common framework for all stakeholders to follow, promoting a level playing field for companies, and ultimately benefiting workers.

We urge member states to support the EU corporate sustainability due diligence directive on Friday 9th February, and to give workers around the world a chance to enjoy decent working conditions and to realise and defend their rights.