Major chocolate companies and MEPs are calling for the EU to pass a due diligence regulation addressing environmental and human rights impacts in commodity supply chains.
A representative of Mars Incorporated, the world’s largest chocolate company, called such regulation “inevitable”, speaking about the “limits of [companies] self-regulating the supply chain”, and insisting that legislation is needed to create the right enabling environment.
Companies want the EU to regulate so as to “avoid a patchwork of legislation at the national level”, said Virginie Mahin of Mondelez International, another one of the world’s largest confectionary companies – adding that an enforcement mechanism is essential to ensure the law is effective. Barry Callebaut Group, a leading chocolate supplier, joined the chorus, highlighting the need for a level playing field so as not to disadvantage companies that incur extra social and environmental costs, and noting that regulation should be accompanied by EU support to producer country governments.
MEPs have been making similar calls, launching an ambitious Shadow EU Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct on 19 March 2019. The Action Plan strongly urges the European Commission to draft human rights due diligence legislation for the EU, and to take measures to protect human rights defenders. Fifty-seven MEPs have so far pledged to carry this proposal forward if they are re-elected at the EU elections in May.