Finland will start developing a national human rights due diligence (HRDD) law, and promote such a regulation at the European level, according to the policy programme released on 3 June 2019 by Finland’s new government.
Such a law would require companies to conduct due diligence to ensure there are no human rights violations in their supply chains. The government that took office after Finland’s national elections on 14 April said they would conduct a study of companies and other national stakeholders as a first step toward drafting this law.
The government’s commitment to HRDD legislation results from a national civil society campaign, comprised of more than 140 non-governmental organisations, trade unions and companies, that has been calling for such legislation since September 2018.
Finland’s announcement is opportune, as they have just taken up their six-month European Council Presidency. Finland will therefore have ample opportunity to promote this agenda between now and the end of 2019.
Fern, Tropenbos International and the Fairtrade Advocacy Office have just launched a report by Duncan Brack that helps provide more detail on what form a European Union regulation could take. “Towards sustainable cocoa supply chains: Regulatory options for the EU” is designed to inform the debate about potential EU regulation of cocoa and cocoa products entering the EU market. It describes a range of actions and discusses their advantages and disadvantages. Although the report examines the problem of cocoa specifically, the options it presents are relevant to the wider HRDD debate. Indeed, one of the options it proposes is for a human rights due diligence regulation covering all commodities.