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Investors Welcome EU Forced Labour Ban, Offer Modifications

Members of the Investor Alliance for Human Rights (IAHR), an initiative of the Interfaith Centre on Corporate Responsibility, have welcomed the EU’s proposed forced labour product ban while recommending modifications to the rule to strengthen its effectiveness. The proposed rule is aimed at prohibiting products made by forced labour from entering the EU market. The letter from the IAHR was signed by 87 investors representing US$2.4 trillion in AuM, including Robeco, Trillium Asset Management and Storebrand Asset Management. Investors centred their recommendations on three key areas: incorporating a worker and remedy-centred approach, with companies remediating the harm suffered by the affected communities; including mandatory human rights due diligence complementary to the EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive and requiring complete value chain tracing and public disclosure for companies; and ensuring that the scope of enforcement addresses systemic forced labour patterns across producers, manufacturers, or importers and systematic state-sponsored forced labour and patterns of forced labour in companies. “We are heartened that the EU has finally taken this critical step to implement legislative and regulatory efforts to eradicate forced labour violations from its borders,” said Anita Dorett, Director of the IAHR. “As a coalition of investors who are actively engaging companies on business and human rights issues, we believe this legislation must also be centred on protecting workers, and for that reason are urging the adoption of several recommendations we believe will improve the regulation.”

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