Key developments

Luxembourg

Luxembourg

  • Ongoing process
  • Finalised process
  • Law
  • Legal Case
  • Policy development
    • Coalition agreement (2018) commits the new government to supporting binding legislation at the European level to strengthen social and environmental responsibilities of transnational companies. 

    • Luxembourg Due Diligence Initiative (2018) campaign proposes human rights due diligence legislation to cover all companies headquartered in Luxembourg.

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International Bodies

International Bodies

  • Ongoing process
  • Finalised process
  • Law
  • Legal Case
  • Policy development
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European Union

European Union

  • Ongoing process
  • Finalised process
  • Law
  • Legal Case
  • Policy development
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Australia

Australia

  • Ongoing process
  • Finalised process
  • Law
  • Legal Case
  • Policy development
    • The Australian Modern Slavery Act came into effect in January 2019, with companies due to publish statements for the first time in 2020. Companies are required to report on what due diligence is being undertaken in relation to modern slavery matters (among other things). There are no penalties for non-compliance. Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth).
    • Australia is also in the preliminary stages of considering amendments to its criminal code, including significant changes to the manner in which criminal liability is attributed to a company. See Australian Law Reform Commission report.
    • Changes have been made to strengthen the OECD National Contact Point during 2019, which is expected to improve corporate awareness of mHRDD and increase the ability to access remedy for people affected by Australian companies operating abroad. See AusNCP website for further details.
    • Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade of the Australian Parliament released the results of its inquiry into the establishment of a Modern Slavery Act in Australia entitled "Hidden in Plain Sight: An inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia", which recommends reporting on due diligence as a first step and to consider further due diligence meansures in a review in three years time (2017).
    • Human Rights Law Center's "Nowhere to Turn" report includes a summary of the current Australian legal framework with regard to BHR issues (2019). 
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Canada

Canada

  • Ongoing process
  • Finalised process
  • Law
  • Legal Case
  • Policy development
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Finland

Finland

  • Ongoing process
  • Finalised process
  • Law
  • Legal Case
  • Policy development
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France

France

  • Ongoing process
  • Finalised process
  • Law
  • Legal Case
  • Policy development
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Germany

Germany

  • Ongoing process
  • Finalised process
  • Law
  • Legal Case
  • Policy development
    • Federal Minister for Labour and Social Affairs and Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development publicly commit to a joint proposal for a supply chain due diligence law for German companies (December 2019).
    • German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development drafts a law on mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence for German companies (February 2019)
    • Initiative Lieferkettengesetz: German civil society campaign for a supply chain due diligence law (begins September 2019) and legal opinion (issued February 2020).
    • KiK Case: civil lawsuit on behalf of Pakistani rights’ holders against a German textile company for harm caused the result of a fire at one of its Pakistani supplier factories, killing circa 260 workers (dismissed and settled, 2019)
    • Siemens vs. Neubürger: director’s liability for breaking duty of care regarding subsidiaries (2013)
    • Social Democrats' (SPD) electoral program includes commitment to legalise human rights due diligence (2017)
    • Government’s National Action Plan considers legislative reform concerning HRDD in 2020 (2016)
    • Greens Party supports a motion calling for HRDD obligations, civil liability, and access to remedy (2016)
    • A coalition of NGOs present a legislative proposal introducing mandatory HRDD for German companies (2016)
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Italy

Italy

  • Ongoing process
  • Finalised process
  • Law
  • Legal Case
  • Policy development
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Netherlands

Netherlands

  • Ongoing process
  • Finalised process
  • Law
  • Legal Case
  • Policy development
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Sweden

Sweden

  • Ongoing process
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  • Law
  • Legal Case
  • Policy development
    • Arica v. BolidenChilean claimants allege that they suffered harm, including adverse health and environmental impacts, as a result of the negligent dumping and mismanagement of toxic waste in Chile by Swedish company Boliden. Ruling handed down March 8, 2018 in favour of the defendants, but the claimants intend to appeal.
    • Swedish Agency for Public Management report (2018) recommends Government implement Human Rights Due Diligence obligations for Swedish companies.
       
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Switzerland

Switzerland

  • Ongoing process
  • Finalised process
  • Law
  • Legal Case
  • Policy development
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United Kingdom

United Kingdom

  • Ongoing process
  • Finalised process
  • Law
  • Legal Case
  • Policy development
    • Okpabi v. Shell: Court rejected parent company responsibility for damage caused by its subsidiary. Claimants appealed. (2016, ongoing)
    • Lungowe v. Vedanta: Supreme Court upheld lower court rulings allowing a case brought by Zambian villagers against UK mining firm Vedanta to continue to be heard in UK courts. A trial is set for October 2021. (2019, ongoing)
    • AAA v. Unilever: Court found that claims against Unilever did not have arguable merit, but helped confirm developing doctrine of parent company liability and jurisdiction of courts over subsidiary. The case ultimately could not be heard in English courts. (July 2019)
    • Chandler v. Cape: Parent company deemed to have a duty of care owned to subsidiary’s employees. (2012)
    • UK Parliament’s Joint Committee for Human Rights calls for legislation to impose on all companies a duty to prevent human rights abuses. (2017)
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United States

United States

  • Ongoing process
  • Finalised process
  • Law
  • Legal Case
  • Policy development
    • Nestlé USA, Inc. v. Doe IThe Supreme Court heard oral arguments on December 1, 2020. A decision on the case is expected in late spring 2021.
    • Jesner v. Arab Bank: The Supreme Court held that foreign corporations cannot be sued for violations of international law under the Alien Tort Statute.
    • Alvarez v. Johns Hopkins University: a federal court ruled that Johns Hopkins University and two other corporations must face a lawsuit over a 1940s experiment that infected hundreds of Guatemalans with syphilis. (2019)
    • Reformed Section 307 of the Tariff Act 1930 prohibits companies from importing products produced by forced labour, even if US domestic supply cannot meet demand. (2016)
    • Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act requires disclosure of due diligence results on whether or not their products contain conflict minerals. (2010)
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This map shows legislative measures, judicial proceedings, authoritative guidance, institutional recommendations, reports, and policy statements which aim to embed companies’ responsibility to respect human rights across their global operations into law. The map does not, nor does it intend to, present a comprehensive compilation of all existing developments in this field. Its purpose is to highlight only mandatory measures, relevant judicial proceedings and decisions, and actionable political commitments. In this way, it demonstrates the growing acceptance of mandatory human rights due diligence (HRDD) and judicial solutions to holding parent companies in home states accountable for human rights abuses throughout their operations.