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International Dialogue | 

Addressing the Shortcomings of the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act

Image for representational purposes only. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Germany passed the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act on June 11, 2021. It came into effect in 2023 and initially applies to companies with 3,000 or more employees and, from 2024 to companies with 1,000 or more employees based or with branches in Germany. The law requires these companies to identify risks of human rights violations at their direct suppliers and, if necessary, take countermeasures, documenting them to the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA). The BAFA will have enforcement powers and fines and penalties can be imposed for non-compliance.

FEMNET aims to address the shortcomings of the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act and ensure effective implementation while advocating for a Europe-wide regulation beyond German law's scope. The current law falls short of adequately protecting individuals from human rights violations by German companies. It applies only to very large companies and focuses primarily on their immediate suppliers without sufficient consideration for internationally recognised standards. Additionally, it does not establish civil liability, denying victims of human rights abuses the ability to seek damages under the law. The project intends to highlight these deficiencies through real cases from the textile industry, demonstrate the impact of the gaps on affected individuals and companies, and advocate for necessary improvements in the law.

The project will be implemented in two phases in South Asian countries of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan along with Indonesia and Cambodia in South East Asia. In the first phase in 2022, real and well-documented cases from the clothing industry will be used to illustrate the specific effects of the legal gaps on victims and businesses. The project will develop scenarios demonstrating the positive changes that can be achieved through amendments to the law. Information will be provided to organisations in production countries about the possibilities the law offers to protect the affected individuals. Following the law's enforcement, the selected cases will be further developed in the second phase to enable the victims to assert their rights in court. The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) will assume legal representation on behalf of the victims to pursue their rights.



FEMNET supports women's rights in the global garment industry with political commitment, educational and advisory work and a solidarity fund. We demand that companies take responsibility for their actions and that politicians create binding rules.

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