Addressing MNEs’ violations of workers’ rights through Human Rights Due Diligence. The proposal for an EU Directive on Sustainable Corporate Governance

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Sofia Gualandi

Summary: 1. Introduction. 2. Sustainable corporate governance: EU political and regulatory context. 3. Interests at stake: the EU lobbying battle. 3.1. NGOs. 3.2. Trade Unions. 3.3. Joint initiatives. 3.4. Business. 3.5. European Parliament Working Group. 4. An analysis of the European Parliament’s proposal in the light of the stakeholders’ influence. 5. Conclusions.


This paper presents the current political and regulatory efforts at EU level around the issue of regulating multinational enterprises’ subcontracting and supply chains with regard to the violation of human rights, workers’ rights and the environment. The spreading of the legal concept of Human Rights Due Diligence has reached the European Commission, which made it the basis of its legislative initiative on sustainable corporate governance. Pending the publication of the official Commission proposal for a directive, the content of the European Parliament’s report supporting the initiative is reviewed in the light of the stakeholders’ positions, with a focus on the role of the actors in work and employment relations in the current negotiations. The paper concludes with a provisional assessment of the “winners” and “losers” of this lobbying battle regarding the key legal issues of the debate to grant effective remedies to victims of fundamental labour and social rights violations.


Human rights due diligence, liability, EU private international law, European Parliament, stakeholders.