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International Regulatory Enforcement

The EU Human Rights Due Diligence Legislative Initiative and the Business and Human Rights Treaty
Earlier this year, the Commissioner for Justice of the European Union announced that next year the Commission will present a legislative initiative compelling companies to conduct human rights due diligence throughout their operations and supply chains, with accompanying enforcement and civil liability provisions. Because the jurisdictional breadth of the initiative is likely to be expansive, including companies doing business in the EU regardless of where they are domiciled, the impact will have global repercussions. As we have written previously, an EU mandatory human rights due diligence requirement – at least as it appears to be contemplated - is likely to have vast implications, catapulting global human rights due diligence to a business imperative akin to anti-corruption diligence.
How a Biden Administration May Approach Business and Human Rights
With election season heating up, we increasingly are asked for predictions regarding a potential Biden Administration’s approach to ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) and business and human rights. To some extent, that seems fairly clear. Former Vice President Biden has stated strongly that he sees climate change as an accelerating threat, and has released a detailed plan that sets a target of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The campaign also has pledged to address diversity and inclusion, and when the former Vice President introduced his economic plan, he stated expressly that corporations have ESG responsibilities to their workers, community and country. In that vein, corporate governance requirements and mandated disclosures almost certainly would change.
Draft Business and Human Rights Treaty, Take 3
With little fanfare, an Intergovernmental Working Group (IGWG) released the Second Revised Draft of a proposed binding treaty on business and human rights. This is third iteration of the proposed treaty, which has been steadily progressing since June 2014, when the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution by Ecuador and South Africa to create an international legally binding instrument to regulate Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with respect to human rights.