Recent Developments in Business and Human Rights Frameworks in Europe

January 12, 2021

Throughout Europe, human rights and sustainability considerations are of growing importance for businesses, both from a reputational perspective and in terms of risk mitigation.

In several jurisdictions across Europe, legislation has been enacted requiring, to varying degrees, that businesses carry out due diligence with respect to the human rights and environmental impacts of their business activities.

At the European level, the EU Council on December 7, 2020 adopted Regulation (EU) 2020/1998 and Council Decision (CGSP) 2020/1999, which establish a sanctions regime for serious human rights violations and abuses by State and non-State actors – including corporations – worldwide. This includes robust sanctions for those providing financial or other support to perpetrators of human rights abuses. These new rules signal the European authorities’ inclination to further strengthen the regulatory framework in this respect.

This alert memorandum provides an overview of the evolving EU framework, as well as recent developments in the laws of various other European jurisdictions, governing human rights considerations for businesses with respect to their supply chains and business activities. It also covers international instruments to which businesses may have regard as they navigate this changing landscape, and indicates the potential consequences of non-compliance.

Please click here to read the full alert memorandum.