C2 Background
German business association BNW demands stricter supply chain law

23.04.2021 On the occasion of the first reading of the government draft for a German Due Diligence or Supply Chain Act, the German Sustainable Business Association (Bundesverband Nachhaltige Wirtschaft e.V.) calls for more ambition. In order for the law to effectively ensure a level playing field, the government draft needs to be strengthened, the association stated.

The German government's Supply Chain Act should be significantly strengthened, according to BNW.
© Photo: @Julius_Silver – pixabay.com
The German government's Supply Chain Act should be significantly strengthened, according to BNW.

"The Bundestag must now seize the opportunity for Germany to take a pioneering role in the topic of corporate responsibility for the supply chain after all," says Dr Katharina Reuter, BNW executive director, explaining the association's position.

Ambitious EU regulation

"In view of the fatal obstructionist tactics of the Ministry of Economics on the one hand – and the hopeful resolutions for an ambitious EU regulation on the other, we are now counting on the government draft being strengthened," Reuter continues. "The pioneering companies in our association show every day what is possible when a company takes responsibility for its supply chain. However, we now need binding regulations for all so that the same due diligence obligations apply. This is the only way to create a level playing field." This is also confirmed by Jörg von Kruse, managing director of i+m Naturkosmetik Berlin GmbH. In his view, the Supply Chain Act could lead to "a positive change in the structure of business."

With its recently launched campaign #TransparentesWirtschaften (“transparent business”), the BNW has already refuted the common opinion that "the" economy is against the Supply Chain Act. Rather, the campaign was able to show how many companies would like to see an effective supply chain law. Jona Christians, CEO of Sono Motors GmbH, also calls on politicians to create a framework that ensures more transparency: "The responsibility for sustainable mobility does not end with the car. We stand up for a world in which human rights are respected along the entire value chain. We therefore support the implementation of a supply chain law to ensure more transparency along the supply chain."

Different sectors join in

In the joint statement, companies from very different sectors (including Tchibo, Ben & Jerry's, Weleda AG, VAUDE, Beckers Bester, Tony's, Shift Phones, Sono Motors) call for tightening up on these three points:

- Consistently applying the risk-based approach of the UN Guiding Principles and OECD Guidelines, and ensuring that proactive due diligence applies to the entire value chain.

- Strengthening of the rights of affected persons and "level playing field" in the requirements for redress (incl. legal mechanisms).

- No minimum size for companies and applicability also for companies with business activities in Germany