To help prevent workers from being exploited in the world’s poorest countries, members of the European Parliament agreed on September 12 that trade must be made fairer. The MEPs proposed measures to protect workers and the environment worldwide, by reforming global value chains (GVCs).
Their suggestions, which were included in a resolution approved by 497 votes to 124, with 56 abstentions, include boosting corporate social responsibility. They also proposed for the European Commission to consider stipulating extensive “due diligence” measures in supply chains, similar to those used for ‘conflict minerals’ and timber supply. Another suggestion was to include enforceable rules on labour and human rights in trade deals, and to develop an EU strategy to protect whistle-blowers in forced labour and trafficking cases.
According to a European Parliament press release, another proposal was to make the “social impact of production” visible on goods, to raise consumer awareness and help bring about lasting change.
The EU, the largest trading bloc, has a key role to play in ensuring the respect for human and environmental rights,” said rapporteur Maria Arena (S&D, BE). “We call for binding regulations, which would oblige multinationals to respect these rights, as seen with conflict minerals and timber supply. Wherever they operate and regardless of business, all international companies must meet these standards and respect due diligence obligations”.