On 28th April, Ceemet organised an online technical seminar on the Commission proposal for a Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence.

Ceemet’s Director General, Ms Delphine Rudelli was very happy to host an all-female panel of guest speakers who gave participants an overview of different perspectives from the European Commission, the private sector and employers’ organisations.  

As a first speaker, Ms Alexandra Kuxova, policy officer from DG GROW, presented the legislative proposal from the Commission’s perspective, answering three questions: why did the European Commission publish a proposal for a Directive on due diligence? What is in the proposal? And how is the content of the proposal going to be implemented?  

Her presentation was followed by insights from Ms Solveig Vitz, Head of Group Supply Chain Management at Andritz AG, who outlined the practical implications of the proposed Directive on companies. She highlighted that applying the current proposal to the entire value chain would be extremely complicated and would require very precise and clear definitions.   

Finally, Ms Hilde Thys, company lawyer from the Belgian employers’ organisation for the tech industry, Agoria and Ms Emma Argutyan, Director General of the European Employers’ Organisation of the Chemical Industry gave extensive presentations of the legal impact of the due diligence proposal on their respective industrial sectors.

Content wise, from the employers’ side, there was a consensus that companies indeed have a responsibility to take social, environmental and human rights issues into account in addition to their economic and financial performance. However, the employers’ and company representatives also underlined that the text as it currently stands will have a significant impact on the daily life of companies. Several issues came forward such as the negative effect on the European level playing field, the sharp increase of administrative burden on companies, the legal uncertainty following the unclear definitions and concepts etc.

The Commission invited Ceemet to send a list of all the issues regarding the proposal so it can be further analysed and taken into account in the course of the legislative process.

Ceemet reiterated that they look forward to further engage with the policy makers to make the text of the Directive fully workable in practice for companies.