Overwhelming support of citizens
The most important results are as follows:
- 87% of citizens agreed that companies should be legally obliged to not get involved in human rights violations – such as forced labour or land grabbing.
- 86 % agreed that companies should be legally obliged not to contribute to environmental harms – such as air pollution or destruction of biodiversity – outside the EU.
- 86 % agreed that when companies do cause or contribute to human rights violations and environmental crimes around the world, they should be legally liable.
- When told examples of environmental and human rights abuses outside the EU, 84% agreed that victims should be allowed to take the companies responsible to court in the country in which they are based
- There was consistently high support from across the 9 EU countries polled – from the Czech Republic and Slovenia, to Spain and the Netherlands.
Claudia Saller, European Coalition for Corporate Justice, analyses the poll results as follows: "The fact that more than four out of five Europeans in the 9 countries polled see the need to hold companies accountable for trampling on human rights and destroying the environment should be a wake up call for Europe’s decision-makers.”
Jill McArdle, corporate accountability campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe, added: “This sends a clear signal to governments and European Institutions not to cave in to business lobbies who are lurking to weaken proposed new laws and escape their legal responsibilities.”
Proposal by the EU Commission for supply chain law expected
The European Commission is expected to announce a draft law on ‘Sustainable Corporate Governance’ in the final quarter of 2021. In a petition earlier this year, half a million citizens and over 200 organisations called on the EU for this law to have teeth while business organisations are lobbying fiercely against it.
The YouGov poll was commissioned by AK EUROPA, the European Coalition for Corporate Justice, Friends of the Earth Europe, Global Witness and SumOfUs. Together with the Austrian civil society campaign “Human rights need laws!”, the organisations are calling on the Commission to ensure that Companies are held civilly, administratively, and criminally liable for human rights violations and environmental harms resulting from the activities of their subsidiaries and other companies in their value chains. Apart from that, victims of corporate human rights violations and environmental harms in third countries have better access to justice in the EU. Companies’ obligation to respect the climate and the environment is integrated alongside respect for human rights.
Detailed results of YouGov poll
European Campaign on Corporate Responsibility
Austrian Campaign “Human rights need laws!” (German only)
Factsheet: Wirtschaft und Menschenrechte - Europa braucht ein Lieferkettengesetz! (German only)