Corporate Exploitation

Exploitation & Global Supply Chains

Millions of men, women and children work in inhumane conditions as part of global supply chains. They are paid less than a living wage and mistreated at work, where fatal factory accidents are all too common. Companies from the Global North exacerbate working conditions through their pricing and deadline demands. Certification processes and voluntary standards have proven to be ineffective in terms of bringing about improvements. ECCHR therefore uses a range of legal tools to ensure that transnational contractors, buyers and retailers are held responsible for the exploitation of workers.

Europe

Corporate Exploitation
Institute for Legal Intervention

International law should promote human rights before profit

Supply chains

Businesses’ conduct, whether by action or omission, can cause, contribute to or be linked with a variety of human rights abuses in their own operations or their business relationships, including global value chains. ECCHR views it as essential that companies be legally obliged to adequately address human rights risks – and for them to be held accountable for possible damages.

Brazil

Corporate Exploitation

The safety business: TÜV SÜD’s role in the Brumadinho dam failure in Brazil

Dam failure

In January 2019, a dam burst at an iron ore mine near the small Brazilian town of Brumadinho, killing 272 people. Toxic sludge contaminated large sections of the Paraopeba River, poisoning the drinking water of thousands of people. Only four months earlier, the Brazilian subsidiary of German certifier TÜV SÜD confirmed the dam’s safety, despite known safety risks.

Pakistan

Corporate Exploitation

After the Ali Enterprises factory fire: Proceedings against Italian auditor RINA

Textile industry

Italian audit company RINA certified a Ali Enterprises, Pakistan, building shortly before a fire broke out in the factory. The certificate failed to guarantee high standards of security. ECCHR and an international coalition of human rights organizations filed an OECD complaint against RINA in September 2018.

Pakistan

Corporate Exploitation

KiK: Paying the price for clothing produced in South Asia

Textile industry

Transnational corporations responsibilities also extend to the working conditions in their subsidiary and supplier companies abroad. This position is supported by survivors and relatives of victims of the fatal fire at the Ali Enterprises textile factory in Karachi. Together with ECCHR, they filed a legal action for compensation against KiK.

Bangladesh

Corporate Exploitation

More for show than safety: Certificates in the textile industry

Textile industry

A few months before the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Dhaka, TÜV Rheinland audited the production facilities at textile producer Phantom Apparel Ltd as part of a social audit. ECCHR argues that TÜV Rheinland ignored professional auditing standards.

Qatar

Corporate Exploitation

Forced labor in global supply chains

Labor exploitation

In a comprehensive study, ECCHR has examined whether European companies through their transnational operations cause or contribute to forced labor or other labor abuses along their supply chains and whether they can be held to account. The result of this work is reflected in the report “Accountability for forced labor in a globalized economy.”

Uzbekistan

Corporate Exploitation

The cases against European cotton traders

Textile industry

Uzbekistan is considered one of today's most repressive regimes in the world. ECCHR has been engaged in various proceedings to demand that the political and economical interests of Western actors do not further undermine human rights in Uzbekistan.

India

Corporate Exploitation

India: Clinical trials with minors

Pharmaceutical industry

In 2009, the States of Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat launched a research project for the vaccination against the human papilloma virus (HPV). In 2010, the Government of India suspended the program as several violations of ethical standards were reported.

Bangladesh

Corporate Exploitation

Complaint re fair working conditions in Bangladesh: Lidl forced to back down

Textile industry

On the initiative of ECCHR the Hamburg Consumer Protection Agency filed an unfair competition complaint against the German discount retailer Lidl for claims made in the company's advertisements about fair working conditions in their supplier chain.