How to best make use of the Act from the perspective of communities and rights-holders.
The impact of international value chains and the activities of multinational corporations on human rights and the environment has been known for a long time. This led to the adoption of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in 2011. However, recurring reports of human rights violations and environmental destruction in the value chains of transnational—including German—companies have increasingly led to a realization among legislators that such voluntary approaches are insufficient to ensure corporate accountability and that binding rules of human rights and environmental due diligence are needed instead.
After years of civil society activism, advocacy and litigation efforts before German courts, on 1 January 2023 a corresponding law came into force in Germany. The purpose of this guidance note is to inform relevant stakeholders—those affected by human rights violations and environmental destruction along the transnational value chains of German companies, as well as civil society organizations in producing countries—about this new law and its possibilities. In this way, the guidance is intended to support affected persons and their stakeholders to use this new instrument as effectively as possible to promote their rights and demands.