On 19 March 2019, the European Parliament Working Group on Responsible Business Conduct (RBC Group) announced the contents of its Shadow EU Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct (the Plan). The Plan sets out the RBC Group’s priorities to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights in the EU business sector over the next six years (2019-2024).

The Plan was conceived as a reaction to the alleged failure by the EU to fully implement the UN Guiding Principles of Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) despite the endorsement given in 2011.

A coalition of NGOs, including ActionAid, Amnesty International, Anti-Slavery International, Clean Clothes Campaign, the European Coalition for Corporate Justice and FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights), welcomed the Plan and encouraged candidates running for the European elections to publicly support the initiative, and to commit to take the necessary steps to ensure responsible business conduct.

Objectives set out in the Plan include:

  • Establishing human rights due diligence standards for business operations, supply chains and business relationships;
  • Strengthening the protection of human rights defenders; and
  • Creating safeguards to prevent human rights abuses through EU trade and investment, including a consistent legal framework for access to remedy.

The Plan’s implementation will be reviewed in 2022.

Link to the full text of the Plan here.