Germany to Make Firms Responsible for Policing Abuses by Global Suppliers



Petra Sorge and William Boston | Wall Street Journal

BERLIN—Germany is set to force companies to screen suppliers for environmental violations and human rights abuses, such as illegal mining and child labor, in a move that some corporations says will be hard to enforce and could make them less competitive internationally.

The bill is part of a broader movement in Europe to force corporations to ensure that European legal, environmental and rights standards are upheld by suppliers outside the bloc.

European governments are reacting to pressure from human rights and environmental lobbyists, who have pressed them to do more to force companies to police their supply chains and weed out abuses in the manufacturing of products from batteries for electric cars and smartphones, to apparel from sporting goods brands.

“From today, it is clear that high standards apply not only to German workshops and German factories,” said Finance Minister Olaf Scholz. “We are protecting workers throughout the globe-spanning supply chains.”

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