POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - EUROPE

Survey

Overwhelming support for EU laws on corporate accountability



87% of citizens agreed that companies should be legally obliged to not get involved in human rights violations  Photo: Shutterstock

87% of citizens agreed that companies should be legally obliged to not get involved in human rights violations  Photo: Shutterstock

A survey by international data analytics firm Yougov found that over 80% of citizens from nine selected EU countries want companies to be held accountable for human rights and environmental violations.

The UK based analytics firm’s poll surveyed residents from nine countries including Spain, Germany, Czechia, the Netherlands and Slovenia ahead of the European Commission’s expected announcement of a new human rights and environmental due diligence law. This legislation would have an impact on the value chains of all companies that operate in the EU.

“The fact that more than four out of five Europeans in the nine 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. It is crucial that the European Commission and national governments establish ambitious laws that live up to those expectations. Citizens want to see justice,” said Claudia Saller, director of the European Coalition for Corporate Justice.

An overwhelming majority of the respondents wanted companies to be held liable for overseas human rights and environmental violations. Companies should be obliged to not get involved in human rights violations according to 87% of those participating in the survey. Contributing to environmental harms outside of the EU was considered unacceptable by 86% of respondents. The same amount of people felt that companies that contribute to human rights abuses and environmental crimes should be legally liable.

In February this year, over half a million people demanded stronger EU legislation following a public consultation launched by the commission, looking to get the input of citizens and organisations. A draft law on sustainable corporate governance is expected to be announced before the end of this year.