Inaction is not an option: we need strong rules on director’s role to make business better

Publié: 25th mai 2021

Oxfam has joined 14 NGOs to push the European Commission to keep to its commitment to reform the role of company directors to make big companies more accountable for human rights and environmental abuses in their supply chains, and more sustainable – a key move in light of current challenges such as the climate crisis and a growing gap between the rich and the poor. 

In the face of recent opposition by some business associations and specific Nordic countries, there are fears that the European Commission is back-peddling on its commitments by pushing the file down the road and assigning the file to a pro-business Commissioner.  

In a letter sent to EU climate chief Frans Timmermans and Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders, NGOs reiterated their support for the Commission to draft rules on the role of directors in making sure companies clean up their supply chains, and seriously integrate long-term thinking in corporate decision-making as outlined in plans to tackle the climate crisis. This move would make companies more sustainable, responsible and prepared for the long-term.  

Current claims of diminished competitiveness by the Nordic governments and loud, but in the minority, business associations are unsubstantiated. Playing games to delay these rules and refusing to engage in discussions is just another tactic to kick the ball further down the road – and shows a lack of commitment to address honestly and collectively the biggest challenges of our time. 

Oxfam calls for strong and clear rules on the role of director’s in making sure companies truly face the current and future crises – such as climate change and are accountable for human rights and environmental abuses in their supply chains. All stakeholders should engage in meaningful and constructive dialogue.  


Notes aux rédactions

  • Spokespeople are available for comment. 

  • Read the full letter here.  

  • The European Commission proposed rules on director’s duties, i.e. Sustainable Corporate Governance, last July in the roadmap set in the EU Green Deal and the Action Plan on Sustainable Finance.  

  • Oxfam’s campaign ‘Behind the Barcodes’ calls for an end to human rights abuses in food chain supplies.  

  • Oxfam’s France report has showed how French CAC40 CEOs remunerations are overwhelmingly based on short-term financial criteria 

  • Leaders from the business and investor sector have publicly supported the EU Sustainable Corporate Governance initiative earlier this year, backed by over 90 company law experts and academics. 


Jade Tenwick | | mobile +32 473 562260     

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