[Online roundtable] Corporate (ir)responsibility made in Germany

27 November 2020
  • Starts at: 15:00h
  • Fee: Free
  • Venue: Online
  • Organiser: T.M.C. Asser Instituut


A recording of this event is available on YouTube. Please click here to watch. 

On 27 November, from 15.00-16.30, the Asser Institute’s ‘Doing business right’ project hosted an online roundtable discussion on Germany’s approach to corporate (ir)responsibility for human rights and environmental violations in their supply chains. This event aimed to analyse the evolution of the business and human rights policy discussion in Germany and its influence on the wider European debates on mandatory human rights due diligence EU legislation. Germany is the EU’s economic powerhouse and a trading giant, hence its position on the (ir)responsibility of corporations for human rights risks and harms throughout their supply chains has major consequences for the EU and beyond.


Currently, Germany is debating the adoption of a supply chain law or Lieferkettengesetz. This would mark the end of a long political and legal struggle, which started in 2016, when the German government adopted its National Action Plan (NAP) 2016-2020. Germany’s NAP, like many others, counted on voluntary commitments from businesses to implement human rights and environmental due diligence throughout their supply chains. Unlike other NAP’s, the German one also included a monitoring process, which tracked the progress businesses made during that four-year period.

The final report, which was published in September, showed that only roughly 13-17% of German businesses implemented the voluntary due diligence measures encouraged in the NAP. On the basis of these rather disappointing results, as required by the coalition agreement between the two governing parties, a draft for a Lieferkettengesetz should have been presented to the Cabinet this autumn. However, the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, backed by business lobby groups, strongly opposes any form of civil liability for human rights violations committed within supply chains and managed until now to delay the process.

Our discussion aimed to review these developments and highlight the key drivers behind the (slow) movement towards a Lieferkettengesetz. Weaving political insights with legal know-how, our speakers provided a comprehensive overview (in English) on Germany’s positioning in the business and human rights discussion and its potential influence on the future trajectory of a European legislation.

Confirmed speakers:


Winter academy: Doing business right: Due diligence as a master key to responsible business conduct

On 25-29 January 2021, The Asser Institute’s ‘Doing business right’ project is organising an online winter academy on ‘Doing business right: Due diligence as a master key to responsible business conduct’.

This academybrings together students, academics and professionals from around the world and provides a deep dive into the due diligence process as a strategy to achieve responsible business conduct.

Learn more and register here.