For example, if you wanted to have some Nutella on your
toast for breakfast, you would need to conduct investigations in five separate
countries just to find the source of the raw ingredients, not to mention the
processing and transportation practices. And that’s just for a relatively
simple product. For more complex products like an iPhone, the components of
which are sourced from suppliers
in 43 countries over six continents, it would be difficult to finish your
research before the next model was released.
It should not be the responsibility of consumers to research
every potential purchase to make sure they are not unwittingly buying into
environmental destruction or human rights abuses. The companies themselves are
best placed to identify and tackle these risks, and should therefore be
required by law to prove that their business activities are not causing harms
of this kind. We call this regulatory approach mandatory due diligence.
A due diligence law must come with financial penalties to
hit lawbreaking companies where it hurts – in their pocket. More importantly, communities
which have been harmed by a company’s actions (who are for the most part
located in the Global South) must be able to access courts to seek compensation
and other forms of relief from the companies which have caused this
destruction. It is vital for affected communities be able to seek effective
remedies when their rights have been violated.