- welcomes the European Commission's proposal for a regulation prohibiting products made with forced labour on the Union market (COM(2022) 453 final)
- points out that the ratification of the 2014 Protocol to the International Labour Organization (ILO) Forced Labour Convention 1930 by all EU Member States is crucial.
- recognises that the Commission mentions forced child labour in the proposed regulation. The EESC points to the need for a corresponding EU legislative initiative based on existing ILO conventions to combat all other forms of child labour.
- states that organised civil society has a central role to play in combating all forms of forced or compulsory labour. The social partners are strategically well-placed to provide institutional engagement and sustainability. The institutional anchoring of social partners and NGOs in this legislation is of paramount importance.
- welcomes the proposal to issue guidelines to assist companies with identifying, preventing, mitigating or bringing to an end risk of forced labour in their operations and value chains. This is especially important for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
- highlights the importance of transparency and open access to information for companies, competent authorities, organised civil society and the general public. The EESC proposes to introduce a benchmarking system as part of the database.
- asks the European Commission to study the feasibility of a Public EU Rating Agency for environmental and social sustainability, as well as human rights in the business context..
- calls for EU support for a binding UN treaty on business and human rights, and for consideration to be given to a possible ILO convention on decent work in supply chains. Cooperation and exchange of information with third countries and international organisations is important to ensure the proper implementation.
Composition of the Study Group
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