Belgian legislative proposal on mandatory value chain due diligence
Belgium is currently considering a legislative proposal for mandatory value chain due diligence
In April 2021, the Belgian Chamber of Representatives voted in favour of considering a legislative proposal for mandatory value chain due diligence ("Proposition de loi instaurant un devoir de vigilance et un devoir de responsabilité à charge des entreprises tout au long de leurs chaînes de valeur” or “Wetsvoorstel houdende de instelling van een zorg- en verantwoordingsplicht voor de ondernemingen, over hun hele waardeketen heen”).
The Proposal is currently being considered in a specialised commission of the Chamber of Representatives. The Belgian Council of State published its opinion on the proposed legislative text on 27 September 2021.
The proposed law is intended to apply to all companies established or active in Belgium, and imposes a duty of vigilance requiring every company to:
• Respect human rights, labour rights and the environment, and
• Continuously identify, prevent, mitigate and cease environmental harm, human rights and labour rights violations, or any risks thereof, throughout their value chain.
The Proposal further envisages an extensive liability regime for breaching the duty of vigilance, which ranges from criminal liability to collective redress actions.