German Supply Chain Act set to enforce standard for global workforces

German companies will have to adhere to minimum standards for their entire global workforces under proposed legislation

Germany is to introduce legislation to force German companies that produce goods abroad to provide good working conditions throughout their entire supply chain.

Until now, companies have been expected to adhere to a voluntary code but a 2018 survey of 5,500 German companies with more than 500 employers found that only 18% of those had voluntarily implemented a system to monitor how foreign-made goods are produced. A later survey saw this figure rise to 22%.

The bill, which will be tabled in August 2020 by Labour Minister Hubertus Heil, will ensure “a legal framework to meet human rights standards that rule out child labour”. It will also ensure “basic environmental and social standards are met”, said Gerd Muller, Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, co-sponsor of the legislation. It could be law by early 2021.

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