By Vatican News
More than 110 Bishops from all over the world have signed a statement calling on states to put an end to corporate abuse by both local and transnational companies.
The statement published Monday on the website of International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity (CIDSE) points out that ongoing corporate abuse has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis, especially in vulnerable communities which lack social protection.
“Corporate abuse at the detriment of the people is still widespread,” the statement notes. “But States all over the world have a unique opportunity to step up and stop this by introducing binding measures nationally, but especially at international and regional level where the major gaps lay.”
The Bishops’ appeal
In the statement, the Bishops highlight the need for “mandatory supply chain due diligence to stop corporate abuse and guarantee global solidarity.”
They point out that “the violations of workers’ rights and the damaging consequences on the environment of unprecedented levels of consumption and production” are under the spotlight and “governments are trying to counter-act these systemic violations.”
According to the Bishops, “our economies should follow values of dignity and justice, and be respectful of the rights of the people and the environment.”
Highlighting that women have “once again been disproportionately affected” by the Covid-19 crisis, they insist that the pandemic has “exposed our interdependency…exposing our dependence on vulnerable laborers doing essential work across the globe.”
Call for solidarity
Without adequate legislation – the Bishops say – it will not be possible to prevent transnational corporations from “carrying out tax evasion, abusing human rights, infringing labor laws, and the destroying of entire ecosystems.”
They argue that mandatory due diligence laws are the “only legislative option to protect communities and celebrate the interconnectedness of our human nature.”
According to the statement, a recent study published in February by the EU affirms that “voluntary measures and failing and there is urgent need for regulatory action at EU level.”
In this regard, the Bishops welcome the decision of EU Justice Commissioner, Didier Reynder, who announced in May that EU legislation on mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence for corporations will be developed soon.
They call on State leaders to advance on binding legislation by participating in United Nations (UN) negotiations for a treaty on human rights and business activities. This, the Bishops hope, “will prevent any country or company to make use of exploitative models of production and accept the destruction of creation in order to improve their competitive position in the world market.”
Concluding the statement, the Bishops note that “the existing system hurts people and the planet and we are called to do better.” They invite everyone to take this crisis “as an opportunity to start a just transition to put in place a new economic system that serves people and the planet first.”