Planetary Boundaries for Business

01. November 2023 | TTIP / CETA, Nachhaltigkeit


Planetary Boundaries for Business – The need for comprehensive environmental due dilligence in the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD).

This briefing compiles a number of case studies that document severe adverse environmental impacts linked to businesses that are active in the EU. The cases provide a broad picture: they show that corporate environmental impacts are diverse and affect all spheres of the natural environment as well as all kinds of industries – be it agriculture, the extractive industries or energy production. They also span many different continents – from Latin America, Asia and Africa to Europe – and all stages of a company’s value chain, from upstream (i.e. before the respective product or service is put on the market) to downstream (when a product is used and eventually disposed of).

Moreover, the cases demonstrate that an adverse environmental impact is rarely, if ever, an isolated incident. The different spheres of the natural environment are inherently interwoven. Therefore, a lack of environmental due diligence will almost inevitably cause a range of different environmental impacts. For example, lack of consideration for environmental risks in the extraction of mineral resources can lead to pollution of water, soil and air and affect biodiversity. It appears clear that the legislative approach taken to address these issues must be equally comprehensive and cannot be limited to isolated environmental issues.

The briefing highlights the persisting regulatory gap with regard to environmental impacts in corporate value chains in the context of EU negotiations on the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD). It also underpins civil society demands for comprehensive environmental due diligence obligations with real-life examples that illustrate the shortcomings of some of the CSDDD proposals. It concludes that these shortcomings will only be overcome by the proposals currently put forward by the EU parliament.

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