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The importance of environmental rights for the Sustainable Corporate Governance of the European Union

Dear President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen,

Dear Vice-President Věra Jourová,

Dear Commissioner Didier Reynders,

Dear Commissioner Thierry Breton,

The European Union is currently developing a Sustainable Corporate Governance on the duties of companies for responsible supply chains, which aims to require European companies to carry out due diligence in their supply chains and business relationships with the objective of analyzing risks and developing measures to prevent and remedy violations of human rights and environmental standards. The undersigned organizations believe that this measure is an important opportunity to contribute to prevent severe impacts that occur in the production of raw materials for the European market. To achieve this, it is necessary that the regulation is fully applied  to the whole supply chain, that it introduces civil liability and that it is in force for all companies operating in high risk sectors. In terms of environmental rights, the Escazú Agreement provides a guideline for the application of regulations for the mining and agro-industrial sectors. Therefore, we urge the European Union to include the principles of this important agreement into the regulation.

The extraction of minerals such as lithium, copper, gold or nickel as well as large agro-industrial monocultures contribute greatly to the destruction of biodiversity in Latin America. As a consequence, many rural and indigenous communities are losing their means of subsistence at a rapid rate. In addition, these megaprojects cause social conflicts and serious human rights violations. The organization Global Witness warns that every year numerous land defenders are killed as a result of conflicts in relation to these projects. In many cases, companies establish extractive and monoculture projects with the support of government corruption networks and without consulting the affected populations in a free, prior and informed manner. When affected communities protest against these projects, they are often violently repressed by security forces and criminalized by the judicial systems in these countries. As organizations that work in the defense of human rights of these communities, we know very well the human pain that these conflicts generate.

The European Union is one of the largest consumers of these raw materials. Therefore, as environmental and human rights organizations, it is clear to us that the European Union has a responsibility to prevent and mitigate these impacts by promoting responsible production and consumption patterns and by requiring companies to comply with environmental and human rights due diligence.

It is particularly important that the regulation refers to and supports international conventions that seek to achieve these objectives. One of these most innovative instruments is the Escazú Agreement, which entered into force in Latin America and the Caribbean in April 2021 and has as its objectives to guarantee the right to a healthy environment and sustainable development, strengthening the rights of communities involved in environmental conflicts. Currently, the convention has already been ratified by 12 countries and it is based on four central pillars:

  • access to environmental information
  • public participation in environmental decision-making processes
  • access to justice in environmental concerns
  • protection of human rights defenders

We consider these key principles central to promoting environmental justice in supply chains and raw material production not only in Latin America and the Caribbean, but also in other countries where extractive companies are operating. The Escazú Agreement and its principles must be integrated into the list of relevant international standards that companies must comply with as part of the due diligence measures prescribed in the regulation.

The fulfilment of these standards should be a minimum condition for European companies that seek to establish business relationships with local companies operating mines, monocultures, hydroelectric power stations and other mega-projects. In this way, the European Union would support Latin American countries in their attempts to build more sustainable economic systems and more democratic societies. Finally, a reference to the Escazú Agreement would be in tune with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Aarhus Convention.




  1. Abogados Defensores de DDHH(Guatemala)
  2. Colectivo Wasi Pacha (Bolivia)
  3. Grupo de trabajo cambio climático y justicia (GTCCJ) (Bolivia)
  4. Centro de Políticas Públicas y Derechos Humanos (Perú EQUIDAD)(Peru)
  5. Red Latinoamericana de Mujeres Defensoras de Derechos Sociales y Ambientales (Latinoamerica)
  6. Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación (ERIC-SJ)(Honduras)
  7. Colectivo de Coordinación de Acciones Socio Ambientales (Colectivo CASA) (Bolivia)
  8. Germanwatch e.V. (Germany)
  9. Reacción Climatica (Bolivia)
  10. Institute for Global Peace Work (Tamera)(Portugal)
  11. Movimiento en Defensa del Valle de Tucabaca (Bolivia)
  12. Carrera de Biología, Universidad mayor de San Andrés (Bolivia)
  13. Bolivia Libre de Transgenicos (Bolivia)
  14. Consumidores Conscientes (Bolivia)
  15. NOAH Friends of the Earth Denmark (Denmark)
  16. Deutscher Caritasverband e.V. (Bermany)
  17. Universidad Mayor de San Andres UMSA (Bolivia)
  18. Asociacion para el Desarrollo de la Población afectada por el Nemagon (Costa Rica)
  19. Instituto de Derecho Ambiental de Honduras (IDAMHO)
  20. European Environmental Bureau (Bolivia)
  21. Sub Central de cabildos indígenas del TIPNIS (Territorio Indígena Parque Nacional Isiboro Sécure)(Bolivia)
  22. Mancomunidad de Comunidades Indígenas de los ríos Beni, Tuichi y Quiquibey (Bolivia)
  23. Territorios en Resistencia (Bolivia)
  24. Comunidad Indígena el Portón Roboré (Bolivia)
  25. Coordinadora Nacional en Defensa de Territorios Indígena Originarios Campesinos y Áreas Protegidas - CONTIOCAP (Bolivia) 
  26. SOMOS SUR (Bolivia)
  27. Circolo Culturale "primomaggio" (Italia)
  28. Confederación Sindical de Comisiones Obreras (España)
  29. Guatebelga VZW (Belgica)
  30. SOLdePAZ.Pachakuti (Asturies)
  32. Reds - Red de Solidaridad para la transformación social (España)
  33. Cafe Cortado (Germany)
  34. Nación Indígena Qhara Qhara (Bolivia)
  35. Plataforma en Defensa de las Áreas Protegidas De Abel Iturralde (Bolivia)
  36. Centro de Desarrollo Humano CDH (Honduras)
  37. Fundacion COMUNIDEC (Ecuador)
  38. Unidad Ecológica Salvadoreña, UNES (Honduras)
  39. Unidad Ecológica Salvadoreña, UNES (El Salvador)
  40. Resistencia Tucabaca Roboré (Bolivia)
  41. Fundacion RENICC (Nicaragua)
  42. Red nacional de Comunidades Afectadas por la Mineria Honduras - RENACAMIH
  43. Foro Social de la Deuda Externa y Desarrollo de Honduras - FOSDEH (Honduras)
  44. Centro de Estudio para la Democracia (CESPAD) (Honduras)
  45. Asociacion Nayra Pacha (Bolivia)
  46. Colectivo de Coordinación de Acciones Socio Ambientales - Colectivo CASA (Bolivia)
  48. Forschungs- und Dokumentationszentrum Chile-Lateinamerika - FDCL (Germany)
  49. Oekumenisches Netz Rhein-Mosel-Saar/Ecumenical Network Rhine-Moselle-Saar (Germany)
  50. Aktionsgemeinschaft Solidarische Welt e.V.  ASW (Action for World Solidarity) (Germany)
  51. Asociacion de Comites de Vigilancia de Santa Cruz - ACOVICRUZ (Bolivia)
  52. Aid/Watch (Australia)
  53. Colectivo Madre Selva (Guatemala)
  54. Ciudadanía, Comunidad de Estudios Sociales y Acción Pública (Bolivia)
  55. Project on Organizing, Development, Education, and Research (PODER)(Mexico/Latin America)
  56. Otros Mundos Chiapas (Mexico)
  57. Zentrum für Mission und Ökumene - Nordkirche weltweit (Germany)
  58. INKOTA-netzwerk e.V. (Germany)
  59. Action Solidarité Tiers Monde (ASTM) (Luxembourg)
  60. Fundación Gaia Pacha (Bolivia)
  61. MISEREOR (Germany)
  62. Our Food Our Future (EUROPE)
  63. IM Swedish Development Partner (Sweden)
  64. Cora Network for Corporate Accountability (Germany)
  65. Campaña Minería Perú – "La riqueza se va, la pobreza se queda” (Germany)
  66. Earthworks (United States)
  67. CATAPA vzw (Belgium)
  68. Chico Mendes Alemania (Germany)
  69. Centro de Promoción y Educación Profesional Vasco de Quiroga(Mexico)
  70. Philippines Australia Solidarity Association (Australia)
  71. Reacción Climática (Bolivia)
  72. Centro de Informacion y Documentacion - CEDIB (Bolivia)
  73. Colectiva Feminista para el Desarrollo Local (El Salvador)
  74. Asociación comunitaria para el desarrollo SERJUS - ASERJUS (Guatemala)
  75. Movimiento Nacional Ambientalista Frente a la Mineria Industrial (Nicargua)
  76. Servicion Ecumenico para la Reconciliacion y Reconstruccion SERR (United States)
  77. Centro de Derechos de Mujeres, CDM (Honduras)
  78. Comité de Unidad Campesina de Guatemala
  80. FOS - socialistische solidariteit vzw (Belgium)
  81. TROCAIRE (Irlanda)
  82. Unidad de Protección a Defensoras y Defensores de Derechos Humanos - UDEFEGUA (Guatemala)
  83. Asociación de Investigación y Especialización sobre Temas Iberoamericano - IETI (Spain)
  84. Defensa y Conservacion Ecologica de Intag, DECOIN (Ecuador)
  85. Protection International (PI) (Global) 
  86. International Movement of Catholic Agricultural and Rural Youth-MIJARC (Belgium)
  87. Escritores  Contra el Cambio Climático (Honduras)
  88. Observatorio Latinoamericano de Conflictos Ambientales OLCA (Chile)
  89. TerraJusta (Bolivia)
  90. Instituto Alameda - Democracia y Desarrollo (Peru)
  91. Plataforma Internacional contra la Impunidad (Suiza)
  92. GegenStroemung – INFOE e. V. (Germany)
  93. Instituto de Permacultura de El Salvador
  94. PowerShift e.V. (Germany)
  95. Armenian Environmental Front Civic Initiative (Armenia)
  96. London Mining Network (United Kingdom)
  97. Igapo Project (France)
  98. The Andrew Lees Trust (United Kingdom)
  99. Vanguardia Torrijista (Panama)
  100. Asociacion para el Desarrollo Economico y Social de El Salvador - ADES
  101. Organización Comunal de la Mujer Amazonica (Bolivia)
  103. SalvAide Canada
  104. Ökumenische Initiative Mittelamerika e.V. (Germany)
  105. Fair Trade Town Hamburg (Germany)
  107. Red europea de Comités Oscar Romero (SICSAL-Europa)
  108. Earth Thrive (United Kingdom and Serbia) 
  109. Focus Association for Sustainable Development (Slovenija)
  111. Leapfrog2SD (Belgium)
  112. Movimento Saude Mental (Brazil)
  113. Asociación Civil Centro de Cultura Popular Labor (Peru)
  115. Articulação Comboniana de Direitos Humanos (Brazil)
  116. Iglesias y Minería (Latin America)
  117. Rettet den Regenwald (Germany)
  118. Salva la Selva (Spain)
  119. Almanaque del Futuro (Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru)
  120. Forum Fairer Handel (Germany)
  121. Alianza Centroamericana Frente a la Mineria (ACAFREMIN)
  122. Christliche Initiative Romero
  123. Equipo Impulsor Nacional del Acuerdo de Escazu-El Salvador
  124. Union de Comunidades Rurales de El Salvador- UCRES
  125. Derecho Ambiente y Recursos Naturales(Peru)
  126. Goliathwatch(Germany)
  127. Informationsstelle Peru
  128. WEED - World Economy, Ecology & Development - Germany
  129. Guatemala Solidarität Österreich (Austria)
  130. Association of Ethical Shareholders Germany
  131. Mines mineral and people (India)
  132. Asociacion para el Desarrollo de El Salvador - CRIPDES
  133. Deakin University (Australia)
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