Our position on the European Supply Chain / Due Diligence Act proposal - CSDDD
VAUDE endorses the envisaged mandatory due diligence for companies in the EU. We call for
ambitious, fast-acting and binding standards for greater sustainability at the EU level which
would apply to as many companies as possible.
Legally binding sustainability standards are needed
Voluntary analyses of businesses’ social and environmental impact, as well as voluntary action
and acceptance of responsibility, have fallen far short of the level of commitment required to
make a significant contribution to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris
Agreement on Climate Change, and compliance with ILO Core Labor Standards.
For this reason, VAUDE supports the EU Commission's proposal to create a legal duty of care for
companies to identify and prevent, bring to an end, or mitigate the impact of their activities on
the environment and on human rights abuses.
Impact more important than company size
VAUDE supports the scope of application envisaged in the EU Commission's proposal, which
states that large companies (500+ employees and €150 million minimum turnover) will be
obliged to comply with the CSDDD starting in 2026 and high-risk sector companies with 250+
employees and minimum turnover of €40 million starting in 2028.
Whereby, from our point of view, the risk potential of a company would be a more sensible
parameter than a company’s size as even very small companies can have a serious impact on
vulnerable groups or sensitive natural areas such as marshlands. Therefore, from VAUDE's point
of view, small companies (SMEs) in high-risk sectors should also be included in the CSDDD
Rules also binding for non-EU companies
As a company whose sales market in the EU is dominated by international companies, we
believe it is imperative that the CSDD also applies to companies based outside the EU in order to
ensure fair market conditions.
Climate protection is a duty of care
The EU Commission stipulates that companies must align their business model and corporate
strategy to limiting global warming to 1.5 °C in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement.
VAUDE expressly welcomes this and also calls for companies from high-risk industries to
integrate science-based climate targets into their strategies, regardless of their company size,
and that, in addition to climate protection, the protection of biodiversity and drinking water be
included as corporate duties of care.
Clearly defining value chains
In its CSDDD proposal, the EU Commission chose the term "established business relationships"
to define value chains. From VAUDE's point of view, this is not a suitable definition; it is too
vague and bears the risk of disregarding essential risks from the value chain or changing
suppliers more frequently.
Instead, the EU supply chain law should be based on the UN Guiding Principles and apply to all
direct and indirect business relationships in accordance with a risk-based approach.
Membership in initiatives does not replace corporate responsibility
In VAUDE's experience, ambitious standard systems and certification systems can provide
meaningful support in fulfilling corporate due diligence obligations with regard to both human
rights and environmental protection, provided they involve representatives of the stakeholders
concerned in defining criteria and governance, set demonstrably high requirements for member
companies, and make companies' sustainability performance transparent.
However, in VAUDE's view, these standard and certification systems cannot provide companies
with a blanket exemption from their responsibilities or fulfill them on the company’s behalf.
Civil liability strengthens implementation
Companies must be held liable if they fail to meet their due diligence obligations and therefore
violate human rights or harm the environment. This is not about holding companies responsible
for the misconduct of suppliers, but about the company's own responsibility to prevent social
and environmental harm by taking appropriate measures.
VAUDE agrees with the combination of regulatory control including fines and civil liability
provided for in the EU Commission's proposal.
However, it is also necessary to harmonize sanctions within all EU states instead of leaving this
to the EU states themselves. Weak national enforcement rules must not be allowed to become a
Affected parties must be able to sue for their rights / Mandatory Rules
So that those affected can also sue for their rights in Europe, the draft of the EU Commission
provides for "mandatory rules".
VAUDE supports this, as it ensures that the regulations of the CSDD also apply to those affected
if the national law of their home country does not correspond to the (stricter) EU law.
Directors’ duties and directors’ compensation dependent on sustainability
From our own experience, we know how important it is for the management itself to take
responsibility for consistent implementation of sustainability aspects in business practices.
Therefore, VAUDE welcomes the regulation on Directors’ Duties envisaged by the EU
VAUDE also advocates that the variable remuneration of the company management should be
linked to the sustainability performance of the company in order to ensure that sustainability
goals have the necessary priority and importance in corporate practices.
Working together to move forward, at last!
VAUDE would like to see companies joining forces in Europe to pass effective EU supply chain
law. We call on business associations in all sectors to work proactively, constructively and
creatively toward this end. Our common goal must be for European companies to make a
measurable contribution to respecting human rights and protecting our natural resources.
This would make a vital contribution to the future viability and competitiveness of European