The European Commission has decided to register a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) which calls on the Commission to propose legislation requiring companies in the garment and footwear sector to carry out due diligence in respect of living wages in their supply chains.
The organisers of the initiative, Entitled ‘Good Clothes, Fair Pay’, list six objectives of such a due diligence exercise, including:
- identifying, preventing and mitigating adverse impacts on human rights.
- reducing poverty in the EU and worldwide, with particular attention to the circumstances of women, migrants and workers with precarious contracts and the need to combat child labour.
- prohibiting unfair trading practices.
- providing a right to information for consumers.
- improving transparency and accountability of undertakings in the garment and footwear sector.
The European Citizens’ Initiative was introduced with the Lisbon Treaty as an agenda-setting tool in the hands of citizens. It was officially launched in April 2012.
Once formally registered, a European Citizens’ Initiative allows 1 million citizens from at least seven EU Member States to invite the European Commission to propose legal acts in areas where it has the power to act.
The conditions for admissibility are: (1) the proposed action does not manifestly fall outside the framework of the Commission’s powers to submit a proposal for a legal act, (2) it is not manifestly abusive, frivolous or vexatious and (3) it is not manifestly contrary to the values of the Union.
As this European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) fulfils the formal conditions, the Commission considers that it is legally admissible. The Commission has not analysed the substance of the proposal at this stage.
If a European Citizens’ Initiative receives one million support within one year from at least seven different Member States, the Commission will have to react.
Following its registration on 1 June, the organisers have six months to open the signature collection.
The Commission could decide to take the request forward or not, and will be required to explain its reasoning.
More information about this announcement is available on the European Commission website.