No Exploitation

Call for proposals: Medium projects  
Priority area: Strengthened civil society watchdog/advocacy role
Project duration: 1 April 2023–31 March 2024
Project budget: EUR 49,711.00

Voluntary commitments by companies will not be enough to reduce the harmful impacts of our actions on the environment or prevent violations of human rights. In the last decade, child labor across the globe has increased by 14%. The production of palm oil – which can be found in half of all products available in stores throughout the EU – accounts for as much as 1.4% of all greenhouse gas emissions. From 40 to 60 million people work in the impossible work conditions of the textile industry. As many as 80% of them are women, who also face other forms of discrimination. Negative impacts on the environment, violation of human rights, and climate change are the result of corporate practices of companies, which produce their products in the framework of global supply chains – different stages of production take place in different countries around the world. These products are used daily throughout the EU. As a consequence, these products have also found their place on the shelves of Slovene stores.

At the European level, legislation is being adopted that will lay out the responsibility companies have towards managing the conditions in the value chains of companies operating in the European Union, namely the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive. The current proposal fails to provide solutions to the said problems and is not in line with neither the documents of the United Nations nor the purpose of the legislation, which should include responsibility and redress.

Slovenia will have to transfer the said directive onto the national legislation. We are one of the countries with the smallest capacity for transferring European legislation to the national level and supervising it. Consequently, Slovenian companies can implement unsustainable activities in Slovenia or abroad. This is why we need a clear legal framework and ambitious approach for Slovenia and a stronger supervisory role of the civil society. We must solve the problem at the level of individuals, society, politics, and companies.

The No Exploitation (Brez izkoriščanja in the Slovene language) will increase the capacities of civil society and companies. Together, we will advocate a stronger legislation and ambitious solutions. To achieve our objective, we will carry out a a survey on the knowledge about the directive among Slovenian companies, knowledge about the interest of companies in improving supply chains in terms of sustainability, knowledge about the problem of exploitation of people and destruction of the environment, and willingness to support this ambitious legislation. While the legislation will not directly affect the majority of companies, medium and small-sized companies will also be affected as suppliers to larger European companies that will have to abide by the new requirements. We will present cases of worker exploitation in Slovenia and negative impacts on the environment together with various stakeholders, such as Slovene trade unions. Doing so, we will test the scope and willingness of the Slovene economy to act more sustainably.

With the advocacy campaign, we will strive to establish a better legislation, aid in establishing fairer supply chains, and encourage active involvement of Slovene stakeholders in the process of drawing up and adopting the new legislation.

Contact person: Živa Kavka Gobbo

Project promoter: Focus Association for Sustainable Development

Project partners: 3MUHE Fair Trade Institution, Center for Business Excellence of the University of Ljubljana, School of Economics