Five On Friday – Five Recent Developments That We've Been Watching Closely

Author:Ms Sarah Altschuller
Profession:Foley Hoag LLP

It's Friday and time for another overview of developments in the field of business and human rights that we've been monitoring.

This week's post includes: the European Parliament's adoption of a new conflict minerals regulation; the French Constitutional Council's review of the proposed duty of vigilance legislation; the dismissal of the Doe v. Nestle litigation; and the release of a new Corporate Accountability Index by Ranking Digital Rights.

On March 23, the French Constitutional Council released a decision with regard to legislation defining a duty of vigilance for parent companies and their subcontractors. The legislation, which was adopted by the French National Assembly in February, was referred to the Council for constitutional review. The Council upheld the majority of the legislation, but struck down the proposed civil penalties for companies that fail to develop a diligence plan. On March 16, the European Parliament formally adopted a new conflict minerals regulation. The regulation, which will go into effect on January 1, 2021, requires European Union smelters, refiners, and direct importers of conflict minerals will to conduct due diligence if they source gold, tin, tantulum, or gold from a non-exhaustive list of conflict-affected and high-risk areas. Unlike the U.S. conflict minerals rule, the European regulation does not impose direct obligations on companies that manufacture products containing conflict minerals. On March 2, the District Court for the Central District of California dismissed plaintiffs' claims in the Doe v. Nestle litigation. The Court did not grant leave to amend. The long running case involves claims that Nestle USA, Archer Daniels Midland, and Cargill aided and abetted child slavery in the Ivory Coast in connection with the sourcing of cocoa. The Court found that plaintiffs were unable to overcome the presumption against extraterritoriality that has applied to Alien Tort Statute cases...

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