EU due diligence regulations: What is ASI’s role?
Upcoming supply chain due diligence regulations suggest that certification schemes have a key role in organising and supporting compliance. But companies retain responsibilities for undertaking their own due diligence. What can programs like ASI do, and not do?
12 June 2023
On June 1, the EU Parliament approved the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) addressing environmental and human rights issues in supply. And on 16 March, the EU Critical Raw Materials Proposal was published, which aims to equip the EU with the tools to ensure the EU’s access to a secure and sustainable supply of critical raw materials. Within the proposal, certification schemes have a key role in organising and supporting compliance. But companies retain responsibilities for undertaking due diligence. What can programs like ASI do, and not do?
What can credible multi-stakeholder initiatives, like ASI, do?
- They can support companies’ due diligence efforts in 3 main ways:
- Developing objective, third-party standards and guidance through multi-stakeholder processes that support a balance of interests in decision-making.
- Providing practical learning and support that can make due diligence implementation more effective, impactful and equitable.
- Publishing relevant and reliable information through assurance processes, which can be used by companies as part of their efforts to comply with regulatory expectations.
What can’t initiatives do?
- They cannot take away companies’ own due diligence responsibilities.
- Critical decisions within human rights and environmental due diligence (HREDD) processes can only be made by companies.
- This responsibility and liability cannot be shifted to third-party verifiers or sustainability schemes that facilitate due diligence processes.
- Audits are an assessment at a point in time, so they may not resolve legacy issues.
What are some of ASI’s strengths?
- Multi-stakeholder membership, objective standards-setting and corporate governance with a balance of industry and non-industry participation
- ISEAL Code Compliant: ASI has successfully undergone independent evaluations against the ISEAL Codes of Good Practice in Standards-Setting, Assurance and Impacts
- 2022 ASI Standards have a significant strengthening on human rights and supply chain due diligence criteria, and consultation with rights-holders
- The 2022 ASI Performance Standard and Guidance have been aligned with the OECD Due Diligence Guidance to meet LME Responsible Sourcing requirements
- ASI scope covers the whole aluminium supply chain and enables both performance and chain of custody assurance against ASI’s standards criteria
- Robust auditor accreditation processes that de-risk conflict of interest issues
- ASI Assurance Manual sets out processes for interviews with local and Indigenous communities, workers and other stakeholders
- ASI has always published summary findings from independent audits
- These are periodically updated through surveillance and re-certification processes – which focus in particular on progress and closure of non-conformances
- The ASI Complaints Mechanism sets out a process that aims to ensure the fair, timely and objective resolution of complaints.
ASI continues to work with European Aluminium to understand the implications of the CSDDD for the aluminium sector and ASI members, and will provide more information on that in the coming months. ASI also engages in the ISEAL Government Engagement and Policy Working Group which supports coordination and joint action between ISEAL Members on key policy areas for sustainability systems in the EU and elsewhere.
In addition, ASI joined the OECD Multi-stakeholder Steering Group (MSG) for the Responsible Minerals Implementation Programme in April. The MSG works closely with the OECD Secretariat, providing guidance and support to operational aspects of the Responsible Minerals Implementation Programme, which aims to promote the implementation of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas.
Questions? Please contact ASI Director of Partnerships, Marieke van der Mijn
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