Jennifer Zerk

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Aerial photo of workers hanging thousands of different coloured fabrics to dry in a fabric factory in Narayanganj, Bangladesh. (Photo credit Joy Saha / Eyepix Group/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

The EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive looks finally set to become law, following the decision by the EU Council to approve the legislation on 15 March 2024.

Just a few weeks ago, its future hung in the balance. An unexpected move by Germany to abstain in a crucial Council vote, followed by Italy, led to the vote being pulled.

The publicly-stated reasons for these last-minute wobbles were concerns about increasing ‘red tape’ for businesses during challenging economic times. With the credibility of the EU’s responsible business agenda at stake, and with EU Parliamentary elections just around the corner, there was no time to lose in finding a compromise that might get the law over the line.…  Seguir leyendo »

Artist Luke Jerram's 'Floating Earth' at Pennington Flash in Wigan, England, which aims to prompt discussions on what individuals and societies can do to make lifestyles more sustainable. Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.

Balancing trade and non-trade policy objectives

Marianne Schneider-Petsinger

The supply chain disruptions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic highlight trade cannot be taken for granted, and economic interdependencies have both benefits and costs. As international commerce rebounds and trade policy is increasingly seen through the prism of enhancing resilience, the moment is ripe to redefine and reimagine trade.

The goal of trade policy has never been to increase trade for trade’s sake, so a new narrative and framework for global trade requires striking a careful balance between pursuing trade and non-trade policy objectives.

Protecting the environment, strengthening labour standards, and upholding human rights have long been goals for which trade policy is used as a lever, and the interaction of trade and national security interests as well as the links between trade and competition policy are not new issues either.…  Seguir leyendo »

Hotel cleaners celebrate winning a legal battle against their employers as members of the entertainment industry call for stronger support from the state after their industry was devastated by COVID-19. Photo by Sam Tarling/Getty Images.

As the UK government’s recent Integrated Review points out, international law-making in a fragmented international order is becoming increasingly difficult.

Geopolitical tensions, and the length of time required to agree multilateral treaties – typically decades – make it challenging to reach binding agreements in complex and fast-evolving policy areas such as climate change and technology governance.

As a result, the regulation of international behaviour through soft law – meaning non-binding instruments such as principles, codes of conduct or declarations – is starting to assume greater significance. And states increasingly find soft law-making attractive because there are relatively fewer decision costs involved.…  Seguir leyendo »