German Supply Chain Law


The waiting has (for the moment) come to an end...

For a long time we have observed the developments of a German supply chain law and informed you about the petition #Fairbylaw by Lisa Jaspers and the "initiative supply chain law".

Last week, the federal government finally agreed on a supply chain law. First of all: this is a good, important and, to be honest, overdue step. In the last few months there has been a lot of discussion, and many decisions have been postponed - and it is thanks to Hubertus Heil and Gerd Müller that the resolution was finalized.

The Supply Chain Act is to come into force in spring 2023, initially for companies with over 3000 employees. A year later, this number will be reduced to 1,000 employees. To what extent companies that have fewer employees should be made responsible remains completely unclear at first.

Another point of criticism is that there should be no civil liability for companies. Peter Altmaier vehemently opposed this, bowing to the wishes of the business associations, who see the risk here in particular that German companies could migrate abroad due to the stricter regulations. The Supply Chain Act also only applies to direct suppliers.

In short: middlemen and workers, who are more at the beginning of the supply chain, are still not taken into account, even though they often lack a legal framework that can protect them comprehensively. The fashion activists of Fashion Changers put it in a nutshell "This means that it is still left to NGOs to fight for the rights of textile workers and to make them heard in the countries of sale."

So, given what the law started with and what we had hoped for, it's actually little more than a beginning. In March the supply chain law will be discussed further in the Bundestag and - we hope - improved.