The Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI) has issued a statement in response to a non-binding report on corporate due diligence that the European Parliament has just approved. This report, presented by a Dutch member of the Parliament, Lara Wolter, is linked to the future EU initiative on sustainable corporate governance that the European Commission plans to present in June.

One of the objectives of this EU initiative is to ensure that companies address the adverse sustainability impacts of their operations and across their value chain by identifying and preventing relevant risks and mitigating negative impacts. On this issue, FESI has recalled that many of its member companies have been operating supply chain compliance management systems for several years. It points out that the recent Fashion Transparency Index 2020 has indeed shown that many companies in the sporting goods industry rank high in the disclosure of their social and environmental policies, practices and impacts. 

Some of the recommendations expressed by FESI are reflected in the European Parliament’s report, especially the fact that it is the responsibility of states and governments to protect human rights and the environment, and this responsibility should not be transferred to private actors. A debate is taking place to include this principle into the French Constitution.

However, FESI has expressed its regret about “the clear lack of harmonization as suggested in the report since it leaves the possibility for the Member States to go far beyond the legislation.” According to FESI, this would lead to a fragmentation at the EU level, and this is why it is calling for “a comprehensive European wide approach on due diligence.”

FESI has also expressed its regret about “the lack of formal recognition of the role of collaborative industry schemes” that emerges, according to the trade body, from the European Parliament’s report. It notes that collaborative industry schemes play a key role in increasing effectiveness and leverage and can help companies, especially small and medium-sized ones, to meet their responsibilities.