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Machines from German companies used in human rights violations | Germanwatch

A study published today by Germanwatch, Misereor, Transparency Germany and GegenStrömm shows: German mechanical and plant engineering supplies companies and states that are accused of serious human rights violations and environmental protection violations, often accompanied by corruption. Shortly before the vote in the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, the organizations are calling for the EU supply chain law to be designed in such a way that the entire value chain is taken into account, thus eliminating a serious loophole.

Among other things, German machines are used worldwide for the manufacture of textiles or in energy production. “Power generation facilities are often linked to land grabs, threats to human rights and environmental defenders, and land use conflicts with indigenous communities. This also applies to systems for generating renewable energy. Human rights and climate protection must not be played off against each other." Heike Drillisch, coordinator of counter-current.

“The mechanical engineering industry is an important global player, for example when it comes to supplying textile machines or turbines. The German mechanical and plant engineering sector therefore bears a great deal of responsibility. Nevertheless, the industry association VDMA refused an industry dialogue with civil society two years ago. The industry failed to actively address these risks." Sarah Guhr, coordinator for industry dialogues at the development and environmental organization Germanwatch.

“At the EU level, what was missed at the German level in the Supply Chain Due Diligence Act must be made up for: the regulation of corporate due diligence must cover the entire value chain. The fact that the VDMA rejects these duties of care with regard to the use of machines is completely unacceptable." Armin Paasch, Responsible Business Advisor at MISEREOR.

“Corruption prevails in many countries around the world in which German mechanical and plant engineering companies also do business. Since many violations of human rights and environmental protection regulations are only possible through corruption, combating them at all stages of the value chain is a basic requirement for a strong European supply chain law," says Otto Geiß, representative of Transparency Germany.


Germany is the third largest machine and plant producer in the world. The study "Corporate responsibility in mechanical and plant engineering - why the downstream supply chain must not be outsourced" examines in particular the manufacture and delivery of German machines and systems for mining, energy production, the textile sector and the food and packaging industry and the associated potential Risks and actual negative impacts on people and the environment. It's about corporations like Liebherr, Siemens and Voith.

On this basis, recommendations are formulated as to how existing regulatory gaps, especially in the EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive - the so-called EU Supply Chain Act - should be closed with regard to the downstream value chain and how companies can meet their responsibility in their due diligence processes.

To the study "Corporate responsibility in mechanical and plant engineering"

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