Understanding the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD)

The Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) represents a significant step forward in the European Union’s efforts to promote sustainable and responsible business practices. With its focus on human rights and environmental protection, the directive imposes new obligations on companies, affecting their operations, subsidiaries, and value chains. This blog post delves into the key aspects of the CSDDD, including its scope, main elements, and potential impact on enterprises and medium-sized businesses, offering practical insights into compliance and the benefits of embracing sustainable practices.

Scope and Application

The CSDDD targets a broad range of enterprises, including those outside the EU with significant operations within the market. Specifically, it applies to companies with:

  • More than 1000 employees and a net worldwide turnover exceeding EUR 450 million.
  • Significant turnover within the EU, including non-EU companies meeting similar criteria​​.

This inclusive approach ensures that sustainability principles permeate through global value chains, affecting enterprises and medium businesses alike. Indeed, also the medium businesses to continue to work with big enterprises will have to be more transparent on their ESG impact.

Key Elements

Due Diligence Obligations

At the heart of the CSDDD are the due diligence obligations concerning human rights and environmental impacts. Businesses are required to identify, prevent, and mitigate adverse impacts within their operations, including those of their subsidiaries and value chain partners​​. This encompasses a wide range of potential issues, from labor rights violations to environmental degradation.

Liability and Remediation

A pivotal aspect of the directive is the emphasis on liability for non-compliance and the provision of remediation for adverse impacts. Companies are mandated to establish mechanisms for redress and can be held liable for violations, underscoring the legal imperatives for adherence to due diligence processes​​.

Reporting and Transparency

Enhanced transparency is another cornerstone of the CSDDD. Companies must publicly disclose their due diligence actions, ensuring stakeholders are informed about their efforts to mitigate adverse impacts and promote sustainability​​.

Impact on Businesses

The CSDDD compels businesses to reevaluate their operations, subsidiaries, and supply chains through a sustainability lens. This involves:

  • Integrating Sustainability into Corporate Strategy: Aligning business practices with sustainability goals becomes not just an ethical choice but a legal requirement.
  • Enhanced Risk Management: Identifying and mitigating risks related to human rights and environmental impacts is central to compliance, necessitating robust risk assessment mechanisms.
  • Operational Adjustments: Businesses may need to make operational changes, including revising supplier contracts, enhancing transparency, and adopting sustainable practices.


The CSDDD is a significant legislative step towards embedding sustainability in the fabric of corporate operations across the EU and beyond. By fostering a culture of responsibility towards human rights and environmental protection, it challenges enterprises and medium-sized businesses to be front-runners in the transition to a sustainable economy. Compliance not only mitigates legal risks but also positions companies as leaders in corporate responsibility, potentially unlocking new opportunities in a rapidly evolving global market.


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