The European Commission has presented its long-awaited proposal for a Directive on due diligence for companies on human rights and the environment. The aim is to impose obligations on companies to verify and prevent the negative impacts of their activities on workers, consumers, vulnerable communities and ecosystems (so-called due diligence).

The proposal certainly represents a significant breakthrough, but it is still not enough to contribute to the respect of human rights and the environment in the world, warns the Impresa2030 campaign.

Giosuè De Salvo, head of Advocacy, Education and Campaigns at Mani Tese and co-spokesperson for Impresa2030, says: “This is certainly a step forward, but there are a number of obvious critical issues. The law, as it is conceived, stipulates that only large companies – i.e. those with a turnover in excess of €150 million and more than 500 employees – will be held legally responsible for violations generated directly or indirectly by their activities. In particularly high-risk sectors such as agriculture, textiles/clothing and mining, the threshold drops to 250 employees with revenues of more than EUR 40 million, but this is not enough to extend the legislation to the vast majority of European companies, 99% of which are small and medium-sized, including those in high-risk sectors. The number of staff employed and the annual turnover are not figures that necessarily tell the story of how a company can create damage to the environment and people. If the directive were to affect only 0.2% of European companies, we would miss a historic opportunity to use due diligence as a strategic lever to change the corporate culture that has always put and still puts profit before respect for fundamental rights and nature”.

Martina Rogato, co-spokesperson for Impresa2030, says: “The proposal also leaves plenty of room for circumvention. Large companies, for example, could add new conduct clauses in their contracts with smaller supplier partners and, in doing so, free themselves from the obligation to supervise by transferring it to them”.

While the proposal provides for the introduction of civil liability for failure to comply with due diligence obligations, the text does not take into account a number of obstacles in victims’ access to justice. “There is no remedy for a number of factors that often deny victims a fair trial – explained De Salvo – such as high legal fees, excessively short reporting deadlines, a disproportionate burden of proof compared to the strength of the opposing parties. Imagine, for example, an indigenous Nigerian community accusing a multinational oil company”.

“The Commission’s draft directive promises a new path to justice and compensation for exploited, traumatised and injured communities and workers. But,’ Rogato illustrates, ‘unless it makes it easier for victims to sue companies, it is unlikely to make a difference. And this lack of substantive accountability risks perpetuating major problems such as the exploitation of labour, including child labour, access to land and forests, the destruction of biodiversity and CO2 emissions into the atmosphere”.

On the subject of global warming,” De Salvo explains, “the European Commission wants companies to adopt a climate transition plan in line with the 1.5 degree target of the Paris Climate Agreement. However, the proposal does not foresee specific consequences for breaching this obligation”.

The proposal, which has been awaited and postponed from June 2021 until now, will now be negotiated by the European Parliament and the Council: “We now call on the European Parliament and the Council to strengthen the text and fill in the gaps, in order to adapt it to the obvious and urgent need to protect people and the planet,” Rogato concludes.

by Samuele Tini, Mani Tese Kenya Country Officer

We would love to write about our projects and the initiatives we are carrying out in Kenya, but at this time it is also our duty to inform and raise awareness about what is happening in the country.

Kenya is in a difficult situation. After two years of sporadic rainfall caused by climate change, the situation has deteriorated further this year.

The United Nations recently launched an appeal to save as many as 2.1 million people at risk. Since then, the news has unfortunately not been encouraging.

The rains are slow in coming, and local newspapers are increasingly reporting conflicts between people and wildlife. Because of the drought, animals are leaving protected areas in search of food and entering inhabited areas. Many animals, including dozens of elephants, giraffes and other herbivores, have unfortunately died in recent days, as reported by the national newspaper Nation. Livestock losses have also occurred.

As reported in national newspapers, political representatives from the most affected communities have provocatively called for the elections to be postponed and for the money to be used to fight the drought.

As if that were not enough, a few days ago (28 November) Nairobi was hit by a cloudburst. Pictures of cars sailing and sinking in the water have gone around the country. Some photos here

Climate change has become a reality. Our activities in the Baringo area are also affected by the severe drought, which is putting the communities we work with under strain.

In addition to the red-hot hammer of drought, the anvil of pandemic has also returned.

After the news of the compulsory vaccination required for most activities by December and after witnessing a reduction in Covid cases, the new Omicron variant seems to take us back to the world of 2020 with closures, flight stoppages and the resulting economic crisis.

For countries like Kenya, for which tourism is one of the most important sources of income, these restrictions, as well as a more general phobia towards Africa, risk dealing the death blow to already precarious economic activities. Just one month before the summer season in the southern hemisphere, they make us fear the worst.

Kenya has so far not been affected by the blockades announced by several countries, but the knock-on effect will be felt. And the positivity rate has risen fivefold in the space of a week, to 6.6 per cent, creating renewed alarm and rumours of closures.

The African Union has asked not to create panic and to avoid discriminatory measures. There are calls from many quarters to finally provide more vaccines to the African continent which, with the exception of South Africa, has very low percentages of people vaccinated. Training and awareness-raising activities are also needed for populations affected by the economic crisis and the impacts of climate change.

As always, we at Mani Tese are trying to work alongside the communities in this delicate moment, hoping for a quick return to normality, which will avoid further shocks to already fragile economies.

A child collects water from the drought-dried Molo river (© Alessandro Grassani)

by Giosuè De Salvo, manager of advocacy, education and campaigns of Mani Tese

At the end of a 10-day official visit to Italy, the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights has highlighted serious and persistent abuses with regard to the activities of companies in Italy.

Such abuses include inhumane working and living conditions for thousands of migrant workers, serious occupational health and safety problems, and environmental pollution that endangers public health.

United Nations experts have urged the Italian government to take decisive action to put an end to the exploitation of foreign migrant workers and to make Italian companies legally responsible for the violations of human rights and the environment that occur as a result of their production activities.

“Migrant workers, including those from African and Asian countries, working in sectors such as agriculture, clothing and logistics, are trapped in a vicious cycle of exploitation, debt slavery and human rights abuses that must be broken” declared Surya Deva, Chairman of the Working Group.

The Working Group welcomed the government’s efforts to dismantle the illicit recruitment system known as “caporalato”, but said that “many workers living in inhumane conditions do not glimpse any positive change in their lives.”

United Nations experts visited communities living in industrialized areas, such as Taranto and Val d’Agri, which stressed the failure of their own government to respect their rights to health and a clean environment.

“Their concerns must be taken seriously” – Deva argued – “We need to make concerted efforts to instill trust, independently monitor emissions and health effects and provide effective solutions. These solutions must be forward-looking and contribute to global efforts towards achieving decarbonisation and the transition to a green economy.”

The Working Group called for significant improvements in the review and application of laws, in carrying out effective monitoring of business activities and in strengthening access to judicial or extra-judicial remedies for victims of abuse. Italian and foreign companies operating in Italy must also carry out systematic checks on the impact of their operations and their supply chains on human rights.

In general, the measures adopted by the government to strengthen Italy’s legal and political framework in the business and human rights sector are appreciable, but there is still a need to better implement the laws and impose adequate sanctions to dissuade companies from violating these laws.

“As a highly developed economy of the European Union, Italy should create a strong and independent national human rights institution as soon as possible, vested with an explicit mandate that allows it to intervene on issues regarding human rights abuses related to business activities. It should also enact a law on mandatory due diligence with respect to human rights and the environment” Deva finally declared.

The Working Group visited Italy from 27 September to 6 October to review the efforts made by the Government and businesses to comply with their human rights obligations and responsibilities, in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights both in Italy and in relation to the activities and supply chains of Italian companies abroad. He visited Lazio, Campania, Puglia, Basilicata, Lombardy and Tuscany. It also considered the impact of Covid-19 on promoting responsible business behavior practices.

Mani Tese, in collaboration with other associations and NGOs, has long been involved in the promotion and monitoring of the application of the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights and on the occasion of this important visit has decided to create an English version of its ebook “Business and Human Rights. How to link the freedom of enterprise to respect for human rights“.



Mani Tese has always promoted environmental justice in the world, as the right of communities to exercise full control over the natural and energy resources of their territory.

In recent years, however, climate change is altering access to these resources, causing serious harm especially to indigenous peoples in the global South.

As is often the case, it is the most vulnerable who pay the price for the wicked choices of big business and politics.

For this reason we have decided to join the Climate Open Platform, a network of organizations and individuals who want to have a voice at the COP26 next November in Glasgow (Scotland), where nations from around the world will gather to decide on the future of all the inhabitants of the planet.

Read the appeal below

The 2015 COP21 Paris Accords seemed like an important first step in the right direction. Six years later, the results achieved are largely unsatisfactory.

The goal of limiting global warming to below 1.5 degrees has been called into question, so much so that there is now talk of not exceeding 2 degrees. But between the two values there is a huge difference with respect to the impact on ecosystems and the lives of people living in areas most at risk. We are tired of the climate crisis not being taken seriously and we are tired of the empty promises of politicians and governments around the world. Some timid steps forward have been taken, but no action has yet been taken with the necessary urgency and concreteness, while extreme weather, desertification and many other cataclysmic events are already bearing down on us. We are tired of the pollution and greenwashing of the public debate by oil companies, private lobbies and all the other great devastators of the planet. We think it is important that life on the planet be defended from the predatory and extractivist approach that the powerful of the earth have carried out in the last centuries.

That’s why it’s essential to have a voice at COP26 next November, in Glasgow (Scotland), where nations from around the world will gather to decide on the future of everyone on the planet.

The steps towards this event will be held in our country, in Milan, between September 28 and October 2. The Youth4Climate and PreCOP are called to make recommendations and define key issues for the negotiations of the following month.

We therefore give life to the Climate Open Platform. As civil society and movements we want to do our part, monitoring and trying to influence the institutional processes, in accordance with the associations and movements that will act in Glasgow and that share the guiding principle of our action: Climate Justice.

By climate justice we mean the social, economic and political change aimed at halting and reversing the effects of climate change and redistributing resources and well-being in a fair way at a global level, through a strong role of states and the centrality of real democracy and participation.

A commitment to justice that gives global warming an ethical and political dimension, as well as an environmental one, and that requires considering the disproportionate impact of climate change on citizens and communities, in both rich and impoverished economies. The most vulnerable social groups and peoples are in fact the ones who suffer the greatest impact even though they are the least responsible for overall climate-changing emissions. The rights of peoples, especially in historically and/or still exploited areas of the world, must be protected.


Starting from these premises, the Climate Open Platform aims to be a space of political and organizational convergence, in which to continue a collective work based on confrontation and consensus among all the realities and individuals who want to take part in the construction of this path.

During the last week of September, at the same time as the Youth Cop and Pre Cop meetings, Climate Open Platform will organize in Milan the Eco-social Forum, a week of events, initiatives, debates, actions, which will focus on the battle for climate and social justice, and will take to the streets on October 1st and 2nd, bringing back the fight for a fairer world.

In addition, Climate Open Platform will consider participation or solidarity in non-violent climate justice actions and mobilizations organized by other activists, organizations, and movements that promote a horizon of claims consistent with this call.

Towards and during these important events we want to build a path that makes our voice heard, the voice of all and everyone, the voice of those who want to give a different future to the planet.

Let’s spread the word, let’s participate, let’s get organized!

According to various sources, more than 100 civilians were killed in the attack that took place on the night between 4 and 5 June at the village of Solhan, located in the province of Yagha in the Sahel region, located on the border between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. In these three countries, unfortunately, a crisis is underway which at the moment seems unstoppable and which is causing immense suffering to the civilian population: attacks, deaths and thousands of displaced people who have to flee their lands are daily news.

Returning to what happened in Solhan according to the news agency of Burkina Faso the terrorists, several groups of jihadist matrix have been operating for years in this area of the country, entered the village shooting on the people they met, setting fire to homes and the village market. It is the most serious tragedy since 2015, a year that is considered to be the start of the process of destabilization of Burkina Faso, which has so far led to more than 1400 deaths and more than a million internally displaced persons.

“The country is in shock for this further attack – Giulia Polato tells us from Ouagadougou, where she manages the projects of Mani Tese in the country – People are terrified, tired and devastated by this war of which on the other side of the Mediterranean no one speaks. Today there are 132 dead to mourn. And tomorrow?”

Three days of national mourning have been proclaimed by President Rock Kaboré, who also declared that the country’s defense and security forces have been mobilized to search for and neutralize the perpetrators of this despicable act.

Mani Tese joins the pain of the people of Burkina Faso and the families of the victims in this moment of great suffering. Mani Tese remains committed with even more motivation with various development projects in the country to combat the widespread poverty that affects its population. Poverty is unfortunately a fertile ground for terrorists who manage to recruit young people with no future prospects for their brutal actions.

On Saturday 23 January the tropical cyclone Eloise struck Mozambique and in particular the province of Sofala, south of Zambezia where Mani Tese operates.

There was a great deal of damage caused by winds and rains that destroyed homes and devastated agricultural fields in a region already in great suffering.

Unfortunately, this is not the first cyclone to bring Mozambique to its knees: in March 2019, in fact, cyclone Idai hit the country causing serious damage and about 1,000 deaths.

Two years ago, Zambezia was one of the most affected provinces, while fortunately this time only a few houses were hit in the districts of Quelimane and Nicoadala, where Mani Tese is present with the “Rural Quelimane” project (photo at the bottom of the article).

However, the increase of these atmospheric phenomena is worrying which, if once repeated about ten years apart from each other, now occur with great frequency, as stated in Avvenire by don Claudio Dalla Zuanna, Italian bishop of Beira.

As it has done in the past, Mani Tese will continue to combat climate change in Mozambique and will be ready to intervene in the event of an emergency as happened in 2019 together with WFP.

To learn more about cyclone Eloise:

For more information on our projects in Mozambique:

Here are some photos of the damaged houses in the community where we operate.

by Giosuè De Salvo, Head of Advocacy, Education and Campaigns for Mani Tese

Multinational companies today find themselves operating all over the world in a context of substantial impunity. Many, too many of them are responsible for environmental devastation, systematic violations of workers’ rights, expulsions of indigenous peoples from their ancestral lands and repeated exploitation of child labor. Those who resist abuse are, when it goes well, fired on the spot, when it goes wrong, end up in prison, disappear into thin air or, worse, lose their lives.

After years of complaints from associations, NGOs and trade unions, the European Commission is finally ready to consider a new EU law that makes companies legally responsible for their impact on people and on the planet.

We refer to so-called “due diligence” rules in the field of human rights and the environment that should impose on all companies – from the giants of fossil fuels and agro-business, to fashion retailers and electronics manufacturers – to have effective policies and behaviors in ensuring that human rights and the environment are not harmed either by the operations they directly undertake at global level, or within the supply chains they use on five continents .

What is “Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence”?

It is generally understood as the process that companies must put in place to identify, prevent, reduce and account for the negative impacts of their activities or those involving subsidiaries, subcontractors, suppliers that are related to them.

Before making a proposal to the Council and Parliament, as is customary, the Commission wants to hear the voice of European citizens, yours, our voice. He then opened a public consultation in which Mani Tese participates and invites to participate.

By signing at the following link: we will all indicate together which are the essential elements of the new legislation.

For this to work, it must:

We need as many people as possible to convince the European Commission to change the rules of the game to end corporate impunity and enforce human rights and the environment.

The clock is ticking.

Help us build pressure, have your say until February 8, 2021!

Black Friday is the day of discounts, offers, sales… and compulsive consumption. A consumption that pollutes the planet, fills our homes with objects that are often useless and feeds the exploitation of underpaid workers without rights.

This is the case in particular of the fashion industry and Fast Fashion: clothing at bargain prices that, however, hide a very high environmental and social cost.

For this reason, activists from the Change FASHION community have launched the #GreenFriday social challenge, an online action to raise awareness of the impact of our purchases on the planet and on people.

Participate too! Share a selfie on social media with the hashtags #GreenFriday and #CambiaMODA! Write them on a sheet of paper, on your skin or use the dedicated sticker on Instagram, and accompany the selfie with a short message to raise awareness on the impact of Fast Fashion (you can take a cue from here). Post and tag your friends to do the same!

And if you haven’t done so yet, join the Change FASHION community:

“Change FASHION!” is a project realized thanks to the contribution of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation. If you want to know more click here:

by Riccardo Rossella, Advocacy, Education and Campaigns Area

A month ago, on the occasion of our joining the Fashion Revolution Week 2020, we described the situation of serious difficulty in which the workers employed along the global textile and clothing supply chains found themselves, a sector among the hardest hit by the current crisis due to the sharp slowdown in both production and the demand for clothes and accessories.

Today, one month later, the situation shows no signs of improvement. Millions of people around the world continue to lose jobs and income, or to avoid this they are forced to work in the absence of the necessary protection measures against the coronavirus infection.

The answer to this dramatic picture must come first from the companies upstream of the supply chains, which have the responsibility of protecting those people who have allowed a continuous increase in profits in the past years, starting from compliance with the contractual commitments in place with their own companies. providers.

For this reason Mani Tese supports the petition addressed by the Clean Clothes Campaign to fashion brands and distributors to take all the necessary measures to provide adequate health, economic and social safeguards to all workers employed along their supply chains.

However, governments too can and must do their part, starting with the Italian one. We therefore also join in the requests that the Clean Clothes Campaign itself has forwarded to the government to ask that access to the public funds of the Relaunch Decree be guaranteed only to those companies that are committed to respecting human rights and pay taxes in our country.

The crisis we are experiencing can be an opportunity to radically change the old and worn-out business models, right away: the restart must necessarily take place in the spirit of respect for the rights of all workers and protection of the environment. There must be a renewed commitment on the part of everyone to social, economic and environmental justice.

To sign the Clean Clothes Campaign petition:

To find out more about the requests sent to the Italian Government: -the-patch-will-be-bigger-than-the-hole/

To discover the Made in Justice program, aimed at promoting new business models that respect the environment and human rights:

by Riccardo Rossella, Advocacy, Education and Campaigns Area

April 24, 2013 marks an indelible date for the fashion industry. On the western outskirts of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, the Rana Plaza building undergoes structural failure, collapsing on itself. 1,133 people lose their lives in the collapse, over 2,500 are injured. Most of them were male and female workers in the textile industry: the eight-storey building housed several factories that made clothing products for big Western brands, including Benetton, Inditex (a group that owns brands such as Zara, Bershka and Pull and Bear) and Primark.

The tragedy takes on an even more bitter taste when you consider that it could have been easily avoided. Indeed, just the day before the collapse, alarming cracks were found inside the building during an inspection, which led the inspectors to ask for its immediate evacuation and closure. A warning ignored by the owners of the textile factories.

What happened turned the spotlight on the problem of conditions of extreme precariousness and insecurity of those who work in the factories in the South of the world that produce our clothes. A first tangible step forward was the “Agreement for Fire Prevention and Building Safety in Bangladesh”. Signed by the main trade unions and by over 200 clothing brands, it has allowed, at least so far, to raise the level of attention and reduce some of the most recurrent risks.

The global Fashion Revolution movement originated from the rubble of the Rana Plaza, which calls for a profound change in the fashion industry based on greater transparency along the production chains and the improvement of the conditions of the workers who are part of it. The movement has its maximum visibility on the occasion of the Fashion Revolution Week which, once a year, around April 24, brings together millions of activists, citizens and consumers around the world to ask the brands in the sector for greater transparency and greater responsibility, through the iconic hashtag #WhoMadeMyClothes?.

This year the appointment takes on even greater relevance since the clothing sector is facing a crisis whose consequences are increasingly dramatic. The global pandemic caused by Covid-19 is in fact paralyzing a global supply chain characterized by high complexity, fragmentation and interdependence. The suspension of activities in factories, first in China and then in the rest of the world, including Italy, combined with the subsequent closure of physical stores, is causing a real chain disaster. While consumer purchases collapse, brands find themselves dealing with warehouses bursting with unsold items and the impossibility of planning the next collections.

A crisis that is thus affecting the entire fashion industry, without exception, but whose most serious repercussions fall, once again, on the shoulders of the most vulnerable categories. This is the case, for example, of independent artisans and stylists, who have a lower ability to withstand the economic shock, or of employees of major brands in Europe and the United States, forced to layoff. In the global South, the suspension of orders from rich countries is compromising the existence of hundreds of thousands of “bosses”, already normally forced to operate with tight margins and prohibitive delivery times.

In some cases the big brands are also refusing to receive and pay for orders already placed weeks or months ago, now ready for delivery. All this, combined with the “lockdown” imposed in countries such as Bangladesh, India, Cambodia and Myanmar, is causing millions of male and female workers to be left at home without a salary and without access to forms of social protection. On the other hand, it is no better in those cases in which factories and workshops continue to remain open, given that the absence or insufficiency of the necessary protection measures exposes workers to a very high risk of contagion.

The Coronavirus emergency is making explicit all the distortions of a model of design, creation and consumption that is structurally unsustainable, in which the increasingly frenetic purchase of new clothing is offset by the exploitation of millions of people, especially women and children, and a huge environmental impact. The need to start a real Fashion Revolution, which goes beyond slogans and takes shape in the way of thinking and putting into practice fashion, appears more urgent than ever.

Mani Tese has been fighting for this cause for decades and, starting next revolutionary week, will do everything to make the crisis we are experiencing turn into an opportunity that everyone is talking about but which, unfortunately, too few still want to take on board.

To find out more about Mani Tese’s commitment to promoting new business models that respect the environment and human rights, visit the MADE IN JUSTICE page:

To discover the CHANGE FASHION! Project, aimed at raising awareness on the impacts of the fast fashion system, visit the project page:

For more information and materials on Fashion Revolution Week 2020: