Respecting Rights or Ticking Boxes? The Role of Auditing and Certification in legislating HRDD

This webinar is a side session of the 2023 OECD Forum on Due Diligence in the Garment and Footwear Sector.

The webinar took place on Monday 13th February 2023. The recording is available on YouTube.

Momentum to enact mandatory human rights due diligence (HRDD) legislation is building around the world. A key point of consideration from the perspective of garment industry is the role of auditing and certification in the implementation of future rules, and these actors’ own accountability.

As they design the crucial legal framework on due diligence, EU legislators must determine how to turn the normative multilateral standards defined in the UN Guiding Principles and OECD Guidelines into binding, hard-law obligations. Lawmakers must strike a good balance between establishing a solid normative baseline while also allowing for practical flexibility to ensure that due diligence laws bring the positive change that people and the planet need.

As a practical example of the challenges and choices that legislators are facing, this OECD Forum side session looks specifically into expectations and risks of social auditing and certification schemes in human rights due diligence systems. We will unpack the roles and responsibilities of companies, social auditors and other stakeholders. Speakers from Human Rights Watch and SOMO will present results of recent research.

Invited commentators from the European Parliament and civil society and webinar participants will discuss civil society recommendations on the role of social auditing and certification in HRDD legislation.


  • Joseph Wilde-Ramsing, Senior Researcher, SOMO
  • Aruna Kashyap, Associate Director on Corporate Accountability, Human Rights Watch
  • Lara Wolters, MEP, Vice-Chair Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI)
  • Elspeth Hathaway, Senior Policy Advisor, industriAll Europe

The panel will be followed by an open discussion.

Further reading: