Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Sustainable Economic Activity

Our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Taskforce lawyers advise you on all aspects of the current and dynamic business, environment, and human rights landscapes.

Our economy is global: whether it’s chips for computers and smartphones, components for the automotive industry and mechanical engineering, textiles or food, almost all products originate from global supply chains due to a high level of international integration. In the discourse on business sustainability, the notion that companies must ensure that they and their suppliers adhere to human rights and environmental standards is steadily gaining ground.

Subscribe to ESG-Newsletter

Click here

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) refers to the voluntary contribution of businesses to sustainable development and entails all market participants acting responsibly. Its core is socially, ecologically, and economically responsible corporate management that influences the entire value chain. Numerous companies use codes of conduct or CSR agreements to obligate their contractual partners to observe minimum standards of occupational health and safety and to object to child labor, forced labor, or discrimination in their companies or at their suppliers. Voluntary assumption of social responsibility is being legalized in the form of binding statutory provisions, such as through the Minimum Wage Act, which includes CSR approaches.

In 2011, the Human Rights Council of the United Nations adopted Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. They constitute a global instrument for redressing and preventing violations of human rights in business contexts. In 2015, the international community adopted the 2030 Agenda, which includes 17 sustainable development goals for a better future.

In 2016, the German federal government launched the National Action Plan (NAP) to transpose the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. As apparently only few companies complied with their human rights due diligence obligations in the supply chain, in 2021, after lengthy political negotiations, the German government agreed on the Act on Corporate Due Diligence in Supply Chains (Supply Chain Due Diligence Act), which entered into force on January 1, 2023.

There are already statutory provisions in France (Loi de Vigilance), the Netherlands (Wet Zorgplicht Kinderarbeid), and the United Kingdom (Modern Slavery Act) to prevent human rights violations and child labor in the supply chain.


„Supply & Comply" (in German Language)

In response to the narrow defeat of the “Corporate Responsibility Initiative” referendum in Switzerland in November 2020, the Swiss parliament’s legislative proposal mandating extensive reporting requirements for companies in the areas of the environment, employee protection, human rights, and anti-corruption entered into force.

As part of its European Green Deal, the European Union has launched a slew of legislative initiatives on supply chain due diligence aimed at safeguarding human rights and environmental standards, as well as accelerating Europe’s transformation into the world’s first climate-neutral continent.


Kaufland will sich freizeichnen: Schwarz-Tochter fordert „Sondervereinbarung“ zum Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz – Kräftiger Gegenwind von Herstellerseite
Lebensmittelzeitung, December 16, 2022
BAFA Fragebogen wirft Fragen auf
Lebensmittelzeitung Heft 42, October 21, 2022
Die angemessene Risikoanalyse gemäß § 5 LkSG
Compliance Berater, August 25, 2022
Vorschlag für ein „EU-Lieferkettengesetz“: Künftige Nachhaltigkeitspflichten für Unternehmen in Europa
Compliance Business, June 30, 2022
Kritische Bestandsaufnahme des Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetzes (LkSG): Ziemlich viele Pflichten
unternehmermagazin, May 31, 2022

Other published works

Sorgfalt muss sein - Neue Lieferkettengesetze in Deutschland und Europa: Auf was sich Unternehmen einstellen müssen
Verantwortung - Das Magazin für Nachhaltigkeit, CSR und innovatives Wachstum vom F.A.Z. Institut, November 2021  
Das Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz – Eine Herausforderung (auch) für die deutsche Automobilindustrie
RAW, September 2021,
together with Dr. Christoph Schork, LL.M., Birgit Schreier
Neues Lieferkettengesetz: Sorgfaltspflichten für Unternehmen
Deutsche Handwerks Zeitung, May 04, 2021
Das neue Lieferkettengesetz - Wie können sich Unternehmen vorbereiten?
Nachrichten für Außenhandel, March 11, 2021
Der Entwurf des Lieferkettengesetzes
Update Distribution & Trade, February 26, 2021,
together with Dr. Christoph Schork, LL.M., Birgit Schreier, Anna-Lena Glander
Neue gesetzliche Vorgaben für Supply-Chain-Compliance
ComplianceBusiness, Ausgabe 3, September 2020, S. 8-11


Nachhaltiges Lieferkettenmanagement: Vertragliche Ausgestaltung der Zulieferer- und Geschäftspartnerbeziehung
Vortrag IHK Köln, January 31, 2023
Das neue Lieferkettengesetz - Was kommt auf den Mittelstand zu?Das neue Lieferkettengesetz - Was kommt auf den Mittelstand zu?
IHK Münster / Osnabrück, November 21, 2022
EU-Richtlinie über die Nachhaltigkeitspflichten von Unternehmen
Nachhaltigkeitstalk GS1, March 8, 2022
Das neue Lieferkettengesetz - Bedeutung und Folgen für Unternehmen
F.A.Z. Institut, Juni 23, 2021

The lawyers in our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Taskforce advise businesses, public institutions, and organizations in all areas of the dynamic and contemporary business, environment, and human rights fields.

Our services include the following:

Ongoing advice and monitoring of the legal situation

We provide an overview of the existing national, European, and international legal requirements for sustainable business and keep you abreast of all current legislative activities that affect your business.

In addition, we advise you on how to take the right steps early on to implement the legal requirements in the areas of CSR, human rights, social standards, sustainability, and the environment in your company effectively and economically, and to avoid (potentially sanctionable) violations.

Implementation of due diligence

We evaluate your due diligence obligations and assist you in establishing, implementing, and updating the appropriate measures so that your business does not have to face negative consequences such as liquidated damages, fines, or exclusion from public contracts.

We also offer training, workshops, and qualification schemes on the aforementioned topics for your company’s employees and managers who are responsible for and concerned with these issues.

Risk management and risk analysis

We assist our clients with (updating) risk analysis and the establishment of an appropriate risk management system.

Together, we evaluate the steps your business has taken to date to meet legal and contractual sustainability requirements.

We examine the steps your company must take to comply with the new Supply Chain Act requirements and the requirements for sustainable corporate governance.

Complaint procedures and complaint management

We establish a legally compliant and appropriate internal complaints procedure and complaints management system (such as a hotline for whistleblowers) for your business and assist you in drafting the pertinent procedural rules.

Compliance, risk, and supply chain management system

We design and implement effective compliance and risk management systems to observe due diligence obligations in global supply chains, or we support the expansion of existing systems to include the “supply chain compliance” element.

We draft individualized sets of rules and codes of conduct (supplier codes of conduct, business codes, CSR agreements, statements of human rights principles).

In addition, we devise a concept for rule-compliant supply chain management for your organization, define your future supply chain policy, and implement early warning systems.

On request, we also assess and modify your distribution and supply contracts in accordance with compliance, CSR, and sustainability requirements.

Reporting and notification

We collaborate with you to develop and implement a suitable sustainability and CSR reporting and notification system to customers, authorities, and the general public that complies with legal requirements and supports the positive corporate communications of your business.

Corporate transactions

We examine CSR issues and human rights compliance in the context of corporate transactions (compliance and human rights due diligence), conduct a risk and impact assessment, and implement the recommendations and findings of our evaluations with you in your organization.

Crisis management and legal representation

We represent you in court and out-of-court legal disputes, as well as regulatory proceedings involving human rights violations, due diligence violations, and supply chain disputes. This includes strategic advice prior to such disputes, so that you are always in the best position possible.

We advise you on matters concerning the liability of your general managers and board members in the event of due diligence violations. We also defend and represent companies and their management personnel in criminal or administrative proceedings, as well as in the event of a civil claim.

If there are indications that, for instance, one of your business partners has violated relevant obligations (possibly at your company’s expense), and you wish to take legal action, we will advise you on the filing of criminal charges or reports with the appropriate regulatory authorities.

We also advise you on all CSR-related issues pertaining to your company’s reputation and assist you with crisis management.

Internal investigations

In the event of a suspected violation of CSR requirements, we assist you in conducting internal investigations and take the necessary measures on your behalf to resolve the issue, including any necessary follow-up communication with the relevant authorities.

You are currently using an outdated and no longer supported browser (Internet Explorer). To ensure the best user experience and save you from possible problems, we recommend that you use a more modern browser.