Greening EU Trade: with Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice | Brunswick Group

Greening EU Trade: with Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice

How can the EU successfully export the European Green Deal? Part III of our webinar series on navigating the European Green Deal and how businesses can engage in the green transition.

2 June at 15:30 CEST / 14:30 BST

Brunswick Group and Europe Jacques Delors welcome you to join the third edition of our webinar series on how businesses can navigate the European Green Deal. We are delighted to announce that we will be joined on 2 June at 15:30 CEST / 14:30 BST by European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders and Paul Lister, Director of Legal Services and Company Secretary at Associated British Foods, a diversified international food, ingredients and retail group operating in 53 countries.

The EU’s Green Deal continues to accelerate the transformation of Europe’s growth model. It has already sped up the EU's ambitions to reduce emissions considerably and is setting a more binding framework for biodiversity conservation. As one important piece of the Green Deal puzzle, EU trade policy will have to closely track such changes. The EU is keenly aware that it will not be able to achieve the Green Deal objectives on its own. Consequently, the European Commission is preparing to take measures that ensure import compliance with the EU’s increasingly stringent domestic environmental regulations.

The panel will be invited to discuss how the EU should harness its market power when it comes to supply chain sustainability at the international level, whether through regulation, improved controls, encouragements and supervision of voluntary approaches, or new strategies such as due diligence obligations to ensure the sustainability of corporate supply chains.

An upcoming EU legislative proposal on Sustainable Corporate Governance could lead to the implementation of new business liability mechanisms, which would have a considerable impact on companies, their operations, and supply chain management and supervision. Unsurprisingly, industry associations went on record early to stress that any future EU legislative approach has to be “workable, proportionate and effective.”

For some environmental impacts, common definitions and standards will need to be found at the international level, requiring enhanced cooperation between private and public stakeholders as well as with civil society and NGOs. An intense exchange of ideas and information between the public and private sector will also be essential at the EU level to make sure the new regulatory framework is fit for purpose and reaches its targets.

As the discussion on supply chain due diligence is entering a new phase, we invite politicians, elected officials, decision-makers, business leaders, and civil society representatives to join us for a timely discussion on this important topic. The third edition in our webinar series will be again hosted and moderated by Geneviève Pons, Director General of Europe Jacques Delors in Brussels, and Pascal Lamy, Vice President of Europe Jacques Delors and Chair of Europe at Brunswick Group.

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Didier Reynders is European Commissioner for Justice in charge of rule of law and consumer protection, a position he has held since December 2019.

Prior to joining the European Commission, Reynders has been a guest lecturer at the Belgian universities of Liège and Louvain. Previously, he held several high-level political positions in Belgium’s federal government, including minister of defence (2018-2019), minister of foreign affairs (2011-2019), minister of finance (1999-2011) and deputy prime minister (2014-2019). From 2004 to 2011, he was chairman of Belgium’s Mouvement Réformateur party. In 1992 he was elected as a member of the Belgian Parliament. He started his career as a lawyer in 1981, before serving as Chairman of the National Railway Company of Belgium from 1986 to 1991. He holds a degree in law from the University of Liège.

Paul Lister is the Director of Legal Services and Company Secretary for Associated British Foods

Paul Lister is Director of Legal Services and Company Secretary at Associated British Foods (ABF), the FTSE 100 international food, ingredients and retail group which employs 133,000 people and has operations in 53 countries across the globe. Prior to joining ABF in January 2001, Paul was Associate General Counsel of Diageo plc. He holds a law Degree from University College London and is a qualified solicitor in England & Wales.

Paul leads ABF’s legal department around the world, with over 80 lawyers in the team and lawyers in 15 countries. As such, he is responsible for the legal affairs of ABF. ABF is the parent company of Primark, a global retailer widely recognised as the destination store for the latest fashions at the best value. As a growing international business with a global supply chain, Primark works hard to ensure that its products are made with respect for workers’ rights and the environment.

Paul was responsible for establishing and leads Primark’s Ethical Trade & Environmental Sustainability Team, a team of over 120 experts based in Primark’s key sourcing countries. Primark’s Ethical Trade & Environmental Sustainability Team carries out over 3,000 audits of its suppliers’ factories every year against the internationally-recognised standards as set out in the Primark Code of Conduct, monitoring that Primark products are made with respect for workers’ rights and the environment.

Primark has been a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative since 2006 and achieved ETI Leadership in 2011; ranking it in the top 5 per cent of member brands.