Adopting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) yourself

If you run a business, responsibility for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) lies with you. It’s something more and more companies and trade associations are getting involved in.

What CSR means for business

Adopting CSR means your company must

  • identify risks to people and the environment in your production chains;
  • take measures to prevent or mitigate these risks and explain how you are dealing with the effects;
  • use your influence to improve the situation.
Examples of CSR
Corporate action CSR example
Identify risks A company buys clothes in Asia. There is a risk that factory workers are underpaid (living wage) and have to work too many hours.
Take measures to control risks The company and the clothing factory draw up a plan of action to ensure that workers are paid a decent wage without needing to work too much overtime.
Use influence to improve situation The factory owner will be more likely to agree to changes if other buyers also demand that working conditions for factory workers improve. The company can work with these buyers to bring about better working conditions.

CSR Guidelines

There are no laws on corporate social responsibility. But there are guidelines, such as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and other tools. The OECD Guidelines recommend that companies make it their business to know about their impact on people and the environment. This refers to the impact of in-company operations as well as the activities of suppliers and subcontractors.

The government encourages companies to adopt CSR, by providing information, promoting transparency and setting an example.

International CSR

The government’s international CSR policy is aimed at Dutch companies operating internationally. It also promotes CSR in emerging markets and developing countries. The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation is responsible for international CSR policy. National CSR policy falls under the remit of the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.