Government stimulus for corporate social responsibility (CSR)
The Dutch government wants to ensure that Dutch companies engage in socially responsible business practices abroad. This means companies should take account of human rights, working conditions and the environment in their operations.
Promoting international corporate social responsibility (ICSR)
- Dutch companies are expected to comply with the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. If they wish to participate in trade missions, for example, they must be able to show that they endorse the OECD Guidelines. By 2023, the government wants 90% of all big companies to state that they comply with the OECD Guidelines (the 90% goal) and to publish information that supports this, for instance in their annual reports or on their websites. Every two years between now and 2023, the government will check how many companies have accepted the OECD Guidelines and have made this news public. Companies can read more about the 90% goal on the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl) website. The website also has helpful information on how they can make their business operations more socially responsible.
- The government offers grants to companies that want to engage in ICSR and address abuses. One such scheme is RVO.nl’s Fund for Responsible Business.
- Companies only qualify for government assistance for doing business abroad, like investment support and participation in trade missions, if they can show that they comply with the OECD Guidelines. RVO.nl and the regional support offices, which can help find international trade partners, also set this requirement.
- The government is also negotiating agreements on international responsible business conduct (IRBC) with Dutch business sectors and civil society organisations. These IRBC agreements set out the risks to avoid in terms of human rights, working conditions and the environment. Several IRBC agreements have been concluded to date.
- The government provides information on the potential ICSR risks companies could encounter, including risks to human rights, working conditions or the environment, and what they can do to mitigate these risks. Companies can use the CSR Risk Check to see which ICSR risks they may be likely to encounter. They can also use the OECD’s Due Diligence Guidance for help in establishing their CSR policy.
- The government is working within the European Union, the World Trade Organization, the International Labour Organization, the United Nations, the G20 and the OECD to strengthen international agreements on ICSR.
- The government also makes other governments aware of their CSR responsibilities, for example through the Dutch embassies and consulates.
- At the government’s request, KPMG examined the ICSR risks that companies and their business partners may encounter abroad. The following 13 sectors are exposed to the greatest risks: construction, the chemical industry, retail trade, energy, finance, wholesale trade, timber and paper, agriculture and horticulture, metal, electronics, oil and gas, textiles and clothing, and the food and beverage industry. For more on this, see the KPMG CSR Sector Risk Assessment.