Government promotion of Responsible Business Conduct (RBC)

The Dutch government wants to ensure that Dutch companies behave in a responsible manner when they do business abroad. This means companies should take account of e.g. human rights, working conditions and the environment.

Promoting Responsible Business Conduct (RBC)

Dutch authorities have taken a number of measures to promote RBC.

  • 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 (in Dutch) on Ondernemersplein.nl. 
  • The government offers grants to companies that want to engage in RBC and address negative impact. One such scheme is the Fund for Responsible Business
  • Companies only qualify for government assistance for doing business abroad, like investment support, participation in trade missions and the use of the RVO tool for finding business partners, if they can show that they comply with the OECD Guidelines.
  • The government is also negotiating agreements on Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) with Dutch business sectors and civil society organisations. These RBC agreements set out the risks to avoid in terms of human rights, working conditions and the environment. Several RBC agreements have been concluded to date.
  • The government provides information on the potential RBC 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 RBC Risk Check to see which RBC risks they may be likely to encounter. They can also use the OECD’s Due Diligence Guidance for help in establishing their RBC 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 RBC.  
  • The government also makes other governments aware of their RBC responsibilities, for example through the Dutch embassies and consulates. 
  • At the government’s request, KPMG examined the RBC 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 RBC Sector Risk Assessment.