Dutch minister announces national corporate due diligence legislation
December 6th, 2021
by MVO Platform
The European Coalition for Corporate Justice’s member in the Netherlands, the MVO Platform, welcomes the announcement by Foreign Trade and Development minister De Bruijn (D66) that the government will develop and introduce a national law on human rights and environmental due diligence.

Minister De Bruijn’s decision follows last week’s news that the European Commission has delayed the announcement of a draft due diligence law. De Bruijn said last Thursday that his preference would be to legislate at the European level and that he is “very disappointed” that the European Commission is taking even longer than promised to put forward its proposal.

The decision to introduce Dutch legislation is in line with the government’s previous position to start the drafting process in the event of no or slow progress at the European level. Minister De Bruijn is eager to use the Dutch law to put pressure on the European Commission and to avoid losing time.

Important breakthrough

The MVO Platform, the network of civil society organizations and trade unions in the field of corporate social responsibility, welcomes this breakthrough announcement as an important step in preventing abuses in supply chains, such as deforestation, land grabbing and child labour.

Manon Wolfkamp (MVO Platform) said: “This is a very important step to ensure that responsible and sustainable business practices in global chains become the norm. Minister de Bruijn is showing leadership and sticking to his word. This law will contribute to better conditions for millions of people worldwide, including children and women.”

Coalition agreement

The government coalition parties must now include this agreement on the introduction of the legislation into the coalition agreement by 2023.

The proposal could be ready soon, as the ministry has already prepared “building blocks” for legislation. Earlier this year, a detailed and substantiated bill for Responsible and Sustainable Business was submitted to the House of Representatives.

Legislation is necessary

Since its foundation in 2001, the MVO Platform has been campaigning for an obligation for companies to tackle abuses in their value chains.

Research and policy evaluations have shown that voluntary policy measures alone are insufficient to make companies act responsibly. For this reason, the MVO Platform advocates for the introduction of a legal obligation to conduct responsible business for all companies in the Netherlands on the basis of OECD guidelines.

In the EU, laws on corporate human rights and environmental due diligence already exist in Germany and France.

Read the full article in Dutch on the MVO Platform website.

For questions, please contact Manon Wolfkamp: m.wolfkamp@mvoplatform.nl