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Companies which conduct business responsibly take into account the interests and well-being of all stakeholders. The SER project 'meaningful dialogue', made possible in part by the Goldschmeding Foundation, helps companies to engage in dialogue with stakeholders.
Business, trade unions and NGOs have started negotiations on a new agreement to further human rights, international labour rights, the environment and animal welfare in the garments and textile sector. Parties jointly seek to drive leadership on responsible business conduct due diligence, aligned with the OECD Guidelines and the UNGPs on business and human rights.
The Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER) has advised the Dutch government on how to shape EU legislation on international Responsible Business Conduct (RBC). A European approach should focus on improving the conditions for people and the environment across supply chains. To have maximum impact on international supply chains outside the EU, the legislation should incentivise European cooperation at sector level.
Reshoring – the practice of returning a business activity to the country in which it was originally located – is a strategic consideration that is largely up to companies themselves. When faced with shortages in an emergency, however, government can promote reshoring to help ensure the supply of critical goods (such as face masks). In such cases, it makes sense to cooperate as closely as possible within the European Union. These are the conclusions of the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER) in its advisory letter on reshoring.
The Covid-19 crisis affects many working people. But some groups are at greater risk of long-term unemployment and financial problems, for example young people just starting working life or who have just started, people with a migration background, or those with an occupational disability. Many of these were already disadvantaged on the labour market before the crisis broke out.
Comprehensive legislation in the field of international responsible business conduct (RBC) and cooperation within sectors reinforce one another. Legislation to impose obligations combined with cooperation leads to the greatest impact within the supply chain to prevent and address risks to people and the environment. In both respects, this will require scaling up to ultimately the European level; ambitious efforts on the part of the Netherlands will help to achieve this.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs commissioned an evaluation of the agreements which promote international responsible business conduct. The SER will consider this evaluation in its advisory report for Minister Kaag of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation about the Dutch government’s future policy on international responsible business conduct.