International Responsible Business Conduct
Governments, representatives of employers’ associations and unions, consumers, and civil society organisations expect enterprises to transact business in a way that respects human rights and the environment. This concern for international Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) is urgently needed: enterprises can be connected to issues such as child labour or environmental damage, through their own business activities and supply chains. By acting together, companies, governments, trade unions and civil society organisations can promote the creation of sustainable supply chains, for example through international RBC agreements.
Guidelines for enterprises to reduce negative consequences of their actions have been laid down internationally in the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). According to these guidelines, enterprises are expected to identify, prevent, and address the actual and potential adverse impact of their activities and to account for how they deal with the risks they have identified, i.e. to carry out due diligence. In this way, enterprises that operate internationally also contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Agreements promoting international Responsible Business Conduct (IRBC) involve partnerships between businesses, trade associations, government, unions and NGOs. Together, these partners work to identify and prevent abuses like exploitation, animal suffering and environmental damage. Since 2016, the Dutch IRBC Agreements have gained experience with implementing the due diligence expectations of the OECD Guidelines.
Meaningful dialogue in international supply chains
Companies that practice corporate social responsibility take into account the interests and well-being of all their stakeholders. Also the people who directly or indirectly experience the consequences of business activities. The SER project 'Meaningful dialogue' helps companies to enter into dialogue with these stakeholders.
Access to remedy
The UN Guiding Principles and the OECD Guidelines prescribe that states take appropriate actions to ensure those harmed by corporate actions or omissions, have access to effective remedy. See the Access to remedy page for more information.