The MVO Platform, Natuur & Milieu, MVO Nederland, De Groene Zaak, VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland, appealed to Minister Kamp of Economic Affairs to remove obstacles for businesses that collaborate in initiatives that contribute to sustainability or conduct human rights due diligence.
The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) explicitly mentions procurement policies as a tool for governments to encourage the protection of human rights in international supply chains. The Netherlands has committed to implement the UNGPs; however, it still does not apply social criteria in public tenders.
Amnesty, ECCJ and CIDSE call on the Dutch government to include Business and Human Rights and the implementation of the UNGPs on the agenda of the EU presidency in 2016. In June 2016 the international community will celebrate the 5th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). This offers a unique opportunity for the Dutch presidency.
When dealing with the issue of human rights abuses related to businesses, we are often faced with the question where the responsibility of the state ends and that of a corporation begins. This dilemma has stimulated a critical debate that, after a long period of preparation, led in 2011 to agreements being made by the international community in the form of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). These guidelines present an outline of the state’s obligations, i.e. the ‘duty to protect’, and of corporate responsibilities, namely the ‘responsibility to respect’. The UNGPs further emphasise the need for victims of human rights abuses to have access to ‘effective remedy’. The challenge now lies in actually implementing the UNGPs.
At a conference in Berlin on November 25th, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen, publicly voiced her concern that the Dutch clothing brands Coolcat, Prénatal and Wibra are dodging their responsibility for labour conditions in the supply chain by not signing the ‘Accord on Fire and Building Safety Accord in Bangladesh’. The Minister’s 'naming and shaming' strategy proved to be extremely effective – within days of the Minister’s statement, two of the three brands named indicated that they would sign the Accord.