The goal of the Dutch MVO Platform is to stimulate, facilitate and coordinate activities of the different organisations in order to reinforce each other’s efforts. The emphasis of the MVO Platform lies on issues dealing with CSR in developing countries.
Origins of MVO Platform
Corporate social responsibility has been the focus of a great deal of attention since the 1990s. Partly as a reaction to the economic and social globalisation, which accelerated rapidly after the fall of the Berlin wall and with the growth of the internet. The Brent Spar/Shell, Shell/Nigeria and Heineken/Burma scandals were the result of the growing interest in the supposed irresponsibility of corporations.
It was the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which worked to put sustainability on the agendas of both the government and companies through lobbying, dialogue and campaigns.
Employees of a number of NGOs and trade unions who were working on international corporate social responsibility from their own specific themes (environment, human rights, development, employees) quickly discovered that it was important to work together and to share information. For a number of reasons:
- to develop knowledge,
- to ensure that they did not play off against one another,
- to jointly prevail upon the Dutch government to play its role in the area of CSR and
- to increase the impact of lobbying and activities by having strength in numbers.
During the year 2000, 12 NGOs jointly sent letters to the Minister of Economic Affairs at that time, Mr Ypema, and to the Lower House, calling on them among other things to develop a standard code of conduct and an information and policy centre for CSR. A number of organizations also jointly got involved in the debate surrounding the SER advice in the area of CSR ('the profit of values’), as this advice largely ignored in the international dimension of CSR.
At the start of 2001, a number of NGOs published the manifesto 'Profit from Principles', which in the course of time was adopted by an increasing number of social organizations and used in joint lobbying to the government.
This cooperation was further consolidated in 2002, and the MVO Platform was a fact. The cooperation has grown since then to a coalition with 33 participating organisations.