Alliance and VBDO Lobby for More Responsible Business
Only 30 per cent of 60 large Dutch companies aware of the OECD and UNGP guidelines.
Key of the Dutch CSR policy is compliance of Dutch companies with the OECD guidelines and UNGPs on responsible business. The former minister Ploumen included in her policy “Maatschappelijk verantwoord ondernemen loont” (June 2013) government’s ambition that 90 percent of the large Dutch companies are committed to the OECD-guidelines and subscribe to the guidelines in their annual reports as reference point for their international activities.
Research 60 stock companies
On behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, VBDO was asked to research 60 stock listed Dutch companies on their commitment to these international guidelines. This research concluded that only 30 percent of the companies concerned committed to the guidelines and that 20 percent were not even aware of the existence of these guidelines. Even though it is against government policy, many companies out of the 70 percent that did not commit to the guidelines joined on trade missions organised by the Dutch government. This includes companies working in one of the 13 identified risk-sectors and amongst the visited countries were countries with high risks on human rights violations. Furthermore, based on research done by MVO Platform, even companies that have a zero-score in the Transparency Benchmark join missions, which is also against governmental policy.
Lobby towards Members of Parliament
The Civic Engagement Alliance, together with MVO Platform, lobbied towards Members of Dutch Parliament asking MPs to raise questions to the minister on these above mentioned issues. In the debate with the Minister of Foreign Trade and Aid several MPs raised these questions. The minister agreed on the comments and stated that the ambition of 90% of the companies committing to the guidelines is still reachable. She answered the MPs that she would contact all companies and would inform the parliament about it. She agreed that speeding up on this was needed. She also agreed to sharpen the instruction for the civil service on how to go along with companies who are having a zero-score in the Transparency Benchmark. Two months later, the minister informed the Parliament that most of the companies which were not committed yet to the guidelines stated that they would do so and would include it in their annual reports. She also mentioned that government together with the Dutch OECD National Contact Point (NCP) are committed to promote the adherence to the guidelines by companies.