Dutch Social and Economic Council adopts opinion on HRDD

The main aspects of the SER advice

1. All companies with at least 1000 employees on the payroll are included, plus companies operating in 'risk sectors' with at least 250 employees should be covered by such a Directive. The latter group includes clothing and the metals needed to assemble mobile phones. In time, all companies with more than 250 employees will be covered by the regulations. Products from companies outside the EU will be subject to the same regime.

2. There are six steps that companies must take. These range from identifying the risks (due diligence), prioritising, trying to remedy the bottlenecks and offering compensation to potential victims. The steps are similar to those of the international guidelines introduced 10 years ago: the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights.

3. When it comes to sanctions, a supervisor will be able to impose administrative fines and periodic penalty payments. The supervisor will for the most part operate on a European level, probably partly supplemented by Dutch supervision.

4. Multi-stakeholder cooperation can lead to good examples that the European Commission can recognise and then prescribe. In other words, a kind of generally binding declaration.

5. The new regulations must not lead to a lower level of social entrepreneurship. So don't: comply with the law and at the same time reduce the social content of your business and/or ignore agreements with trade unions.

6. The government has important tasks in this regard, such as providing information, adequately equipping parties (such as the supervisory authority) and providing support where necessary, putting its own purchasing in order and adapting support instruments to the regime outlined above. Consider the addition of criteria when granting subsidies, export credit insurance, participating in trade missions and the like. Calling other governments to account for risks to people and the environment is also part of this.