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Dutch companies issue open letter in support of child labour regulation

On 7 February 2017, the lower house of the Dutch Parliament adopted a law introducing a duty of care to prevent child labour. This law, called the “Child Labour Due Diligence Law” (“Wet Zorgplicht Kinderarbeid”), is still awaiting approval by the Senate. As currently drafted, the proposed Bill requires companies selling goods and services to Dutch end-users to determine whether child labour occurs in their supply chains. If so, companies must set out a plan of action on how to combat it and issue a due diligence statement on their investigation and plan of action. If approved, the legislation would not come into effect before 1 January 2020. A first debate was held in the Senate on 19 December 2017, where the main concerns raised were related to the execution and supervision of the law. A second debate was postponed until the new year, although it is currently unclear when the next debate will be scheduled.

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Article
1 November 2017

Coalition of businesses issues joint letter in support of Dutch law introducing a duty of care on child labour

Author: Tony’s Chocolonely, Arte Natuursteenbewerking, ASN Bank, Barry Callebaut, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate, Fairphone, Heineken, Holland Biodiversity, Marcel Wanders Studio, Max Havelaar, Moooi, Moyee Coffee, Nestlé Nederland, Nova Media, Questionmark, Rabobank Nederland, Raptim Humanitarian Travel, Social Entreprise NL, Squarewise Transitions, The Dutch Weedburger, Verstegen Spices & Sauces, Woningwaard

[Note: This is an unofficial translation of the Dutch letter published on 3 October 2017 which is available here. Background information on the Dutch bill available here.]

With this letter, we as a private sector jointly express our support for a legal framework for a duty of care on child labour. No matter how common child labour is, it is a system error. The problem is not being dealt with seriously enough and the current handling is not sufficient. Based on voluntary initiatives and self-regulation, more is needed to tackle the problem...  Legislation demands transparency and accelerates targeted activities of companies to seriously prevent child labour in their production chain. A legal framework provides clarity about the norms and rules to be followed and enables the tackling of child labour. Child labour robs children of their future. It's time we seriously address the issue. The Dutch government has the authority to impose a duty of care on all companies through legislation to prevent the supply of products created by child labour. All products and services on the Dutch market must comply with the 100% child labour free standard.

Download the full document here

Article
22 May 2017

Bill adopted by Dutch Parliament introducing a duty of care to prevent child labour

Author: Barbara Bier, Daan Doorenbos & Christien Saris, Stibbe, on Lexology

On 7 February 2017, the Dutch Parliament adopted a bill introducing a duty of care to prevent child labour (Wet zorgplicht kinderarbeid – the "Bill"). The Bill requires companies selling goods and services to Dutch end-users to determine whether child labour occurs in their supply chains. If so, companies must set out a plan of action on how to combat it and issue a due diligence statement (verklaring gepaste zorgvuldigheid) on their investigation and plan of action. In cases of non-compliance, companies risk a fine up to a maximum of EUR 820,000 or, alternatively, 10% of their annual turnover. The Bill is now before the Senate and – if approved – it will not come into effect before 1 January 2020...A supervising authority will be appointed to monitor compliance with the Bill. The statement will be recorded in a public register...Being fined twice within five years will constitute an economic offence, which may lead to criminal proceedings...Although the Bill has yet to be finalized and approved, it is important for companies to align their policies with this new legislation over the next few years.

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