Corporate Duties of Care and CSR

logo Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek- en Documentatiecentrum (WODC)

UCALL-researchers Liesbeth Enneking (project leader), Ivo Giesen, Marjan Groenouwe, Evelien de Kezel, Louise Vytopil and Tjalling Waterbolk are working on a research project into corporate duties of care in the field of international corporate social responsibility and accountability.

This project has been commissioned by the Scientific Research and Documentation Centre, acting on behalf of the Dutch Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs. It is meant to provide answers to a question that was raised in the Dutch National Action Plan on Business & Human Rights (p.29): are the responsibilities of Dutch companies with respect to corporate social responsibility (CSR) adequately reflected in Dutch law, or do they need to be made more explicit?

The study’s focal point will be the (civil law) duty of care of Netherlands-based internationally operating business enterprises towards third parties in the countries in which they operate (often through local (sub)subsidiaries and/or (sub)contractors). Relevant Dutch legislation and case law will be described and the current legal status quo will be analyzed for its compatibility with the UN Guiding Principles’ responsibility to respect. In doing so, regard will also be had to the (legal) status quo in a number of other European countries (the UK, France, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland) and to the (potential) consequences of regulatory intervention in this context on the business climate in the countries involved.