Sneakers, fuel, coffee, smartphones. Many of (the commodities for) our daily products are being produced abroad. Sometimes this takes place under conditions, which in the Netherlands we would consider unacceptable. This raises ethical, political and legal questions. What is the scope of the social responsibility of the Western society-based internationally operating business enterprises that have these products manufactured in less developed countries, often at low cost, and put them on the
market here? Are they under an obligation to prevent their own activities, or those of their local subsidiaries or suppliers, to cause damage to people and the planet in the host States involved? And if such damage does arise, under what circumstances can these internationally operating business enterprises be held liable for this before courts in their Western society home States?
This report explores in what way and to what extent a duty of care of Dutch business enterprises with regard to international corporate social responsibility has been laid down or applied in Dutch legislation and/or case law, and to what extent the present state of affairs relates to both the UN Guiding Principles and the state of affairs in our neighbouring countries. This study was carried out by researchers of the Utrecht Centre for Accountability and Liability Law (UCALL), commissioned by the Research and Documentation Centre (WODC), at the request of the Directorate for Legislation and Legal Affairs of the Ministry of Security & Justice and the Directorate Legal Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Pursuant to the commission, the study describes the legal status quo and does not contain any recommendations.