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On 14 October 2021, The Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER) published its advice “Effective European due diligence legislation for sustainable chains” which focuses on the Dutch government's efforts towards the European Commission’s expected legislative proposal for due diligence legislation.

In terms of scope, the SER advises that the legislation closely follow the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the United Nations Principles for Human Rights and Business. The law should apply to a broad group of companies, based on two regimes that differentiate according to size and risk of negative impact.

The SER proposes that sector agreements be concluded at European level to implement the steps of the due diligence process and to develop best available techniques. According to the SER, the European Commission should be given the power to recognize sectoral agreements and other equivalent international agreements and support their conclusion. Once recognised, companies that commit to the agreements will fall under a lighter supervisory regime.

Freedom of association and the conduct of collective bargaining are preconditions for enabling structural improvement in working conditions. The sectoral agreements therefore promote these rights in all sectors.

In order to introduce legislation that will make a difference in international chains, adequate supervision and enforcement, sufficient manpower and additional resources are required from both governments and companies. Supervision should be organized at European level as much as possible so that it leads to the same results in all Member States.

To access the full document ‘Effective European due diligence legislation for sustainable chains’, please see here (in Dutch).

For more information (in Dutch) please see here.