Minister Adriaansens’s criticism of the initiative law on corporate responsibility has indeed been expressed at an unfortunate moment. The VVD minister does have a point in terms of content, thinks CDA MP Mustafa Amhaouch. ‘You can’t make companies responsible for things they have no influence on.’
Adriaansens (Economic Affairs) acknowledged last night in the House of Representatives that she in turn spoke with her criticism of the initiative law on International Corporate Social Responsibility (IMVO). She apologized and emphasized that the cabinet has not yet taken a position on the proposal. Both PvdA, GroenLinks and SP and government parties ChristenUnie and D66 have signed the initiative law.
‘Ministers and the cabinet are not about bills. That is what the Chamber is about,’ says Amhaouch. “But I think this is the sincere position of the minister.” He emphasizes that national legislation can only be drawn up via European directives. ‘It has to be there first, then you make the translation to national.’
The European Council and the European Commission are already working on rules for corporate social responsibility, the European Parliament will start working on this in the coming months. But the proposed Dutch directive already goes further than the European plans. The initiative law prescribes, among other things, that a company is responsible for the entire chain. ‘A justified concern,’ says Amhaouch. ‘You can’t make companies responsible for things they have no influence on.’
In addition, trade and the economy are European affairs in the eyes of the CDA MP. ‘Trade agreements are also concluded in a European context. I don’t understand why a party like D66 is going on a solo course here.’
The effect of the bill is already that companies are considering leaving the Netherlands. ‘Understandable unease’, thinks Amhaouch. ‘Companies make long-term investments. But it is clear that entrepreneurs really need to embrace corporate social responsibility.’ He therefore prefers that the European guidelines are followed. ‘And look at specific regions, special funds can be set up for that in order to improve the business climate in order to retain the gems in the business community.’