By a vote of 39 to 75, the Dutch Senate endorsed a new Child Labor Due Diligence Law that will require all companies to investigate if child labor is present in their supply chains and make an action plan to combat it.
The law aims to prevent Dutch consumers from unwittingly purchasing goods produced using child labor, which in dangerous industries such as mining can be tantamount to forced child labor.
The law would apply to all companies registered in the country as well as international companies that send products to the Netherlands at least twice a year.
Food Navigator reports:
These companies must assess whether there is a reasonable presumption that the goods and services in their supply chain have been produced with child labour. In the case that child labour is reasonably presumed to have contributed to a product or service, the business must produce an action plan to stamp it out.
The action plan should be in line with international guidelines, such as the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) or the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) guidelines for multinational enterprises.
Firms that do not submit a due diligence statement will receive a symbolic fine of €4,100.
If the company does not conduct due diligence to the regulator’s standards, it will be fined. The maximum punishment for a company that does not comply with the new law is set at imprisonment of the company’s director, and a fine of €750,000 or 10% of the company’s annual turnover.
MVO Platform, which supports corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, says it believes the law will “contribute to a decrease of child labour in supply chains” of consumer products.
“We are glad that it has passed, now we have something concrete to work with,” said MVO Platform coordinator Gisela ten Kate.
However, MVO Platform is disappointed the law does not go further.
“It is only child labour, and not human rights and environmental risks in supply chains. So that’s a pity,” added ten Kate.