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Introduction

Access_open Towards Responsible Business Conduct in Global Value Chains

Relevant Legal Developments in the Netherlands

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2019
Keywords responsible business conduct, business and human rights, corporate social responsibility, sustainable development, the Netherlands
Authors Liesbeth Enneking and Jeroen Veldman
AbstractAuthor's information

    The past few decades have seen an increasing scrutiny of the impacts – both positive and negative – that companies have on the societies in which they operate. The search for adequate responses to such scrutiny is reflected in developments in the societal, political and academic debate on three separate but interrelated concepts: corporate social responsibility, business and human rights and responsible business conduct. The focus in this Special Issue will be on law and policy relating to responsible business conduct in global value chains. The contributions in this Special Issue identify relevant developments and institutions in the Netherlands, including rules and regulations related to trade, investment and corporate governance as well as cases related to corporate and consumer responsibilities, and assess their role in relation to the potential to provide a positive response to the concern about the human and environmental impacts of business activities. Together, they provide a multi-perspective view of relevant gaps and/or best practices with regard to regulatory governance in the Netherlands while at the same time enabling a comparative debate on the extent to which these diverse developments and institutions are in line with stated policy goals in this context both at national and EU levels. In doing so, this Special Issue aims to contribute to further coherence between national and EU policies with regard to RBC in global value chains and sustainable development.


Liesbeth Enneking
Liesbeth Enneking is Professor of Legal Aspects of International Corporate Social Responsibility at Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Jeroen Veldman
Jeroen Veldman is Visiting Associate Professor at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Visiting Associate Professor at Mines Paristech, Interdisciplinary Institute for Innovation, Paris and Section Editor Corporate Governance at the Journal of Business Ethics.
Article

Access_open The New Dutch Model Investment Agreement

On the Road to Sustainability or Keeping up Appearances?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2019
Keywords Dutch model BIT, foreign direct investment, bilateral investment treaties, investor-to-state dispute settlement, sustainable development goals
Authors Alessandra Arcuri and Bart-Jaap Verbeek
AbstractAuthor's information

    In 2019, the Dutch government presented a New Model Investment Agreement that seeks to contribute to the sustainability and inclusivity of future Dutch trade and investment policy. This article offers a critical analysis of the most relevant parts of the revised model text in order to appraise to what extent it could promote sustainability and inclusivity. It starts by providing an overview of the Dutch BIT (Bilateral Investment Treaty) programme, where the role of the Netherlands as a favourite conduit country for global FDI is highlighted. In the article, we identify the reasons why the Netherlands became a preferred jurisdiction for foreign investors and the negative implications for governments and their policy space to advance sustainable development. The 2019 model text is expressly set out to achieve a fairer system and to protect ‘sustainable investment in the interest of development’. While displaying a welcome engagement with key values of sustainable development, this article identifies a number of weaknesses of the 2019 model text. Some of the most criticised substantive and procedural provisions are being reproduced in the model text, including the reiteration of investors’ legitimate expectation as an enforceable right, the inclusion of an umbrella clause, and the unaltered broad coverage of investments. Most notably, the model text continues to marginalise the interests of investment-affected communities and stakeholders, while bestowing exclusive rights and privileges on foreign investors. The article concludes by hinting at possible reforms to better align existing and future Dutch investment treaties with the sustainable development goals.


Alessandra Arcuri
Alessandra Arcuri is Professor at Erasmus School of Law and Erasmus Initiative Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity, Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Bart-Jaap Verbeek
Bart-Jaap Verbeek is Researcher at Stichting Onderzoek Multinationale Ondernemingen (SOMO) and PhD Candidate Political Science at the Radboud University.
Article

Access_open Due Diligence and Supply Chain Responsibilities in Specific Instances

The Compatibility of the Dutch National Contact Point’s Decisions With the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises in the Light of Decisions Made by the UK, German, Danish and Norwegian National Contact Points

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2019
Keywords due diligence, supply chain, OECD, NCP, specific instance
Authors Sander van ’t Foort
AbstractAuthor's information

    Since the introduction of a human rights chapter in the 2011 OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, National Contact Points (NCPs) have been increasingly dealing with specific instances referring to human rights violations by companies. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the human rights provisions are the most cited provisions of the Guidelines. Specific instances include allegations such as a company’s failure to implement human rights due diligence, to apply the principles of free, prior and informed consent, to take supply chain responsibility, and/or to comply with the right to cultural heritage. Of all topics, human rights due diligence and human rights supply chain responsibilities are most commonly referred to in complaints based on the Guidelines. This article focuses on how NCPs have handled these topics of human rights due diligence and supply chain responsibility in specific instances. The Dutch NCP has been selected because it is celebrated in literature as the ‘gold standard’ because of its composition including independent members, its forward-looking approach, and because it is one of the most active NCPs in the world. All decisions of the Dutch NCP concerning these two topics are analysed in the light of the decisions of four other NCPs (UK, Denmark, Germany and Norway). A doctrinal methodology is used to analyse similarities and differences between the argumentations of the five NCPs.


Sander van ’t Foort
Sander van ’t Foort is Lecturer at Nyenrode Business University.
Article

Access_open Revisiting the Humanisation of International Law: Limits and Potential

Obligations Erga Omnes, Hierarchy of Rules and the Principle of Due Diligence as the Basis for Further Humanisation

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2013
Keywords humanisation, constitutionalism, legal positivism, human rights, erga omnes, due diligence, positive obligations, normative hierarchy, proportionality
Authors Dr. Vassilis P. Tzevelekos
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article critically evaluates the theory of the humanisation of international law. First, it argues that despite human rights having impact on (other areas of) international law, this trend has in the past been somewhat inflated. A number of examples are given where human rights have been tested against other objectives pursued by international law, with humanisation revealing its limits and actual dimensions. The second argument consists in identifying and highlighting obligations erga omnes (partes) and the principle of due diligence as two ‘systemic’ tools, that are central to the humanisation of international law. Both these tools form part of modern positive law, but may also make a positive contribution towards the direction of deeper humanisation in international law, having the potential, inter alia, to limit state will, establish occasional material normative hierarchy consisting in conditional priority in the fulfilment of human rights, give a communitarian tone to international law and invite states to be pro-active in the collective protection of their common interests and values. In its conclusions, the article offers a plausible explanation about the paradox it identifies of the limits of the humanisation on the one hand, and its potential for further development on the other. For, it is inherent in international law that the line separating the law from deontology is thin. The process of humanisation needs to be balanced with the other objectives of international law as well as reconciled with the decentralised and sovereignist origins of the pluralistic international legal system.


Dr. Vassilis P. Tzevelekos
Lecturer in Public International Law, University of Hull Law School; Attorney, Athens’ Bar. PhD and M.Res, European University Institute; MA, European Political and Administrative Studies, College of Europe; DEA Droit international public et organisations internationales, Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne; LLB, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
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