Themes

Business Human Rights & CSR

The world of Business Human Rights is in constant flux. The EU for instance introduced an obligation on 1 January 2017 for large businesses to report on their human rights policies and adopted the EU Conflict Minerals Regulation, which takes effect on 1 January 2021. This has convinced a growing number of boards of directors to place Business Human Rights and CSR on the agenda, not only to make sure their own operations are compliant but also to identify the risks in the production chain and make them controllable.

Some industries have more experience than others. The Dutch garment industry already concluded a covenant in 2016, in order to prevent human rights violations as well as to keep ahead of the scandals and reputational damage they entail. Banks, investors and pension funds are also making strides in the areas of CSR and Human Rights.

Risk management and legal expertise regarding human rights

Complicated ethical issues, the call for corporate social responsibility, and sustainable trademarks require proper risk management. Knowledge of the law and the various CSR and human rights rules and guidelines is indispensable in this process. Thanks to our long track record of promoting public interests as a State Advocate, we can boast of a wealth of experience in the areas of CSR and human rights gained in cases including Urgenda (reduction of CO2 emissions), Srebrenica and Hirsi Ali. We have translated this knowledge and expertise into valuable legal advice for the private market.

Our expertise

Our expertise is unrivalled in this sector due to our broad, international business human rights network. We work together with the American Bar Association, the International Bar Association and Erasmus University Rotterdam, to name a few. We understand that while a code of conduct is an admirable ambition, day-to-day reality along with sometimes complex operational processes and different weighting factors call for smart strategies and pragmatism. Sophisticated contract management and M&A due diligence are just two such instruments.

Achieving your company’s objectives within the CSR framework

Our legal know-how will bring your company’s objectives within reach, cultivate the right conditions for corporate social responsibility and help you identify and control the risks of human rights violations. Contracts and legal advice are turned into clever tools to promote your business while striking a healthy balance between people, planet and profit.

The playing field of national and international organisations is becoming more interesting and complex because of continually expanding supply chains, regulators with a watchful eye, as well as new laws and regulations. How to capitalise on opportunities without stumbling over the risks? We would be happy to discuss this with you.

Recommendations

  • The "superb"  Martijn Scheltema of Hague-based Pels Rijcken & Droogleever Fortuijn N.V. benefits from a strong reputation in both the Dutch and the international market. He assists NGOs, government entities and companies with regulatory issues. He is well respected for his activity relating to corporate social responsibility and in matters of international arbitration and mediation. One market commentator stated: "He is a renowned expert and very involved with the UN Guiding Principles.",  Chambers Global 2018