Recently, there has been much ado about the Dutch Bill on Responsible and Sustainable International Business Conduct in the Netherlands. Because of the effects of the obligations in this bill, Royal Boskalis threatened to leave the country. The Dutch Bill is comparable to the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence in the EU. The Bill and the EU Proposal contain a due diligence obligation for companies. Boskalis is one of the largest dredging companies worldwide, with more than 10,000 employees and a revenue of almost 3 billion euros in 2021. According to Boskalis, the Dutch Bill contains a duty of care which is vaguely defined, posing great risks of liability which endangers the continuity necessary for business operations. MVO Nederland, a networking organisation for responsible and sustainable companies, is involved in the making of the Bill. This organisation claims that the Bill specifies and clarifies what is expected of international business conduct. MVO wants the Dutch Bill to be an example for the rest of the EU, which has caused a lot of discussion in the Netherlands.
Since mandatory due diligence is a sensitive subject which evokes many different reactions, we will write a series of blog posts about it. Before we dive deeper into the Dutch Bill and the European Proposal for a Directive, the first blog of the series is focused on what due diligence is and why institutes are planning on making it mandatory.