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CNV updates Dutch parliament on the importance of IRBC covenants

“Commitment is always vital when tackling supply chain risks.”

No longer can we look the other way while our colleagues on the other side of the ocean earn below poverty level wages. Such practices occur because companies want to produce their goods as cheaply as possible to meet the demands of consumers who want to buy products for the lowest possible prices. Keeping the standards set in International Responsible Business Conduct Agreements is absolutely essential in the creation of covenants.

On February 22nd, CNV Vice-President, Arend van Wijngaarden, along with two other parties from the Social and Economic Council (SER), presented members of the Lower House of Dutch Parliament with information regarding International Responsible Business Conduct Agreements (IRBC).

Van Wijngaarden was positive, saying that progress has been made, but added, “all parties involved must remain committed if we are serious about tackling supply chain risks.”

"The value of these agreements lies in establishing cooperation among manufacturers, employees, and local groups, as well as in sharing industry expertise."

“Many of the products we buy here are produced in partner countries where there is little protection for employees regarding their wages, labour circumstances, or safety. Children as young as 8-years-old get sent into cobalt mines; forest workers have no helmets or safety boots. It isn’t unusual for these people to work 7 days a week, 16 hours a day.

CNV doesn’t want to participate in these practices. Making agreements with companies, manufacturers, and governmental agencies, which clearly state that we don’t agree with these practices, is the only way to make a difference. Our government needs to continue to support these industry agreements—we still have a long road to travel."

For an overview of all Dutch IRBC agreements on International Responsible Business Conduct, check the special website

Publication date 01 03 2018