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Erasmus Law Review

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Issue 4, 2019 Expand all abstracts
Article

Access_open The New Dutch Model Investment Agreement: On the Road to Sustainability or Keeping up Appearances?

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 of Inclusive Global Law and Governance, Erasmus School of Law (ESL), Erasmus Initiative Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity, Erasmus University Rotterdam, arcuri@law.eur.nl.

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 Waste Away. Examining Systemic Drivers of Global Waste Trafficking Based on a Comparative Analysis of Two Dutch Cases

Keywords environmental crime, waste industry, shipbreaking, waste trafficking, environmental enforcement
Authors Karin van Wingerde and Lieselot Bisschop
AbstractAuthor's information

    The increasing volume of waste generated globally is one of the most prominent environmental issues we face today. Companies responsible for the treatment or disposal of waste are therefore among the key actors in fostering a sustainable future. Yet the waste industry has often been characterised as a criminogenic one, causing environmental harm which disproportionately impacts the world’s most vulnerable regions and populations. In this article, we illustrate how companies operating in global supply chains exploit legal and enforcement asymmetries and market complexities to trade waste with countries where facilities for environmentally sound treatment and disposal of waste are lacking. We draw on two contemporary cases of corporate misconduct in the Global South by companies with operating headquarters in the Global North: Seatrade and Probo Koala. We compare these cases building on theories about corporate and environmental crime and its enforcement. This explorative comparative analysis aims to identify the key drivers and dynamics of illegal waste dumping, while also exploring innovative ways to make the waste sector more environmentally responsible and prevent the future externalisation of environmental harm.


Karin van Wingerde
Karin van Wingerde is Associate Professor, Department of Criminology, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Lieselot Bisschop
Lieselot Bisschop is Associate Professor, Department of Criminology and Erasmus Initiative on Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open The Dutch International Responsible Business Conduct Agreements: Effective Initiatives?

Keywords IRBC Agreements, effectiveness, OECD due diligence, access to remedy
Authors Martijn Scheltema
AbstractAuthor's information

    This contribution analyses the effectiveness of the Dutch International Responsible Business Conduct (IRBC) agreements and suggests some avenues for improvement. Several challenges in connection with effectiveness have been identified in evaluations of the IRBC agreements, and these are used as a starting point for the analysis. The focus is on three themes: (i) uptake, leverage and collaboration; (ii) implementation of OECD due diligence including monitoring and (iii) access to remedy. This contribution shows that low uptake may not be a sign of ineffectiveness per se, although in terms of leverage a sufficient number of participants or collaboration between agreements seems important. In connection with due diligence, it is recommended to align the implementation of OECD due diligence. Furthermore, an effective monitoring mechanism by a secretariat, as is currently implemented in the Textile agreement only, is most likely to bring about material changes in business behaviour. Other types of supervision seem less effective. Access to remedy poses a challenge in all IRBC agreements. It is recommended that the expectations the agreements have on access to remedy be clarified, also in connection with the role of signatories to the agreements in cases where they are directly linked to human rights abuse. Furthermore, it is recommended that a dispute resolution mechanism be introduced that enables complaints for external stakeholders against business signatories, comparable to that of the Textile agreement. However, rather than implementing separate mechanisms in all agreements, an overarching mechanism for all agreements should be introduced.


Martijn Scheltema
Martijn Scheltema is Professor at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
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

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
Dr. Sander van ’t Foort is Lecturer at the Nyenrode Business Universiteit in the Netherlands.
Article

Access_open The Potential of the Dutch Corporate Governance Model for Sustainable Governance and Long Term Stakeholder Value

Keywords corporate governance, company law, stakeholders, Dutch Corporate Governance Code, long-termism
Authors Manuel Lokin and Jeroen Veldman
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article addresses the question of how the Dutch regulatory and institutional setting enables policy coherence, specifically with regard to safeguarding stakeholders’ interests and promoting sustainable governance. To address this question, we engage with idiosyncratic theoretical notions in the Dutch corporate governance model. We follow the evolution of these notions in statutory company law and case law, their development in the Dutch Corporate Governance Code and their relation to the Enterprise Chamber as a unique institution. We establish how these theoretical views and practical institutions present significant means by which stakeholder concerns may be represented in the operation of company law and corporate governance more broadly and provide a number of ways in which these institutions and their operation can be further developed.


Manuel Lokin
Manuel Lokin is Professor of Company Law at the University of Utrecht and lawyer at Stibbe, Amsterdam.

Jeroen Veldman
Jeroen Veldman is Visiting Professor at the Interdisciplinary Institute for Innovation at Mines ParisTech in Paris, France and Honorary Senior Visiting Fellow at Cass Business School in London, UK.
Introduction

Access_open Towards Responsible Business Conduct in Global Value Chains: Relevant Legal Developments in the Netherlands

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 the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Jeroen Veldman
Jeroen Veldman is Visiting Professor at the Interdisciplinary Institute for Innovation at Mines ParisTech in Paris, France and Honorary Senior Visiting Fellow at Cass Business School in London, UK.

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