Monitoring progress IRBC Agreement Food Products

On 29 June 2018 the Dutch Agreement on International Responsible Business Conduct (IRBC) for the Food Products sector was signed by three branch organisations (FNLI, CBL and KNSV), two ministries, two trade unions, three civil society organisations and the Sustainable Trade Initiative. The Dutch Social and Economic Council (SER) is responsible for general coordination. The overall objective of the Agreement concerns realisation of substantial improvements for people and/or the environment that are experiencing adverse impacts from food supply chains within 3-5 years. Two pathways for achieving this have been identified. In the first place company members of the three branch organisations are supposed to implement IRBC risk management (‘due diligence’). In the second place common projects will be identified and executed. SER asked CREM to make a mid-term evaluation of the Agreement; “What has been achieved in the past period and what can be done to make the remaining period of the Agreement (approximately 2,5 years) more effective and efficient?”

The fact that a substantial part of the members of the three branch organisations is now aware of IRBC and due diligence can be considered the main achievement in the past period. There are however also several points for improvement. Based on the mid-term evaluation 34 recommendation have been identified in the area of:

  • General approach and commitment
  • Organisational structure and collaboration
  • Due diligence management
  • Common projects
  • Other activities and outputs:
    • Access to remedy
    • Role of the government
    • Linkages with sustainability labels, standards and certification systems
    • Internationalisation
    • Stakeholder meetings

In the coming period parties of the Agreement will assess which recommendations will be adopted.

In addition to the mid-term evaluation CREM also took care of the annual progress report of the Royal Dutch Spices Association (KNSV). CREM did the same in 2019. These progress reports describe the advancement spice companies make in the area of due diligence.

More information: Victor de Lange