On March 7 2013 the social democratic party (PvdA) called for a national corporate accountability ombudsman during a parliamentary debate on CSR. They see the need for better monitoring of corporate behaviour. Jan Vos, MP for the PvdA states that after the launch of international guidelines and agreements on corporate accountability, time has come to make sure that companies respect the rules. A corporate accountability ombudsman should have the possibility to initiate investigations and to impose sanctions (including fines). Many opposition parties reacted in favor of this proposal (ChristenUnie, SP, GroenLinks and D66). However, the Christian democrats and coalition partner VVD (the liberals) are not in favour.
The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Lilianne Ploumen, a social democrat herself, promised she will look into the legal possibilities to improve corporate behaviour. She will investigate on how an ombudsman could play a meaningful role without increasing administrative costs.
The MVO Platform welcomes the proposal of the social democrats because public policies on corporate accountability should be more mandatory and externally controlled. The MVO Platform suggests the following tasks for a CSR ombudsman:
- formulating minimum requirements for companies;
- initiating investigations following complaints and media reports;
- negotiating and imposing plans for improving corporate behaviour and monitoring the implementation of the plans;
- proposing policy recommendations to government and industry;
- verifying compliance with criteria for receiving government grants or public procurement contracts;
- negotiating for compensation for victims;
- sanctioning companies that are involved in violations (for example by cutting government grants or to fine)