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Official Opening Database on Business Ethics (DBBE)

For many years, human rights have mostly been a theme where states constituted the most important actors. Influenced by globalisation and the worldwide integration of the economy, multinational corporations have grown to feel more responsible for compliance to human rights.

Under the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) these companies have become active in the formulation of their own policy in which they commit to respect human rights. Many companies have codified these policies in Codes of Conduct. Whilst international conventions on human rights are quickly accessible on the websites of international organisations, these Codes of Conduct are less easily located. These Codes of Conduct have been assembled in the Database of Business Ethics, developed by the department of Labour Law of the Faculty of Law of Leiden University with support of the Municipality of The Hague.

The website of the Database of Business Ethics was launched on Wednesday March 20th 2019 by Saskia Bruines, The Hague’s alderman for Education, Knowledge Economy and International Affairs, in the presence of representatives of Leiden University, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, the International Responsible Business  (IMVO) of the Social and Economic Council (SER) and the Netherlands National Contact Point (NCP), the organ which monitors compliance to the OECD Guidelines.

The DBBE now counts 1156 Codes of Conduct of European and American companies from a wide variety of business sectors, listed on indices from Europe and the United States. These Codes have been examined on the presence of provisions concerning fundamental labour rights as declared by the International Labour Organisation (ILO): forced labour, child labour, freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. This enables the DBBE to provide insight into which Codes of Conduct and how many Codes of Conduct include provisions on these fundamental labour rights.

The website offers to all those interested the opportunity to search in the database for more information on Codes of Conduct. Users of the website may also subscribe to Newsletters to be kept updated on developments on the area of fundamental (labour) rights and the results of research on compliance to these rights.

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