Action point 4
Promote existing qualitative initiatives on human rights and social responsibility
The federal government explains that the Belgian National Contact Point will organize a seminar targeting the fight against corruption for SMEs with the provision of a practical toolbox prepared in partnership with the Belgian Confederation of Enterprises and the International Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Justice.
The Flemish government plans a sustained and sectoral approach to social responsibility as companies operating in the same sector face similar challenges. Thus in consultation with the sectoral organizations, the Flemish authorities will support these organizations and their members in order to sustain their value chains and management of their businesses. In 2016, the Department of Labor and Social Economy will launch a call for the reduction of the difficulties of individual organizations (SMEs, social profit and other organizations) for the determination or for taking social responsibility.
On the context of development of SMEs in South Africa, the NAP mentions that the strategy note aims at job creation through the development of SMEs. This priority is based on the recognition that the high unemployment rate in the labor force, especially among young people, is one of the most important underlying causes of inequality in South Africa. The collaboration between Flanders and South Africa therefore provides support services for SMEs in general and in the social economy sector in particular.
The Flemish government is funding the project ‘Job creation through SME Development – A knowledge sharing project’. This project has a duration of three years (ends December 2017) and has the objective of creating a better business climate for SMEs by taking initiatives to facilitate the creation and development of SMEs through knowledge exchange, coordination and collaboration between interested parties.
Action point 10
Belgium is committed to integrating human rights and corporate social responsibility (CSR) criteria into the local private sector development support strategy of Belgian cooperation
La Belgique s’engage à intégrer des critères « droits de l’Homme » et de Responsabilité sociétale des entreprises (RSE) dans la stratégie d’appui au développement du secteur privé local de la coopération belge
This point explains that strategy of the Belgian cooperation for development also aims at improving the access to financing for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and capacity building of MSME entrepreneurs. One of BIO’s purposes is to invest, directly or indirectly, in the development of MSMEs and social economy enterprises located in developing countries in the interest of economic progress and social security of these countries, while ensuring an adequate return.
Action point 13
Strengthen and monitor the respect for human rights in public procurement
The NAP states that the Flemish government intends to emphasize innovation, sustainability, professionalisation and access to SMEs within the Flemish public procurement plan for the period 2016-2020.
Action point 14
Evaluate the Belgian label to promote socially responsible production
This point presents “the Belgian label” that was a product label created in 2002 and promulgated by law to promote socially responsible production. While the plan includes a reevaluation of the law, such an assessment will take into account the specificity of SMEs both in the analysis and proposals.
Action point 19
Promote best practice of SMEs that adopt responsible supply chain management, especially through the « CSR Compass » tool
This point has a special focus on SMEs. Actions from the government of Wallonia will include the promoting vis-à-vis companies the ready-made instruments, also covering the CRS compass. Concretely, this will involve setting up workshops for exchanges between companies of the same sector and the creation of a practical guide for SMEs wishing to improve the ethics in their supply chain.
Action point 31
Endorse best practice of businesses
The government of Wallonia mentions an engagement that will consist of publishing the initiatives developed by companies and on the other hand Walloon initiatives supporting the adoption of practices respecting human rights by SMEs.
Action point 32
Train companies in the field of respect for human rights
This point briefly mentions SMEs in the context of Wallonia’s engagement with educational and public policy initiatives. The NAP mentions that “public policy initiatives may target intermediaries to ensure that human rights issues are permanently and actively integrated into education and training activities. In this respect, a link could be set up with the “training voucher” system of the Walloon Region. The aim of this system is to promote the training of workers engaged in SMEs or self-employed persons in the Walloon Region. To this end, they are invited by the Walloon Region to participate in training courses during or outside normal working hours.”