Article 3

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Certification schemes Corporate incentives

Article 3 creates the Belgium Social Label: a social government label for products and services bought and sold in Belgium. The criteria for the award of the label will be introduced by means of a Royal Decree to be drafted and agreed upon by the Council of Ministers. These criteria include, at the very least, compliance with the standards established in the eight core ILO conventions. This means that companies have to meet the conditions of the international conventions as regards freedom of association, collective bargaining, child labour, discrimination and forced labour.

Notes

In order to receive authorisation to place this label on a good or service, the requesting company must demonstrate compliance with the eight core ILO conventions (relating to the prohibition of forced labor, freedom of association, the right to collective organisation and bargaining, the prohibition of discrimination in employment and remuneration, minimum age for child labour and the prohibition of the worst forms of child labour) throughout its production chain.

The Belgian Ministry of Economic Affairs will grant a company the use of the socially responsible label on the basis of a binding opinion delivered by a committee composed of 16-members representing a variety of stakeholders including the government, consumer organisations, employers, trade unions and NGOs. The benefits of establishing a stakeholder committee include the trustworthiness of the label, a larger societal support for the label and the collaboration of all stakeholders to achieve better working conditions. Furthermore the enterprise will not only have to provide assurance of its compliance with labour standards as part of its initial request, but it will also have to agree to undergo independent auditing procedures on an annual basis, allowing periodic verification of the labour conditions in the company’s supply chain.

However, given the few companies who have participated in the scheme, the Belgium Social Label has been largely unsuccessful.

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Article 3. The King shall determine, by means of a decree deliberated in the Council of Ministers, the criteria on the basis of which the label will be awarded. These criteria include the compliance of the standards determined in the fundamental conventions of the International labour organization, including:

1° the prohibition on forced labour (agreement nr. 29 concerning forced labour, 1930, and convention nr. 105 concerning the abolition of forced labour, 1975);

[2°…]
[3°…]

4° the prohibition on discrimination in respect of employment and remuneration (convention nr. 100 on equal remuneration, 1951, and convention nr. 111 on discrimination (Employment and Occupation), 1958).

5°the minimum age for child labour (convention nr. 138 concerning the minimum age, 1973) and the prohibition of the worst forms of child labour (convention nr. 182 on the worst forms of child labour, 1999).

Law / 27 February 2002 / Belgium / Law Concerning the Encouragement of Socially Responsible Production

In 2002, the Belgian government launched the world’s first “public” social label with the goal of “promoting socially valuable production”. The label aims to promote goods, vis á vis consumers, that have been produced under decent working conditions.

Under the law, any enterprise commercialising products in the Belgian market may request to be awarded the social label. This application must be co-signed by the representatives of the workers in the enterprise. In order to receive the authorisation to place this label on a good or service, the requesting company must demonstrate compliance with the eight core ILO conventions (relating to the prohibition of forced labour, freedom of association, the right to collective organization and bargaining, the prohibition of discrimination in employment and remuneration, minimum age for child labor and the prohibition of the worst forms of child labour) throughout its production chain.

While this is an optional regime, enterprises using these labels must comply with the provisions of the law. A control mechanism is set in place in order to verify whether or not the enterprises comply with the legal provisions.