Front cover

Tightening Belts - Two Regional Case Studies on Corporate Social Responsibility

January 2020 Editor: Remco E. Breuker , Professor of Korean Studies at Leiden University
Editor: Imke B.L.H. van Gardingen , Policy Advisor on labour migration for the Dutch Federation of Labour Unions (FNV)


  • Published: January 2020
  • Pages: XI+433 p.+ill.
  • Publisher: T.M.C. ASSER PRESS
  • Distributor: T.M.C. Asser Press
  • ISBN: 978-90-6704-359-5

The two studies brought together in this volume not only look like they are miles apart, in fact they are. The first study investigates the construction of the M4 motorway in Pakistan, while the second study deals with the presence of North Korean forced labour in the supply chains of Chinese factories and international textile brands.

One common strand that links these two different studies is that of the notion of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). These studies try to determine to what extent companies and financial institutions take responsibility in order to ensure compliance with internationally agreed standards in the value chain.

Another strand the two pillars of this report have in common is the presence of the Netherlands: the Dutch state as a stakeholder participating financially in the first project, while the second project involves major Dutch companies whose supply chains run very high risks of containing North Korean forced labour.

The third common strand is the introduction of new empirical facts into the discourse, through regional interviews in the first project and by way of new ways of mapping and understanding supply chains in the second.

Finally, the last common strand is the role of China in both projects.

Both case studies show how proper implementation and execution of CSR requires awareness and knowledge of the region involved and should never be a matter of merely ticking the boxes. The severe infringements we found in both case studies show as much: due diligence needs to be tightened up.

The contributions contained in this edited volume written by eleven authors from various disciplinary backgrounds were presented as studies in 2019 by the Leiden Asia Centre.

The contributions were compiled under the editorship of Remco E. Breuker and Imke B.L.H. van Gardingen into one volume in partnership with T.M.C. Asser Press and is now available as an open source publication. The pdf can be downloaded below.

Available for download

Tightening Belts