OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises consist of recommendations from the governments of the 35 OECD members and a dozen other states (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Morocco, Peru, Romania, Tunisia and Ukraine as of July 2017) to companies operating from their sovereign territory. An updated version of the OECD Guidelines was accepted by the OECD Ministerial Conference on 25 May 2011. The OECD Guidelines give a comprehensive list of topics that describe responsible business conduct (corporate social responsibility) and are applicable to multinationals from the signatory states wherever they are operating. The Guidelines are an important tool in shaping globalisation.

The OECD Guidelines are the oldest comprehensive code of conduct that provides businesses with a framework for corporate social responsibility (CSR). They were negotiated multilaterally and adopted in 1976. Their stated aim was to guarantee the harmonisation of multinationals' activities with public policies, strengthen the basis of trust between companies and their host country, improve the climate for foreign investments and boost the contribution of multinational enterprises to sustainable development. The principles are voluntary and not of a binding nature. Member states, however, have undertaken to set up a National Contact Point (NCP) to which any non-compliance with the Guidelines can be reported. The NCPs will then proceed with informal arbitration proceedings.

The Guidelines are an integral part of the OECD Declaration on International Investments and Multinational Enterprises. They are a package of measures designed to promote direct investments between OECD states. The OECD Investment Committee monitors the Guidelines and organises a regular exchange of views.


Update of the OECD Guidelines 2010/11

Since the OECD Guidelines were thoroughly revised in 2000, the fast pace of globalisation has brought further changes to the environment in which international investments are made and multinational enterprises operate. Non-OECD members are attracting an increasing share of international investment, and multinational enterprises in emerging economies have gained in stature. The financial and economic crises highlighted weaknesses in corporate management and thus increased the need to continue developing the OECD Guidelines so that they remain a key global instrument in promoting corporate responsibility.

With this aim in mind, it became clear that numerous changes to content and form were necessary. Besides an update of the existing eight thematic chapters, significant changes have been made to the content, including a new chapter on human rights and provisions on an enterprise's due diligence regarding its supply chain (cf. Chapter 2)

Les principes directeurs de l'OCDE: pour une conduite responsable des entreprises multinationales (French) (PDF, 152 kB, 22.04.2016)Article by Johannes Schneider and Lukas Siegenthaler, in 'La Vie économique' 9-2011

Last modification 19.10.2017

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