OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises consist of recommendations from the governments of the 38 OECD members and other states (Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Croatia, Egypt, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Peru, Romania, Tunisia and Ukraine) 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.

Stocktaking on the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

The OECD Guidelines reflect the expectation from 50 governments to businesses on human rights, labour conditions, the environment, the prevention of bribery, consumer interests, as well as information disclosure, science and technology, competition, and taxation. The purpose of the stocktaking is to take account of the key developments, achievements and challenges related to the Guidelines and their unique grievance mechanism the National Contact Points.

The OECD has conducted a public consultation to ensure the stocktaking exercise benefits from views and experiences of all stakeholders. Based on this exercise, options to ensure the continued relevance and effectiveness of the Guidelines in advancing responsible business conduct will be explored. 

Last modification 14.06.2022

Top of page


State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO
International Investment & Multinational Enterprises
Holzikofenweg 36
3003 Bern


Print contact