OECD launches updated guidelines on responsible business conduct

Bern, 08.06.2023 - At the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting on 8 June, the OECD launched its newly updated Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct. This revision takes account of developments over the past ten years, particularly in relation to digitalisation and the environment.

The OECD Guidelines are the globally leading standard on responsible business conduct and are widely recognised and applied in public policy and business practice. The Guidelines were last updated in 2011. The 2023 update responds to urgent social, environmental and technological priorities facing societies and businesses.

Key changes include:

  • Recommendations for enterprises to align with internationally agreed goals on climate change and biodiversity
  • Introduction of due diligence expectations on the development, financing, sale, licensing, trade and use of technology, including gathering and using data
  • Updated recommendations on disclosure of responsible business conduct information, including the implementation of a due diligence process
  • Expanded due diligence recommendations for all forms of corruption  
  • Strengthened procedures to ensure the visibility, effectiveness and functional equivalence of the National Contact Points on Responsible Business Conduct

The OECD Guidelines are recommendations jointly addressed by governments to multinational enterprises to enhance the business contribution to sustainable development and address adverse impacts of economic activities on the planet and society. The Guidelines are supported by a unique implementation mechanism, the National Contact Points for Responsible Business Conduct. Their task is to inform businesses about the Guidelines and to act as an extrajudicial arbitration body in the event of conflicts.

The update of the OECD Guidelines was agreed by the 51 countries that adhere to the Guidelines, including both OECD members and non-members, accounting for two-thirds of global trade and investment. The update benefitted from close involvement of the institutional stakeholders of the OECD, representing the views of businesses, unions and NGOs. The process also included two public consultations open to interested stakeholders from all countries.

Switzerland's National Contact Point will hold a public information event on implementation of the updated OECD Guidelines on 30 November 2023.

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Last modification 30.01.2024

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