What they are
The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (OECD MNE Guidelines) are the most comprehensive instrument for promoting responsible business conduct. 46 countries adhere to them, including all OECD member countries and 12 non-member economies. The Guidelines reflect a political understanding of what constitutes appropriate and fair business behavior. They are part of the OECD Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises, which aims to balance the promotion of an open investment climate with responsible business conduct.
Why they matter
The MNE Guidelines are the only multilaterally agreed corporate responsibility instrument that adhering governments have committed to promoting globally. They cover all major areas of business ethics, such as human rights, information disclosure, employment and labor, environment, anti-corruption, consumer interests, science and technology, competition and taxation. The 2011 Guidelines include a number of new features, such as a comprehensive concept to avoid adverse impacts, including a related due diligence provision, and new provisions on how to promote observance of the Guidelines in the supply chains.
How they impact
The Guidelines are supported by a unique implementation mechanism of National Contact Points established by adhering governments. Through NCPs, interested parties can resolve disagreement over the implementation of the Guidelines and find a common solution. BIAC works with the OECD and its members to ensure a smooth functioning and clear understanding of the process, which is intended to stimulate fair behavior not legal disputes. The Guidelines are not only a demand on business, but also contribute to providing a more level playing field and protect business from unrealistic expectations. BIAC is involved in multiple awareness-raising activities throughout the year.