On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, OECD Watch publishes a “4 x 10” bullet-point plan highlighting four key features that give the Guidelines the potential to help ensure businesses behave responsibly. It also includes ten actions that governments must take to unlock that potential and to advance their legally binding obligations to further the effectiveness of the Guidelines
In June 2016, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (“the Guidelines)– the OECD’s flagship instrument on responsible business conduct – will celebrate its 40th anniversary. Periodic updates to the Guidelines have sought to keep them relevant and in step with changing times. The most recent update in 2011 extended the scope of the Guidelines and achieved improvements in the areas of human rights, due diligence, and value chain responsibility.
Although governments adhering to the Guidelines have made a legally-binding commitment to set up National Contact Points to further their effectiveness, implementation remains patchy at best. Poor promotion and enforcement of the Guidelines by governments has significantly limited uptake of, and respect for, the Guidelines by businesses. This has constrained the overall impact and effectiveness of the instrument.
The current political momentum around the OECD Guidelines provides a long overdue opportunity to unlock their full potential. Immediate action is needed by governments to strengthen the effectiveness of the Guidelines as a force for ensuring that companies behave responsibly in their operations and business relationships around the world.