Once you have completed the steps in Stage One and decide to file a National Contact Point (NCP) complaint, follow these steps:
- Collect evidence and documentation – such as witness testimony, digital or paper documentation, scientific tests, and/or public articles or reports – showing the harm that has occurred or may occur. The evidence should be plausibly linked to wrongful activity of a multinational company, showing the company is failing to meet some responsibility (provision) under the OECD Guidelines. Again, the OECD Watch Case Check can help you determine what OECD Guidelines provisions may be breached and what evidence may help to demonstrate that.
- Based on the evidence, determine which claims to raise against which company(ies).
- We recommend complainants raise only their strongest claims, showing clearest evidence of breach of the OECD Guidelines by a company. Filing strong claims on just a few Guidelines provisions is better than including multiple less-substantiated claims.
- You can file a complaint against numerous companies if they are all linked to the same underlying situation or harms and fall under an NCP’s jurisdiction.
- Based on the situation and the company(ies) identified in Step 2, determine to which NCP or NCPs you will file the case.
- In principle, a complaint should be filed at the NCP of the country where the issues are occurring. Often, that is the country hosting the business activity. If the host country is not an OECD adherent and thus lacks an NCP, the complaint should be submitted to the NCP of the country where the company is headquartered (i.e. the home country).
- Sometimes, both the host and home countries have NCPs. Complaints can be filed at both, or just one. Deciding where to file depends on several factors, such as whether complainants seek change on the ground or in headquarters-level company policies. If a company’s headquarters seems partially responsible for breaches by a subsidiary, investee, or supplier, then OECD Watch advises filing the complaint at both home and host country NCPs. NCPs handling complaints on the same situation are expected to collaborate.
- OECD Watch has developed a template that CSOs can use to write a clear, complete, concise and persuasive complaint. The who/what/why that every complaint should include:
- Who (victim or natural resource) is being harmed by the enterprise’s violations and Who (company) is causing, contributing, or directly linked to the harms?
- When did the harms occur or when are they expected?
- Where did the harms occur or where are they expected?
- What activity is the enterprise doing or failing to do that constitutes a violation of the OECD Guidelines?
- How have the enterprise’s actions or omissions (non-actions) harmed communities, workers, the environment, etc.?
- Why are the complainants seeking the help of the NCP?
Some NCPs have specific requirements on what information must be included in a complaint. Be sure to check the website of the NCP(s) to which you will file your complaint to ensure you meet their requirements.
Tip on language
Complaints should generally be written in English or the national language of the NCP receiving the case. If the complaint will be filed with several governments, consider writing it in a language that is understood by all the NCPs. However, if it is too burdensome to write the complaint in another language (or to provide evidence in another language), submit the complaint and evidence in your own language. Keep in mind, however, that not translating the complaint could result in additional delays and that the NCP may not be willing to translate (all) documents.
- File the complaint according to any particular procedures required by the relevant NCP. If the complaint is part of a larger campaign against a company or issue, there may be strategic and tactical considerations to determine the right moment to file, and what media plan should accompany the filing. It is also important to consider the NCP’s requirements on confidentiality: please read the page on Other filing considerations.