Is your community being harmed by bribery or corruption involving big business? Do you suspect corruption is being used to lower standards for a development project harming your community? The OECD Guidelines may help you fight these problems.

What the OECD Guidelines say about corruption

The OECD Guidelines recognise that corruption damages democratic institutions, weakens corporate governance, erodes enforcement of environmental and social standards, and disproportionately affects marginalised or vulnerable groups. Companies are expected to avoid and address harms from all forms of corruption connected to their activities. You can use the OECD Guidelines to demand that companies:

  • Undertake due diligence over corruption as part of their corruption prevention and detection efforts.
  • Avoid engaging in corruption directly or through third party agents.
  • Engage meaningfully with civil society and other stakeholders to improve the design and implementation of effective anti-corruption policies.
  • Create a culture of corruption prevention and integrity, such as through explicit and visible support from company directors and senior management.
  • Teach employees about anti-corruption policies.
  • Disclose cases of corruption as well as measures taken in response.


Civil society should interpret the Corruption chapter in line with text on due diligence everywhere else in the Guidelines: calling for corporate action to address corruption and its harmful impacts. Civil society can refer to the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct for support, which calls for due diligence to tackle existing and potential broader adverse impacts from bribery and corruption, including through remedying such impacts.

Read the text

  • Chapter VII (Combating Bribery and Other Forms of Corruption): all paragraphs and commentaries

Additional important information

What are the OECD Guidelines?

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct (OECD Guidelines) are recommendations from governments to companies on how to act responsibly. The OECD Guidelines set non-binding standards for responsible business conduct across a range of issues important to communities, such as human rights, workers rights, and the environment, and also cover issues such as corruption and taxation.

Governments that follow the OECD Guidelines must establish a non-judicial complaints body called a National Contact Point for Responsible Business Conduct to promote the Guidelines and handle complaints about harmful business activity. The Guidelines set good standards for all companies, but complaints can only be filed against two types of companies operating across borders:

  1. multinational enterprises headquartered in a country that follows the OECD Guidelines, or
  2. multinational enterprises operating in a country that follows the OECD Guidelines.

How can you use the OECD Guidelines?

Civil society can use the Guidelines to:

  • Raise community awareness about company standards.
  • Talk to companies to demand better conduct.
  • File complaints when companies fall below the standards.
  • Advocate for strong laws and policies on corporate responsibility.

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