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Our campaign demands

On this page you'll find a detailed list of OECD Watch's demands for policymakers.

Without incentives the NCP system won't work

The NCP system primarily uses mediation to resolve complaints, yet most governments do not provide sufficient incentives for companies to participate in mediation or to reach an agreement with complainants. Without incentives, the NCP system won’t be able to effectively facilitate access to remedy for victims of corporate harms.

Demand: Determinations

If mediation fails, NCPs should investigate the issue and determine whether an enterprise has violated the Guidelines. The willingness of an NCP to make such statements where the company refuses to participate in mediation, or where mediation has failed to produce an agreement, provides what is often the only incentive for a company to participate constructively in mediation. Moreover, the possibility
that a final statement may include a determination of non-compliance with the Guidelines will make their participation in dispute resolution more likely. NCPs should be given the authority and resources necessary to make determinations and to carry out independent investigations.

Demand: Consequences

Governments should provide strong incentives for companies to follow the Guidelines and to participate in the NCP mediation process. These incentives should include negative consequences, such as the suspension of access to export credit guarantees, public procurement contracts, development assistance, tax breaks and participation in trade missions.

Credits: Sosialistisk-Ungdom-SU-CC

The commitments that must be honoured:

The procedural Guidance of the OECD sets out four core criteria for NCPs: visibility, accessibility, transparency and accountability. In addition four principles must be respected when handling complaints: impartiality, predictability, equitability and compatibility.

Demand: Visibility

NCPs must promote the Guidelines; inform potentially interested parties of their role, the facilities they provide and the details of the process that potential complainants would need. A website in multiple languages and promotional activities are a bare minimum.

Demand : Accessibility

NCPs must remove obstacles for potential complainants, such as excessive standards of proof before a complaint is accepted, unnecessary criteria for accepting cases, rejection of complaints that seek to prevent future harm, and costs for potential complainants, including travel and translation. NCPs must take steps to protect complainants against retaliatory lawsuits or threats to their safety.

Demand: Transparency

NCPs must not base their decisions on information that has not been shared with both parties. NCPs should not impose confidentiality requirements beyond the content of the mediation process. Such requirements can be a strong deterrent against using the process altogether. NCPs must publish final statements in all cases they handle.

Demand: Accountability

NCPs must seek the support of the social partners, NGOs and other interested parties. NCPs should include credible multi-stakeholder advisory or oversight bodies with authority over the NCP.

Demand: Impartiality

NCPs must be impartial and should have structures that are not perceived as biased or having a conflict of interest. NCPs should not be placed in a ministry or department where decisions can be  influenced by other policy objectives. NCPs should possess skills to act as impartial mediators or access these skills through independent mediators.

Demand: Predictability

NCPs must meet the indicative timelines in the Procedural Guidance or clearly explain the reasons behind any delays that arise. NCPs should provide public information on how they resolve complaints and the role that the NCP can play in monitoring the implementation of any mediated agreement. Predictability requires transparency and, as such, NCPs should publish all initial assessments.

Demand: Equitable treatment

NCPs must take into account the power imbalances that exist between complainants and companies. Typically, complainants have suffered an adverse impact through the activity of a company that has not been adequately addressed through national institutions. The complainants have little capacity to defend themselves and often have little choice for recourse.

Demand: Compatibility with the guidelines

NCPs must base their initial assessment on the standards of responsible business conduct contained in the Guidelines. If the complaint process does not result in an agreement between the parties, NCPs should state whether the company’s behaviour is compatible with the Guidelines. NCPs must follow up on recommendations made in final statements or on the implementation of mediated agreements in order to ensure that the ultimate outcome of the case is compatible with the standards contained in the Guidelines.

Roel Nieuwenkamp, Chair of the OECD’s Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct: “Governments adhering to the Guidelines that neglect to set up well-functioning and accessible NCPs or that are overly restrictive in accepting cases for mediation are denying an important service to industry and related stakeholders. They are also denying themselves of an effective mechanism for implementation of expectations under the UNGPs and the Guidelines.” 

>Read the full paper

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