Implementation of the Guidelines

It is only through collaborative and multi-stakeholder action that the true intent and purpose of the Guidelines can be realised. Although enterprises are ultimately responsible for observing the Guidelines in their day-to-day operations, governments and stakeholders also have a vested interest in enhancing the Guidelines profile and effectiveness. In addition, governments adhering to the Guidelines have specific obligations.

The role of adhering countries

Governments adhering to the Guidelines are obliged to set up National Contact Points (NCPs) whose main role is to further the effectiveness of the Guidelines by undertaking promotional activities, handling enquiries, and contributing to the resolution of issues that arise from the alleged non-observance of the Guidelines in specific instances.

Adhering countries have flexibility in how they organise their NCPs as long as such arrangements provide an effective basis for dealing with the broad range of issues covered by the Guidelines and enable the NCP to operate in an impartial manner while maintaining an adequate level of accountability to the adhering government. To ensure that all NCPs operate in a comparable way, the concept of “functional equivalence” is used. NCPs report to the OECD Investment Committee and regularly meet to share their experiences.

NCPs rely heavily on multi-stakeholder input and are committed to developing and maintaining relationships with representatives of the business community, worker organisations, NGOs and other interested parties that are able to contribute to the effective implementation of the Guidelines.


Specific instances

The Guidelines are the only government-backed international instrument on responsible business conduct with a built-in grievance mechanism – specific instances. Under this mechanism, NCPs are obliged to provide a platform for discussion and assistance to stakeholders to help find a resolution for issues arising from the alleged non-observance of the Guidelines. Read more

Proactive agenda

The proactive agenda is a new prospective dimension added in the 2011 update that contributes to problem solving, as well as the avoidance of problems, in a broader context than the specific instance procedures. The proactive agenda complements the specific instance procedure by helping enterprises identify and respond to risks of adverse impacts associated with particular products, regions, sectors or industries. Read more

Partners and stakeholders

The true intent and purpose of the Guidelines can only be realised through collaborative and multi-stakeholder action. Adhering governments engage with stakeholders in different ways in the implementation of the Guidelines. On a national level, many of these interactions are channeled through NCPs. On an international level, business, trade unions, civil and other partners regularly interact with the OECD.