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.
Central to its potential to effect change on a broad scale is its employment of the multi-stakeholder process which gives relevant stakeholders the opportunity to participate side-by-side with enterprises in developing strategies to avoid risks of adverse impacts. Proactive agenda work should add value and avoid duplication with other initiatives and collaborative efforts.
NCPs are in a position to play an important role in contributing to the proactive agenda since they maintain regular contact with social partners and other stakeholders in order to:
- consider new developments and emerging practices concerning responsible business conduct;
- support the positive contributions enterprises can make to economic, social and environmental progress;
- participate where appropriate in collaborative initiatives to identify and respond to risks of adverse impacts associated with particular products, regions, sectors or industries.
Three initial proactive agenda projects have been identified:
- Due diligence in the financial sector
- Stakeholder engagement and due diligence in the extractive sector
- Responsible investment in agricultural supply chains
These projects do not aim to create any new responsibilities or recommendations in addition to those in the Guidelines (i.e. no new normative framework).
THE PROACTIVE AGENDA IN PRACTICE
The OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High Risk Areas is an example of the potential of the proactive agenda.
Developed through a multi-stakeholder process, it provides guidance to enterprises for responsible sourcing of minerals. Its objective is to help companies respect human rights and to avoid contributing to conflict through their mineral sourcing practices in conflict-affected and high-risk areas. This Guidance is also supported by a broad and inclusive multi-stakeholder process.
The Guidance shows how the due diligence and supply chain provisions of the updated Guidelines can be translated into operational terms in a given context.