2023 update of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct
The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct (the Guidelines) are recommendations jointly addressed by governments to multinational enterprises to enhance the business contribution to sustainable development and address adverse impacts associated with business activities on people, planet, and society. The Guidelines are supported by a unique implementation mechanism, the National Contact Points for Responsible Business Conduct (NCPs), established by governments to further the effectiveness of the Guidelines.
Since their introduction in 1976, the Guidelines have been continuously updated to remain fit for purpose in light of societal challenges and the evolving context for international business. The 2023 update reflects a decade of experience since their last review in 2011 and responds to urgent social, environmental, and technological priorities facing societies and businesses.
The updated Guidelines were released on 8 June within the context of the 2023 OECD Ministerial Council Meeting. Key updates include:
- Recommendations for enterprises to align with internationally agreed goals on climate change and biodiversity
- Inclusion of due diligence expectations on the development, financing, sale, licensing, trade and use of technology, including gathering and using data
- Recommendations on how enterprises are expected to conduct due diligence on impacts and business relationships related to the use of their products and services
- Better protection for at-risk persons and groups, including those who raise concerns regarding the conduct of businesses
- Updated recommendations on disclosure of responsible business conduct information
- Expanded due diligence recommendations to all forms of corruption
- Recommendations for enterprises to ensure lobbying activities are consistent with the Guidelines
- Strengthened procedures to ensure the visibility, effectiveness and functional equivalence of National Contact Points for Responsible Business Conduct
The updated Guidelines will also serve to support the ambition set out in the Declaration on Promoting and Enabling Responsible Business Conduct in the Global Economy adopted at the 14-15 February 2023 Ministerial meeting on Responsible Business Conduct.
In June 2022, the OECD Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct (WPRBC) began working towards a targeted update of the Guidelines and related texts to advance their uptake and promotion, as well as to ensure they remain fit for purpose. The targeted update was guided by a set of parameters set out by the WPRBC, including:
- excluding wholesale revision of the Guidelines or a full redrafting of existing chapters
- focusing on issues raised in the stocktaking exercise and current understanding and practice by Adherents
- reflecting the criteria of (i) ensuring coherence with OECD priorities and standards; (ii) enhancing the OECD’s leadership on RBC; (iii) building on achievements and strengths; and (iv) ensuring focus and proportionality.
The update was conducted by the 51 Adherents to the OECD Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises and the European Union who participate in the OECD Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct and the OECD Investment Committee. The update benefitted from close involvement of the institutional stakeholders Business at OECD, the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD, and OECD Watch, representing the views of millions of businesses, workers, and civil society members globally. The process also included public consultation open to interested stakeholders from across the world (please find the links to the summary report of the public consultation input, as well as responses to the consultation and submissions received via email).
7 September 2023: What changed in the 2023 revamp of the OECD Guidelines and why does it matter?
Two public webinars on the updated Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct, the first public event held by the OECD setting out what’s new in the Guidelines and why the changes matter. Both webinars feature a panel of stakeholders and a panel of policymakers who will engage in a forward-looking conversation on implementation and next steps for bringing the new Guidelines to life.
MNE Guidelines - Presentation
Links to recordings of the webinars:
First webinar, watch here
Second webinar, watch here
5 October 2023: Recoding our understanding of RBC in science, tech and innovation: What's new in the OECD MNE Guidelines?
The updated OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct have been adopted, with big changes in the chapter on Science, Technology and Innovation and new clarity for companies on their responsibilities. Join us to dig deeper into what these changes mean, how our understanding of the issues has evolved, and to look at how governments, companies and the OECD are already taking steps to put these new expectations into practice.
19 October 2023: Scaling up credible business action on climate: What's new in the OECD MNE Guidelines?
Last June, the OECD updated the Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct, making them the first internationally agreed standard for how businesses should address climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. But what does it mean in practice? How does it relate to net zero targets? What are the implications for conducting environmental due diligence? How will this increase business contribution to a just transition? Join us to unpack the new provisions of the Guidelines’ Environment Chapter and what they mean for businesses and ultimately for people and planet.