2011 Update of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises


Governments adhering to the Guidelines adopted the updated text of the Guidelines at the 2011 50th Anniversary Ministerial Meeting.

See news release of 25 May 2011: OECD guidelines to protect human rights and social development.


Background to the update

The update of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises began early in May 2010. Governments adhering to the Guidelines engaged in an intensive consultation process with a wide range of stakeholders.


The Guidelines are recommendations by governments covering all major areas of business ethics, including corporate steps to obey the law, observe internationally-recognised standards and respond to other societal expectations.


Since the last review of the Guidelines in 2000, the landscape for international investment and multinational enterprises has continued to change rapidly. The world economy has witnessed new and more complex patterns of production and consumption. Non-OECD countries are attracting a larger share of world investment and multinational enterprises from non-adhering countries have grown in importance. At the same time, the financial and economic crisis and the loss in confidence in open markets, the need to address climate change, and reaffirmed international commitments to development goals have prompted renewed calls from governments, the private sector and social partners for high standards of responsible business conduct.


At their 2009 Annual Meeting, NCPs responsible for the implementation of the Guidelines recommended that adhering countries review the experience gained with this instrument with a view to defining terms of reference for its possible update. At the June 2009 OECD Council Meeting at Ministerial level, ministers from OECD and non-member countries welcomed “further consultation on the updating of the OECD Guidelines to increase their relevance and clarify private sector responsibilities”.


The first step in this process took place on 8 December 2009 with a consultation which sought the views of business, labour, NGOs, non-adhering countries and international organisations on the priority areas for an update. Adhering governments decided on the terms of reference for an update in April 2010. Work on the update started in June 2010 and the updated Guidelines were formally adopted in May 2011.

Documents and links


Transcript of remarks by US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the adoption ceremony of the updated Guidelines on 25 May 2011


Professor John Ruggie on businesses and human rights


Corporate responsibility: Reinforcing a unique instrument - 2010 Annual Report on the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises


An insight into how OECD works with business, unions and civil society



Transcript of remarks by
OECD Deputy Secretary-General Richard Boucher
at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit on 23 June 2010




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