OECD and UN Climate Change team up to discuss how Responsible Business Conduct can drive climate action by business


Madrid, 10 December 2019 – In the context of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 25, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and UN Climate Change have renewed the call for the private sector to step up their efforts to address climate change.


The recently published Emissions Gap Report by UNEP indicates that global greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut by 7.6% annually to limit global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, the World is currently on a trajectory to 3.2 degrees Celsius of warming, which will have catastrophic consequences for humanity, business included.


National and sub-national governments, investors, civil society and companies have acknowledged both the responsibility and opportunity for business in taking concrete steps to scale immediate action on climate change and bridging this gap.


However, there is limited concrete guidance at the international level, on what business can and should do in terms  of addressing the climate emergency and  addressing the full range of climate risks related to business operations and supply chains.


One international instrument that provides this guidance is the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The OECD Guidelines are the most comprehensive government-backed instrument on Responsible Business Conduct (RBC), representing international consensus on the responsibility of companies regarding impacts on people and the planet. These expectations capture action to address business responsibilities on climate change. The OECD Guidelines contain a range of recommendations to business on how to prevent and address adverse climate-related impacts, including aligning emission reduction targets with international objectives, and reporting on progress.


The OECD Guidelines can help companies in ensuring that their business operations across supply chains are in line with international expectations with respect to impacts on climate. With increased scrutiny from consumers and investors, companies that are able to address these impacts can improve their reputation and increase in competitiveness”, said Cristina Tébar Less, Acting Head of the OECD Centre for Responsible Business Conduct.


To help business implement the recommendations of the Guidelines, a number of practical tools have been developed in close cooperation with policy makers, business, trade unions, CSOs, and NGOs. These include the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct which provides recommendations for companies on how to implement due diligence in accordance with the OECD Guidelines in their own operations and in their global supply chains.


In addition, a range of initiatives under the Global Climate Action area of work of UN Climate Change help business take concrete steps to address climate issues and receive support and recognition for their actions. From specific sectoral initiatives acting to support whole value chains, to reporting and tracking on commitments and engaging civil society, these initiatives complement the guidance on RBC.


Business as usual is not an option anymore: it is an investment plan in failure. Companies that do not take immediate steps to align their work with the global climate goals will soon be out of business, as leading economists have stated”, said Niclas Svenningsen, Manager of Global Climate Action, UN Climate Change.


For more information contact:

Stephanie Venuti, Policy Advisor and Legal Expert, OECD Centre for Responsible Business Conduct

Miguel Naranjo, Programme Officer, UN Climate Change


Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Founded in 1961, the OECD is an international organisation that works to build better policies for better lives. Our goal is to shape policies that foster prosperity, equality, opportunity and well-being for all. Together with governments, policy makers and citizens, we work on establishing international norms and finding evidence-based solutions to a range of social, economic and environmental challenges. We draw on almost 60 years of experience and insights to better prepare the world of tomorrow.

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About the UNFCCC

With 197 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. The main aim of the Paris Agreement is to keep a global average temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The UNFCCC is also the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The ultimate objective of all agreements under the UNFCCC is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system, in a time frame which allows ecosystems to adapt naturally and enables sustainable development.

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