Responsible business conduct & digitalisation


The impact of the digital transformation on business


The digital economy has had a profound impact on the global business landscape. New phenomena such as online platforms, social media, digital ledger technology, big data and online service providers affect business models and our understanding of what a “business” is. Digitalisation also has a significant impact on the workplace and can affect production and distribution, both positively and negatively. It has driven innovation in all sectors, but also contributed to the transformation and disruption of traditional industries, making it imperative for incumbents to acquire new digital competencies rapidly.


The implications of digitalisation for responsible business conduct are manifold. New digital tools can accelerate development, and enable businesses to strengthen their efforts to act responsibly, in particular as it relates to responsible supply chain management (e.g. blockchain technology to manage supply chains, machine learning and analytics to track risk). 


At the same time, the digital transformation can also lead to business causing or contributing to human rights and other social and environmental harms in new ways (e.g. risk of bias and discrimination in the use of articial intelligence, and human rights risks associated with surveillance technology and the misuse of online content platforms).


Within this context, governments are confronted with new opportunities and challenges while promoting responsible business conduct.


Find out more  

  • Human rights due diligence through responsible AI


    While the benefits and opportunities of AI seem boundless, certain applications of AI risk causing intentional or unintentional harms. It is critical to ground conversations on AI development in international standards on responsible business conduct, a foundation of sustainable economic development. This chapter of the annual OECD Business & Financial Outlook focuses on potential human rights impacts of AI and how companies developing and using AI can apply OECD guidance to conduct human rights due diligence. It also examines how existing legislation, both on human rights and on AI, deals with this issue.





  • Digitalisation and RBC: stocktaking of policies and initiatives






  • OECD workshop on RBC and Digitalisation, Agenda, 4 November 2019
  • Blockchain and RBC :
    • The OECD Blockchain Primer: The OECD Blockchain Policy Centre developed a paper answering key questions for those new to the subject. The paper covers what a blockchain is, why it is important, how it is developed, and what it is commonly used for.
    • Is there a role for blockchain in responsible supply chains?: The OECD Centre on Responsible Business Conduct took a critical look at at how blockchain technology is currently being developed and used to facilitate responsible business conduct, and offers suggestions for how responsible business conduct can be integrated into emerging blockchain initiatives in an effective way, in alignment with the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.



Read the report

Digitalisation and responsible business conduct: stocktaking of policies and initiatives


The ABC of digitalisation


Artificial Intelligence




Online Content Providers



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