OECD updates its Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct
The OECD has published a new update of its Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct. The Guidelines are now available in Finnish. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will organise a public webinar on the most important changes on 10 October 2023.
The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct are recommendations issued by governments to companies. They encourage companies to promote economic, ecological and social development and minimise the potentially harmful impacts of their activities, products and services. The Guidelines cover the key areas of corporate social responsibility: human rights, employment and industrial relations, environment, combating bribery, consumer interests, science and technology, competition and taxation.
What is the OECD Guidelines?
The OECD Guidelines define a due diligence process that governments are actively committed to supporting and supervising. The process includes the following measures:
- embedding responsible business conduct into policies and management systems;
- identifying and assessing actual and potential adverse impacts associated with the enterprise’s operations, products or services;
- ceasing, preventing and mitigating adverse impacts;
- tracking implementation and results;
- communicating how impacts are addressed; and
- providing for or cooperating in remediation when appropriate.
National Contact Points for responsible business conduct will assist companies in adhering to the Guidelines. In Finland, the National Contact Point consists of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment together with the Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility.
The first edition of the Guidelines was published in 1976 and was last updated by the countries committed to them in 2011. A new updated edition of the Guidelines was released at the OECD ministerial council meeting on 9 June 2023. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment published a translated version of the Guidelines in Finnish today. The recommendations were updated especially in areas where significant developments have taken place over the past ten years, such as climate change, biodiversity, technology, due diligence in supply chains and National Contact Points. The aim has been to keep the Guidelines up-to-date and fit for purpose.
In 2023, key updates to the Guidelines include:
- recommendations for companies on due diligence on impacts and business relationships related to the use of their products and services
- recommendations for companies to align with internationally agreed goals on climate change and biodiversity
- inclusion of due diligence on the development, financing, sale, licensing, trade and use of technology, including gathering and using data
- protection of at-risk persons and groups
- recommendations on disclosure of responsible business conduct information
- expanding due diligence recommendations to all forms of corruption
- recommendations on lobbying activities
- strengthening the visibility, effectiveness and equivalence of National Contact Points
Welcome to the webinar on key changes of the OECD Guidelines
On 10 October 2023, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will organise a webinar on key changes, especially on the chapter on the environment, together with FIBS and the OECD Secretariat. The event will be held in English. Please register for the event using the link by 9 October.
Laura Pätsi, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, e-mail [email protected] and tel. +358 50 592 1220