Activities of the Austrian NCP
The Austrian NCP organises three to four expert talks and discussion fora annually. The NCP also participates in stakeholder events on responsible business conduct and provides brochures and other information material on the OECD Guidelines.
Discussion Event "Digitalisation and Global Responsibility" on 11 June 2018
Blockchain, the Internet of Things or Big Data are considered as "game changers" for more transparency and flexibility in the supply chain. According to the speakers, digital technologies could make a significant contribution to identify risks in upstream supply chains.
Transparency becomes a key element in the supply chain: "Not only localising products, but being able to trace them along the entire supply chain is becoming a key element in supply chain management," emphasised Christian Friesl, Head of Education and Society of the Federation of Austrian Industries. Ensuring real supply chain transparency is finally possible through the help of digital technologies.
Current developments: Transparency, sustainability, environmental protection and combating corruption will also be considered in the 2018 External Trade Strategy, which is currently developed, stated Bernadette Marianne Gierlinger, Director General for External Trade Policy and European Integration in the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs. Specific attention is given to the opportunities being brought in by digitalisation. Director General Gierlinger also referred to the new OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct, which provides practical support to companies across all industries on due diligence along the entire supply chain.
Increased supplier visibility through digital technologies: "Sustainability problems usually do not arise with direct suppliers, but in the upstream supply chain," said Martin Schleper, Sustainable Operations Management at the University of Sussex. In supply chain due diligence and risk identification, companies usually have to rely on information provided from their first tier suppliers. Especially for small and medium-sized enterprises it is often not possible to receive information from upstream suppliers due to low purchasing volumes. Digital technologies such as blockchain, as well as social media and big data can increase the visibility of suppliers and help to better identify risks in the supply chain", said Schleper.
Digital technologies being tested: Many companies are currently testing whether digital technologies can be used to verify that their supply chains are free from forced labour, human trafficking or corruption, explained Tara Norton, Managing Director of the international consultancy BSR. Projects include a joint venture between the Danish transport and logistics company Maersk and IBM, the 'bean-to-cup' blockchain initiative from the coffee company Starbucks with select coffee farmers in Costa Rica, Colombia and Rwanda or a project by the consumer goods company Unilever and the British supermarket Sainsbury's with tea farmers in Malawi.
Unlocking the Potential of Digitalisation: Achieving sustainability targets would not be possible without digitalisation, said Manfred Schekulin, Head of Export and Investment Policy and Chairman of the OECD Investment Committee, in the discussion with Tara Norton, BSR, Martin Schleper, University of Sussex, and Michaela Kegel, Compliance and Sustainability Services at KPMG. Digitalisation could help to work through standards such as the OECD Guidelines in a structured manner, to harmonise the large number of codes of conduct, or to predict short-term political or labour law risks using algorithms, said Michaela Kegel. However, decision-making and trust in the accuracy of information cannot be replaced by digital applications, the panelists agreed.
Austrian NCP for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs
Telephone: (+43) 1 711 00-805240 or 805050
Fax: (+43) 1 711 00-8045050