Activities of the Austrian National Contact Point (NCP)
The Austrian National Contact Point is charged with spreading knowledge of the OECD Guidelines, providing guidance on issues relating to these to business, labour and civil society, and contributing to solutions to problems arising from applying the OECD Guidelines. The last involves the non-binding, out-of-court mediatory mechanism of the OECD Guidelines that endeavours to arrive at an amicable settlement of infringements of the OECD Guidelines between the parties involved. In its activities, the Austrian NCP is supported by a steering committee. Please find below information on the publication of OECD Guidelines, the complaints procedure, the steering committee and the OECD peer review of the Austrian NCP concluded in 2019.
A key feature of the Austrian NCP’s work is to spread knowledge of the OECD Guidelines. To this end, it organises regular discussion panels and expert meetings, and actively contributes to events held by other stakeholders on issues of responsible business conduct. It also provides information material on the OECD Guidelines, responds to questions on the application and relevance of the OECD Guidelines and comments on associated issues.
The National Contact Points established in the adhering countries offer dialogue and conciliation platforms for complaints about alleged breaches of the OECD Guidelines. Such complaints are handled in line with the Procedural Guidance of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Supplementary provisions are found in the Austrian NCP’s Terms of Reference (PDF, 164 KB). As a practical guide the Austrian National Contact Point provides the Complaints Procedure Guide (PDF, 4 MB).
The conciliation procedure offered by a National Contact Point supplies parties with a platform for constructive dialogue with stakeholders and thus the groundwork for joint long-term modification processes. The object of a complaints procedure is to develop a joint and long-term sustainable solution by way of an open and constructive dialogue between the parties involved and in this way contribute to the effective application of the OECD Guidelines.
Every individual and organisation is free to file a complaint with the Austrian National Contact Point (NCP) at the Austrian Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs regarding an alleged breach of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
As a rule, a complaint is handled by the NCP in whose country the alleged violation of the OECD Guidelines has taken place. If that country does not have a national contact point, the complaint must be filed with the NCP of the country in which the accused enterprise has its headquarters.
If the responsible NCP considers a further examination of the complaint to be appropriate it launches a mediation process which aims to mediate between the parties, critically assess the complaint and obtain an agreement between the parties. A complaint submitted to the Austrian National Contact Point will be concluded by the preparation of a final document to be published on the Austrian NCP’s web site. If the parties come to an agreement, a joint final statement will be prepared which includes the issues involved, the course of the procedure and the agreement achieved. If the parties substantially fail to reach an agreement or if the procedure is aborted due to the lack of participation on the part of either of the parties, the Austrian NCP will prepare a final comment.
The Austrian NCP takes all measures necessary to protect sensitive information. Confidential data and information, as well as business secrets are protected against disclosure beyond the conclusion of the proceedings. For further information see the Terms of Reference of the Austrian National Contact Point.
OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises". In addition, procedural provisions are provided in the
- Terms of Reference of the Austrian National Contact Point - English (PDF, 164 KB)
- Terms of Reference of the Austrian National Contact Point - French (PDF, 133 KB)
A template for submission of a complaint to the Austrian NCP can be obtained here:
The competent body for handling the complaint is the NCP of the country in which the alleged breach took place. If there is no NCP in this country, the complaint is to be addressed to the NCP of the country in which the enterprise is headquartered.
The Austrian NCP takes the necessary measures for the protection of sensitive data and information. Sensitive data and information as well as trade and business secrets shall also be protected upon termination of the proceeding.
The Austrian NCP has concluded the following five cases:
- Human rights and environmental issues in Laos - Complaint submitted on 09 Apr 2014
- Employment issues in Austria - Complaint submitted on 21 Jan 2014
- Employment issues in the pharmaceutical sector in Austria - Complaint submitted on 05 Feb 2008
- Manufacturing in Sri Lanka - Complaint submitted on 27 Mar 2006
- Mining activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo - Complaint submitted on 18 Nov 2004
A Steering Committee has been set up to assist the Austrian National Contact Point (NCP) in its activities, made up of representatives from other federal ministries, lobby groups and civil society, and an expert in amicable out-of-court dispute resolution.
The Steering Committee provides advice to the Austrian NCP in all matters regarding implementation of the OECD Guidelines, contributes to the preparation of the annual report to the OECD Investment Committee, fosters a broad dialogue on the Guidelines with all stakeholders involved, and submit proposals for further development of the Austrian NCP. For more information see the Terms of Reference of the Steering Committee (PDF, 201 KB) (pdf).
According to its Terms of Reference, the Steering Committee publishes a short and anonymised version of the minutes of every meeting on the homepage of the Austrian NCP.
In accordance with the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the Austrian NCP submits an annual report on its activities to the OECD Investment Committee. You can access all reports of the Austrian NCP via the following links:
The Austrian NCP also issues its own annual report for its stakeholders:
Peer review of the Austrian NCP
Voluntary peer reviews were added to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises in 2011. They are designed to improve application of the OECD Guidelines as well as the work of the National Contact Points.
The first peer review of the Austrian NCP commenced in the second half of 2017. To this end the Austrian NCP prepared information material and asked selected stakeholders for their feedback. The review team, consisting of representatives of the OECD Secretariat and of the National Contact Points of Germany, Finland and Sweden, made an on-site visit on 14 and 15 December 2017, assessing the level of awareness and reputation enjoyed by the Austrian NCP, its information material and its accessibility through eight panels with NCP staff and over 40 stakeholders.
The peer review was continued in 2018 and presented to the OECD Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct. Special praise was accorded to the Austrian NCP’s expert competence and the many activities pursued to increase awareness of the OECD Guidelines.
On 13 March 2019, the peer review of the Austrian NCP was adopted by the OECD Investment Committee. Altogether it included eight recommendations to further improve its work in the fields of “institutional arrangements”, “promotion of the Guidelines” and “specific instances”. At the meeting of the OECD Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct held in November 2019, the Austrian NCP reported on its implementation of the recommendations.
The peer review of the Austrian NCP was the subject of parliamentary question 3813/J of 2 July 2019, to which a response was given on 2 September 2019.
The Steering Committee of Austrian NCP welcomes the findings the Peer Review of the Austrian NCP in a comprehensive statement. See statement of the Steering Committee_de (PDF, 123 KB)