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Evolution of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises form part of the 1976 OECD Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises, a policy commitment by adhering governments to provide an open and transparent environment for international investment and to encourage the positive contribution enterprises operating in a global context can make to economic and social progress.

The OECD Guidelines were first adopted in 1976 and have been reviewed five times since then to ensure that they remain a leading tool to promote responsible business conduct in the changing landscape of the global economy. The 2011 update of the OECD Guidelines took place with the active participation of business, labour, NGOs, non-adhering countries and international organizations.

During the last update in 2011, a human rights chapter, which is consistent with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, was integrated into the OECD Guidelines. This chapter, provides important criteria for enterprises on how to observe due diligence and prevent violations of human rights.

The last update also took a new and comprehensive approach to due diligence and responsible supply chain management. Enterprises should carry out risk-based due diligence to identify, prevent and mitigate actual and potential adverse impacts. This also includes activities along the supply chain. Relationships in the supply chain can take a variety of forms, including, for example, franchising, licensing or subcontracting. If the enterprise identifies a risk of causing an adverse impact along the supply chain, it should take the necessary steps to cease or prevent the impact.

OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (PDF, 1 MB)

In recent years, the OECD also developed Due Diligence Guidances for different sectors (mineral sector, agricultural sector, extractive sector, garment sector, financial sector) to give companies a practical tool for the implementation of the due diligence provisions of the OECD Guidelines.

On 31 May 2018 the OECD published its Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct. This constitutes another milestone for advancing due diligence along the supply chain. The Guidance is intended for use in all sectors by all companies and supplements the sector-specific Guidances.

Contact Information:

Mario Micelli
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