2011 Update of the Guidelines
In 2010 and 2011 the countries adhering to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, together with business, trade unions and NGOs have started work on the update of the OECD Guidelines. On May 25 2011 the updated OECD Guidelines have been adopted at the Ministerial Meeting on the auspices of US Secretary of State Clinton.
The text of the updated 2011 OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises can be found in the following languages:Spanish
Calls for an update of this instruments were already raised by OECD Watch in June 2009 and were picked by the OECD in the months thereafter. Following agreement on the terms of reference, the update of the OECD Guidelines was launched in June 2010 at the occasion of the Annual Meeting of NCPs and the OECD's Roundtable on corporate responsibility where discussions centered on issues of supply chains, human rights and environment/climate change.
OECD Watch statement on the update
OECD Watch participated in the advisory group to the chair of the update of the OECD Guidelines and critically followed the process. OECD Watch has clarified its position regarding the update of the OECD Guidelines in a press release and statement.
OECD Watch welcomes the changes to the OECD Guidelines that confirm and broaden the scope of the instrument to the global activities and all business relationships of MNEs. The new text introduces valuable provisions on human rights, workers and wages, and climate change. It establishes that enterprises should avoid causing or contributing to adverse impacts through their own activities or through business relationships, and it recommends that companies exercise due diligence to ensure they live up to their responsibilities.
However, despite references to impartiality and equal treatment, the changes to the implementation procedures, which should be the cornerstone of the Guidelines, fall far short of what is needed to ensure that they are an effective and credible instrument. The update missed a once-in-a-decade opportunity to provide for a system capable of ensuring observance through investigative powers and the ability to impose some kind of sanction when the Guidelines are breached. In the absence of minimum standards to ensure that the Guidelines are consistently applied, it will be up to National Contact Points to step up to the plate and demonstrate their commitment and ability to resolve disputes and help provide remedies for those adversely affected by corporate misconduct. OECD Watch will continue to seek and advocate for instruments and mechanisms that effectively enforce corporate accountability and curb corporate abuses.