OECD launches updated Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct

The OECD today launched its newly updated Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct.

The Guidelines are the globally leading standard on responsible business conduct and widely applied in public policy and business practice. The Guidelines were last updated in 2011. The 2023 update responds to urgent social, environmental, and technological priorities facing societies and businesses.

“The NCP welcomes the updated guidelines and has provided input to the process. Important changes concern efforts to combat climate change and safeguard biodiversity. The OECD Guidelines will thus remain the leading guidelines for companies that want to act responsibly. The updates also reinforce the role of the National Contact Points and emphasize their importance in ensuring compliance.” – Frode Elgesem, Chair of the NCP

The updated Guidelines are available here.

Key changes include:

  • Recommendations for enterprises to align with internationally agreed goals on climate change and biodiversity
  • Introduction of due diligence expectations on the development, financing, sale, licensing, trade and use of technology, including gathering and using data
  • Recommendations on how enterprises are expected to conduct due diligence on impacts and business relationships related to the use of their products and services
  • Better protection for at-risk persons and groups, including those who raise concerns regarding the conduct of businesses
  • Updated recommendations on disclosure of responsible business conduct information
  • Expanded due diligence recommendations to all forms of corruption
  • Recommendations for enterprises to ensure lobbying activities are consistent with the Guidelines
  • Strengthened procedures to ensure the visibility, effectiveness, and functional equivalence of National Contact Points on Responsible Business Conduct

The requirement to perform human rights due diligence in the Transparency Act is based on the OECD Guidelines. The OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct is now reflected in Chapter 2 of the updated Guidelines. A Norwegian translation of the updated Guidelines will be prepared, and the NCP will provide more detailed information about what is new in the Guidelines.

Media enquiries should be directed to Frode Elgesem, chair of the NCP, via phone: + 47 416 96 089.

About the OECD Guidelines

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct (the Guidelines) are recommendations jointly addressed by governments to multinational enterprises to enhance the business contribution to sustainable development and address adverse impacts of business on people, planet and society. The Guidelines are supported by a unique implementation mechanism, the National Contact Points for Responsible Business Conduct (NCPs), established by governments to further the effectiveness of the Guidelines.

The update of the Guidelines was agreed by the 51 countries that adhere to the Guidelines, including both OECD members and non-members accounting for two-thirds of global trade and investment. The update benefitted from close involvement of the institutional stakeholders Business at OECD, the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD, and OECD Watch, representing the views of millions of businesses, workers, and civil society members globally. The process also included two public consultations open to interested stakeholders from all countries.