Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Lawyers urge OECD changes

March 2010

A global lawyers' organization has said the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development should put new advice on ethical supply chain management, human rights and climate change into it Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

The International Bar Association (IBA), which is the global trade body for legal practitioners, has made the suggestion as part of a consultation with the OECD on future improvements to the guidelines.  

It recommends that whole new chapters on human rights and ethical supply chain management be written into the guidelines, and that both sections should state the sources of international human rights standards to be observed. It also calls on the OECD to undertake to implement any human rights framework suggested by John Ruggie, the United Nations special representative on business and human rights.

The IBA says the OECD would do well to adopt Ruggie's putative 'Protect, Respect and Remedy' framework, which would seek greater government intervention on business and human rights issues, plus the creation of  better grievance procedures for civil society victims of corporate misbehaviour.  

The IBA also recommends that the guidelines:

encourage multinationals to disclose human rights, climate change and corruption risks

incorporate the OECD's Risk Awareness Tool for Multinational Enterprises in Weak Governance Zones

ensure that the National Contact Point process, under which national governments examine alleged breaches of the guidelines, strives for 'greater independence, transparency, predictability and public awareness'.

The guidelines were last revised in 2000. A committee is reviewing the text, which is expected to be updated this year.

Morocco has signed up to the OECD Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises. The move commits  the North African country to supporting an open environment for international investors and encouraging responsible investment by multinational companies.

Organisation of Economic Co-operation & Development | Global | Standards

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