National Contact Point for the Implementation of OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
The National Contact Point (NCP) was set up in the Czech Republic with the aim of implementing the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The NCP was established by Government Resolution No 779 of 16 October 2013 as a permanent working group within the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Recommendations for responsible business conduct in the global context
The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises contain a raft of recommendations concerning corporate social responsibility addressed by governments to multinational companies active in the international markets. The Guidelines were drafted by members of OECD in collaboration with representatives of employer and employee associations and the non—governmental sector. This is the most comprehensive instrument of its kind, and has currently been signed by 46 states and one international organisation. Compliance with the recommendations listed in the Guidelines is voluntary for enterprises and is not legally enforceable.
The Guidelines differ from other similar instruments particularly in that, as part of the implementation process, states have undertaken to set up "National Contact Points", the primary purpose of which is to:
- raise public awareness of the Guidelines, and
- facilitate the amicable settlement of cases involving an alleged violation of the Guidelines.
What is the aim of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises?
The main sources of international investment, which are the driving force behind the growth of the global economy, are multinational companies. The key benefits of multinational companies are evident in the form of job creation, the development of human potential, the efficient distribution of capital, transfers of technology and the knowledge and skills which contribute substantially to the economic development of both host and home states. Despite the undeniable positive role played by multinational companies in economic development, they face intensifying globalisation as well as concerns about the impact their activities have on the society in which they operate. In the 1970s OECD Member States that had long acknowledged that responsible conduct is a cornerstone of an open international investment climate, decided to draw up the OECD Guidelines as an instrument aimed at strengthening trust between multinational enterprises and society and thus enhancing the contribution made by multinational enterprises to sustainable development.
The Guidelines help multinational enterprises to prevent and avoid the adverse impact their activities have on society, through the introduction of minimum standards of conduct that multinational companies should follow, regardless of where they operate.
For whom are the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises intended?
These Guidelines are intended for multinational companies and OECD Member States, and hence other States which have acceded to them.
The Guidelines do not contain a precise definition of the term "multinational enterprise". Multinational enterprises are generally considered to be companies or other entities that are registered in more than one country and which are also interconnected in such a way that enables them to coordinate their activities. The Guidelines are intended for all entities that form part of a multinational enterprise, i.e. both parent companies and local entities, as well as all elements in the supply chain.
What areas are covered by the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises?
The various sections of the Guidelines focus specifically on: access to information, human rights, employment and labour relations, the environment, combating bribery and extortion, consumer interests, science and technological innovation, competition and taxes.
- Access to information — this chapter acknowledges that the provision of information and transparent conduct form the basis for building trust between enterprises and the public. Enterprises should therefore keep the public regularly updated well in advance, not only about their financial situation, but also about social and environmental issues and foreseeable risks associated with their activities.
- Human rights — on a practical level the enterprise’s activities may have an impact on the entire spectrum of internationally recognised human rights. This means that regardless of their size, the sector in which they operate, their property and structure, enterprises are expected to respect human rights. The Guidelines urge enterprises to apply due diligence in their activities, enabling them to identify any potential negative impact that their activities may have on human rights.
- Employment and labour relations — this chapter covers the key internationally recognised standards contained in the International Labour Organization documents, such as freedom of association and collective bargaining, the abolition of all forms of forced and child labour and the elimination of all forms of discrimination.
- The environment — the basic premise of the Guidelines is that enterprises should act as promptly and proactively as possible to prevent serious or irreparable damage to the environment caused by their activities. Enterprises should apply a sensible environmental management system that should cover activities aimed at controlling both the direct and indirect impact the enterprise has on the environment in the longer term and should include means of limiting pollution and managing sources of pollution.
- Combating bribery — enterprises should actively combat corruption and should never offer, promise, give or demand bribes.
- Consumer interests — in consumer rights, the emphasis is on the use of honest business, marketing and advertising practices and also on ensuring the quality and reliability of goods and services. This includes providing precise information about all products and services that are offered and ensuring proper protection of personal data.
- Science and technology — the aim is to promote the dissemination of the results of science and research.
- Competition — in order to protect competition the Guidelines calls upon enterprises to abide by the rules of fair competition and to carry out their activities in compliance with the laws of the countries in which they operate.
- Taxes — enterprises should fulfil their tax obligations, i.e. abide by the tax regulations, cooperate with the tax authorities and provide information needed by those authorities.
OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises: http://www.oecd.org/daf/inv/mne/48004323.pdf