[IRP] New OECD guidelines to protect human rights and social development
Wed Jun 1 18:05:26 EEST 2011
5/05/2011 - Ministers from OECD and developing economies will today
agree new guidelines to promote more responsible business conduct by
multinational enterprises, and a second set of guidance to limit the use
of conflict minerals.
Forty-two countries will commit to new, tougher standards of corporate
behaviour in the updated Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises: the
34 OECD countries plus Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Latvia, Lithuania,
Morocco, Peru and Romania. The updated Guidelines include new
recommendations on human rights abuse and company responsibility for
their supply chains, making them the first inter-governmental agreement
in this area.
The Guidelines establish that firms should respect human rights in every
country in which they operate. Companies should also respect
environmental and labour standards, for example, and have appropriate
due diligence processes in place to ensure this happens. These include
issues such as paying decent wages, combating bribe solicitation and
extortion, and the promotion of sustainable consumption.
The Guidelines are a comprehensive, non-binding code of conduct that
OECD member countries and others have agreed to promote among the
business sector. A new, tougher process for complaints and mediation has
also been put in place.
"The business community shares responsibility for restoring growth and
trust in markets," said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurr?a. "These
guidelines will help the private sector grow their businesses
responsibly by promoting human rights and boosting social development
around the world."
Ministers from adhering countries will also agree to a Recommendation
designed to combat the illicit trade in minerals that finance armed
Illegal exploitation of natural resources in fragile African states has
been fueling conflict across the region for decades. While data is
scarce, it is estimated that up to 80% of minerals in some of the
worst-affected zones may be smuggled out. The illegal trade stokes
conflict, boosts crime and corruption, finances international terrorism
and blocks economic and social development.
The Recommendation clarifies how companies can identify and better
manage risks throughout the supply chain, from local exporters and
mineral processors to the manufacturing and brand-name companies that
use these minerals in their products.
The OECD and emerging economies worked closely with business, trade
unions and non-governmental organisations to produce both sets of
For further information or comment on conflict minerals
journalists should contact Lahra Liberti <mailto:lahra.liberti at oecd.org>
of the OECD's Investment Division (tel. + 33 1 45 24 79 47).
For further information or comment on the OECD Guidelines for
journalists should contact Kathryn Gordon
<mailto:kathryn.gordon at oecd.org> of the OECD's Investment Division (tel.
+ 33 1 45 24 98 42).
Read the remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton here
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