[IRP] New OECD guidelines to protect human rights and social development

Katitza Rodriguez katitza
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 
Multinational Enterprises 
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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