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8 Jun 2023


2023 update of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct

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 associated with business activities 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.

Since their introduction in 1976, the Guidelines have been continuously updated to remain fit for purpose in light of societal challenges and the evolving context for international business. The 2023 update reflects a decade of experience since their last review in 2011 and responds to urgent social, environmental, and technological priorities facing societies and businesses.

Key updates

The updated Guidelines were released on 8 June within the context of the 2023 OECD Ministerial Council Meeting. Key updates include:

  • Recommendations for enterprises to align with internationally agreed goals on climate change and biodiversity
  • Inclusion 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 for Responsible Business Conduct

The updated Guidelines will also serve to support the ambition set out in the Declaration on Promoting and Enabling Responsible Business Conduct in the Global Economy adopted at the 14-15 February 2023 Ministerial meeting on Responsible Business Conduct.

Update process

In June 2022, the OECD Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct (WPRBC) began working towards a targeted update of the Guidelines and related texts to advance their uptake and promotion, as well as to ensure they remain fit for purpose. The targeted update was guided by a set of parameters set out by the WPRBC, including:

  • excluding wholesale revision of the Guidelines or a full redrafting of existing chapters
  • focusing on issues raised in the stocktaking exercise and current understanding and practice by Adherents
  • reflecting the criteria of (i) ensuring coherence with OECD priorities and standards; (ii) enhancing the OECD’s leadership on RBC; (iii) building on achievements and strengths; and (iv) ensuring focus and proportionality.