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8 Jun 2023

'Targeted update' of OECD Guidelines: civil soc says majority of updates strengthen authoritative global standard on responsible business conduct

On 8 June 2023, the OECD released a "targeted update" of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The Guidelines are continually updated to respond to social, environmental and technological priorities. The last review was in 2011.

OECD Watch welcomed the update, the majority of which they say strengthen the authoritative standard that is now also finding its way into law as more and more countries continue to develop mandatory due diligence legislation.

In particular, OECD Watch highlights 8 areas: climate change and environmental impacts; just transition; meaningful stakeholder engagement; marginalisation, vulnerability, and intersectionality; human rights defenders; respecting all value chain workers' rights; strengthened guidance on full value chain due diligence; and animal welfare. The update also outlines due diligence expectations on the development, financing, sale, licensing, trade and use of technology, including gathering and using data.

However, they did criticise that the update failed to raise requirements for improving the implementation of the Guidelines through the National Contact Point (NCP) mechanisms. More information is available below.