OECD Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct: 2023 Revisions and the “Specific Instance” Grievance Mechanism

7 September 2023
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Key Takeaways:
  • On June 8, 2023, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (“OECD”) published revised Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct (the “Guidelines”). The Guidelines are non-binding recommendations for responsible business conduct, including on human rights, environment, bribery, consumer interest, competition, and taxation.
  • Certain of these revisions concern the “specific instance” non-judicial grievance mechanisms established by each OECD member state to address any alleged non-observance of the Guidelines. These mechanisms are administered by an agency or official designated in each member state as a National Contact Point (“NCP”).
  • Complaints made to NCPs have been steadily increasing, with more than 650 cases globally handled to date.
  • While participation in the specific instance process is voluntary, multinational enterprises that receive grievances may find it beneficial to engage proactively with the issues raised and present their case. Enterprises should assess any impact on parallel arbitration or litigation proceedings, take steps to protect sensitive information, and consider the relevant NCP’s case-handling experience and procedures.