OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are a set of recommendations directed from governments to businesses that are intended to provide businesses with a framework for operating internationally in a socially responsible manner. The Guidelines are a part of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises. They are a set of voluntary guidelines aiming to ensure that businesses operate in a legal manner that builds mutual trust and confidence between businesses and the countries in which they operate.


Goal: The goal of the Guidelines is to […] ensure that the operations of […] enterprises are in harmony with government policies, to strengthen the basis of mutual confidence between enterprises and the societies in which they operate, to help improve the foreign investment climate and to enhance the contribution of sustainable development made by multinational enterprises.


Relevant Clauses [1]


II. General Policies

Enterprises should take fully into account established policies in the countries in which they operate and consider the views of other stakeholders.  […] enterprises should:

1. Contribute to economic, social and environmental progress with a view to achieving sustainable development.

2. Respect the human rights of those affected by their activities […]

5. Refrain from seeking or accepting exemptions […] related to environmental, health, safety, labour, taxation, financial incentives, or other issues.

10. Encourage, where practicable, business partners, including suppliers and sub-contractors, to apply principles of corporate conduct compatible with the Guidelines.

11. Abstain from any improper involvement in local political activities.


IV. Employment and Industrial Relations

Enterprises should, within the framework of applicable law, regulations and prevailing labour relations and employment practices:

1. a) Respect the right of their employees to be represented by trade unions […] and engage in constructive negotiations […]

    b) Contribute to the effective abolition of child labour.

    c) Contribute to the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour.

    d) Not discriminate against their employees with respect to employment or occupation on such groups as race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin […]

4. b) Take adequate steps to ensure occupational health and safety in their operations.


V. Environment

Enterprises should take due account of the need to protect the environment, public health and safety, and generally conduct their activities in a manner contributing to the wider goal of sustainable development. In particular, enterprises should:

2. a) provide the public and employees with adequate and timely information on the potential environment, health and safety impacts of the activities of the enterprise […]

   b) engage in adequate and timely communication and consultation with the communities directly affected by the environmental, health and safety policies of the enterprise and by their implementation.


VI. Combating Bribery

Enterprises should not, directly or indirectly, offer, promise, give, or demand a bribe or other undue advantage to obtain or retain business or other improper advantage.  Nor should enterprises be solicited or expected to render a bribe or other undue advantage […]


VII. Consumer Interests

When dealing with consumers, enterprises should act in accordance with fair business, marketing and advertising practices and should take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety and quality of the goods or services they provide.  In particular they should:

1. Ensure that the goods or services they provide meet all agreed or legally required standards for consumer health and safety, including health warnings and product safety and information labels.

4. Not make representations or omissions, nor engage in any other practices that are deceptive, misleading, fraudulent, or unfair.


IX. Competition

Enterprises should, within the framework of applicable laws and regulations, conduct their activities in a competitive manner.  In particular, enterprises should:

1. Refrain from entering into or carrying out anti-competitive agreements among competitors […]

2. Conduct all of their activities in a manner consistent with all applicable competition laws […]


X. Taxation

It is important that enterprises contribute to the public finances of host countries by making timely payment of their tax liabilities.  In particular, enterprises should comply with the tax laws and regulations in all countries in which they operate and should exert every effort to act in accordance with both the letter and spirit of those laws and regulations.


[1]Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2011). OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Renetrieved October 14, 2015, from OECD: http://mneguidelines.oecd.org/text/