Guidelines for multinational enterprises

OECD-China Symposium on Government Approaches to Encouraging Responsible Business Conduct

 

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26-27 June 2008, OECD Conference Centre, Paris, France

To support China’s efforts to encourage responsible business conduct, this multi-stakeholder symposium,  organised with the Chinese government under the auspices of the OECD’s Investment Committee, brought together Chinese and OECD government, business, labour, civil society and other stakeholders to reach a common understanding of the tasks ahead and to propose next steps in co-operation to fulfil them.

All countries are facing the challenges of promoting sustainable development and conditions which facilitate responsible conduct on the part of business. As the world economy becomes more integrated, OECD countries, together with China and other emerging countries, have a shared responsibility to meet these challenges. OECD countries have taken steps to do this, including the adoption of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises to ensure that their companies work in harmony with the local societies everywhere they operate.

 

Improved conduct by businesses operating in China can help address domestic challenges, including environmental pollution and occupational health and safety. It can also support China’s export industries by helping to relieve concerns of international consumers, such as those over product safety. Responsible business conduct (RBC) can facilitate sustainable overseas investment by Chinese enterprises. Policies to encourage RBC can produce both tangible and intangible net benefits for Chinese enterprises, including order retention, reduced staff turnover, increased productivity and improved product quality.

 

The Chinese government is strongly encouraging companies to adhere to high standards of responsible business conduct (RBC). At the same time, it is developing framework conditions to enable RBC in China, including putting in place a series of measures to ensure disclosure by enterprises of both financial and non-financial information, enacting laws to protect the rights of workers and taking measures to protect the environment. The Chinese government is striving to ensure corporate compliance with laws relating to RBC in China and is also promoting RBC in overseas operations of Chinese enterprises. China has signed and ratified international agreements relevant to promoting RBC, including United Nations and some core ILO conventions. Chinese companies are seeking to learn about RBC standards and Chinese suppliers are working with OECD-based and other foreign enterprises to improve corporate conduct.The symposium will discuss a background report that outlines China’s recent progress in encouraging responsible business conduct (RBC), examines remaining challenges and offers proposals for advancing work in this area.

Stakeholders will include Chinese and OECD government, business, labour and civil society representatives.

 

The symposium was immediately followed by an OECD-China Seminar on Responsible Environmental Conduct during the afternoon of 27 June 2008.

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