Guidelines for multinational enterprises

Conducting Business with Integrity in Weak Governance Zones: Public Consultation April 2005


Download the Summary of the Consultations,
published in September 2005 [ English / français ]

Between September 2004 and April 2005, the OECD Investment Committee invited consultation partners to provide answers to a list of questions derived from analytical work that looks at some of the generic ethics issues raised by investments in weak governance zones and also contains a case study of investment in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The responses received are available below.

In its earlier work on corporate responsibility, the Committee has stressed the importance of an appropriate allocation of roles between the public and business sectors.  In some investment environments, public authorities are unwilling or unable to protect rights (including property rights) and to provide basic public services (e.g. social programmes, infrastructure development and prudential surveillance).  These “government failures” lead to broader failures in political, economic and civic institutions that the project refers to as “weak governance”.

The project on conducting business with integrity in weak governance zones furthers the Investment Committee’s goal of promoting policy environments that attract investment flows and that promote growth and development. The project is also part of the Committee’s work programme on implementation of the OECD Guidelines and follows up on issues raised by the United Nations Expert Panel Report on illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

While recognising the primary roles of public policy in host countries and of the international community in improving institutions, this project aims to answer the following central question: do companies have different roles and responsibilities when operating in weak governance zones than those they have in OECD and other healthier investment climates?  At the end of the consultation process, the Committee published a paper summarising and drawing lessons from the discussions [ English / français ]. 

OECD integrity instruments: Investment in weak governance zones poses many ethics issues (e.g. management of security forces).  Drawing on the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the recognised strength of the OECD in the integrity area, this document focuses on those issues about which the OECD integrity instruments can shed light.  These instruments include the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the Corporate Governance Principles, the Guidelines for Managing Conflict of Interest in the Public Sector, the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and the Revised Recommendation on Combating Bribery in International Business Practices.

Consultation questions: Consultation partners were asked to provide answers to a list of questions (WORD version, Questions for a Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue on Responsible Investment in Weak Governance Zones / version WORD en français, version PDF en français) derived from analytical work that looks at some of the generic ethics issues raised by investments in weak governance zones and also contains a case study of investment in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The following responses to this questionnaire were been received. Responses received prior to April 2005 were considered by the Committee.

  • BIAC
  • Edward Nathan Corporate Law Advisers 
  • De Beers
  • FAFO Institute for Applied International Studies
  • Georg Forrest International
  • Professor Asif Saeed, Economics Department, Government College University, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Great Lakes Commission
  • Institute for Democracy in South Africa
  • International Association of Oil and Gas Producers
  • Junior mining company with operations in the DRC
  • Rights and Accountability in Development
  • Samata India
  • SAP Nigeria Ltd
  • Transparency International Ireland

The conference on Alliances for Integrity – Government and Business Roles in Enhancing African Standards of Living which took place Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 7-8 March 2005 provided a further opportunity for consultation partners to comment on the work.

See also: