Guidelines for multinational enterprises

OECD Roundtable on Corporate Responsibility: Consumer empowerment and responsible business conduct


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15 June 2009 - OECD Conference Centre, Paris, France

Every year, in conjunction with the Annual Meeting for National Contact Points , the OECD holds a roundtable on corporate responsibility addressing emerging issues and new developments. This year’s event took place in the midst of a global reflection on the foundations of the international economic system and the role that enterprises and other actors could play in restoring the world economy and gearing it towards a sustainable path.


The OECD Guidelines are the sole public corporate responsibility instrument to define, in its Chapter VII, what constitutes responsible business conduct towards consumers. But it is also one of its less known or utilised chapters. It is common knowledge that the interests of corporations and consumers are closely linked and that they are both important actors in international markets. They have also in recent years become more conscious of the challenge of achieving sustainable development.

The 2009 roundtable thus focused on the responsibilities of multinational companies toward consumers and how consumers can encourage multinational enterprises to live up to the recommendations of the OECD Guidelines. Its main objectives were to:

  • assess the recent evolution of consumer concerns and their impact on business conduct worldwide
  • determine how multinational enterprises integrate consumers’ interests into their operations and how they encourage consumers to act more responsibly towards society with due regard to their particular needs and culture
  • discuss the reliability of the information provided to consumers (and their perception) about the health, safety and sustainability about the products they consume
  • discuss the pros and cons of different policies and instruments to promote responsible business conduct and raise consumer confidence and the role of the OECD Guidelines


  • Summary of the discussion
  • Draft programme (also available in French) 
  • Background paper: Business and climate change: An MNE guidelines perspective (Céline Kauffmann and Cristina Tébar Less OECD Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs, Investment Division)
  • Background paper: The role of consumers and corporations in tackling climate change (Ethical Investment Research Services (EIRIS)
  • Opening Remarks by OECD Deputy-Secretary General Aart de Geus
  • Keynote Address by Samuel Ochieng, President, Consumers International
  • Keynote Remarks by Nancy Nord, Commissioner, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Plenary Session One: What consumers expect of responsible business conduct

Tom Ewart, Managing Director, Research Network on Business Sustainability, Canada

What sustainability attributes drive consumer behaviour?

Michael Kuhndt, Head, UNEP/Wuppertal Institute Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production, Germany

Sustainable Consumption and Production: What is the evidence of a growing demand for more sustainable products?

Nguyen Dinh Tai, Director, Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), Vietnam

Consumer Protection in Vietnam

Pradeep S. Mehta, Secretary-General, CUTS International, India

Consumers’ interest in developed & developing markets: implications for responsible business

Plenary Session Two: The business response

Cheryl Hicks, Manager, World Business Council for Sustainable Development            

Sustainable consumption facts and trends - From a business perspective    

Colin Hensley, General Manager, Corporate Affairs & Planning Division, Toyota Motor Europe

Challenges multinational corporations face in protecting consumers along the supply chain

Alison Smith, Associate Director, Procter & Gamble Company

Delivering consumer delight…

Uwe Bergmann, Head, CSR and Sustainability Steering, Henkel

Offering Consumer-Relevant Solutions and Influencing Consumer Choices

Parallel Session 1: The supply chain challenge

Marcello Manca, Vice President and General Manager, Underwriters Laboratories Environment Inc.               

The European product safety system and the supply chain                                                                 

Dirk Meijer, Chief Executive of Prosafe, the European Coordination Point on Market Surveillance on Consumer Product Safety

International Cooperation in Market Surveillance                         

Parallel Session 2: Energy consumption and climate change:  How consumers can make a difference

Stephen Hine, Head of Responsible Investment Development, (EIRIS)         

The role of consumers and corporates in tackling climate change            

Céline Kauffmann, Economist, OECD Investment Division

Business and climate change – An MNE Guidelines perspective

Bjarne Pedersen, Director of Operations,

Consumers International

Consumers and climate change

Jürgen Sturm, Secretary-General, European Lamp Companies Federation

The Supporting Role of Business               

Michèle Pappalardo, General Commissioner, Grenelle de l’Environnement                          

Consommation d’énergie et changement climatique : Comment les consommateurpeuvent-ils faire la différence ? Le rôle de soutien du gouvernement Comment les consommateurs peuvent-ils faire la différence ?             

Parallel Session 3: Protecting and educating consumers in the financial sector

Brian Branch, Executive Vice

President and Chief Operating Officer,

The World Council of Credit Unions 

Protecting and Educating Consumers in the Financial Sector

Bruno Levesque, OECD Financial Affairs


OECD programme on financial education

Udo Reifner, Head of the Institute for

Financial Services, Germany                                      

Responsible lenders and responsible consumers

Plenary Session Three: The supporting role of the OECD Guidelines

Christian Thorun, ISO Working Group on

Social Responsibility,

Federation of German Consumer Organisations

The Role of International Standards      

Gordan Renouf, General Manager,

Policy and Campaigns, CHOICE, Australia

Responding to consumer aspirations         


For further information, please contact:

Ms. Marie-France Houde ([email protected])
Ms. Magdalena Olczak-Rancitelli ([email protected])
Ms. Andria Dodds ([email protected])


Further reading




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