Investment policy

Harnessing investment for sustainable development


Foreign direct investment (FDI) is crucial for building back better from the COVID-19 crisis and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). FDI can enhance growth and innovation, create quality jobs and develop human capital, including for women, and raise living standards and environmental sustainability. By linking domestic firms to multinational enterprises, it serves as a conduit for domestic firms to access international markets and integrate in global value chains.

Realising the potential benefits from FDI is not a given: among countries receiving FDI, some have benefited more than others and, within countries, some segments of the population have been left behind. While, in principle, FDI has the potential to advance sustainable development, private sector incentives and both home and host country policies require careful consideration.

The OECD advises governments and business on actions they can take to ensure that the sustainability benefits of investment are fully realised. We advocate open, transparent, and rules-based policy frameworks for investment to ensure that countries achieve their full potential for attracting and retaining investment. We seek to maximise sustainability benefits of investment in recipient countries by:

  • conducting country and regional investment policy reviews based on the Policy Framework for Investment

  • promoting the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and associated Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct

  • work on the impact and qualities of FDI

We support policy dialogue on the SDGs and identify opportunities and challenges through our regular monitoring and analysis of business investment trends in both OECD and developing countries.


The OECD FDI Qualities Initiative provides advice on how governments can enhance FDI’s contribution to achieving the SDGs. We engage in policy dialogue and stakeholder consultations with development partners, international organisations, businesses and civil society, through the high-level OECD Roundtable on Investment and Sustainable Development and our FDI Qualities Policy Network at the technical level. The initiative is supported by OECD Ambassadors of Finland, Netherlands and Switzerland and partners from selected OECD and developing countries.

Download the factsheet
FDI Qualities Policy Toolkit

Scheduled for completion in 2022, the FDI Qualities Policy Toolkit will provide guidance on policy mix and institutional arrangement to maximise FDI transmission on sustainable development in the four SDG-based clusters, focusing on the nexus of general approaches of the Policy Framework for Investment with more specific policies in each of the clusters.

A draft FDI Qualities Policy Toolkit Consultation Paper was discussed at the FDI Qualities Policy Network meeting on 31 March 2021. This draft was then made available for public consultation throughout April/May 2021. Comments received will contribute to further discussions and finalisation of the Toolkit.



Documents and links

FDI Qualities Initiative factsheet

FDI Qualities Policy Toolkit Consultation Paper

Policy Framework for Investment

Country investment policy reviews

OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct

Foreign Direct Investment data, analysis and forecasts

The contribution of international business investment to the SDGs 2019

Trends in FDI and their implications for development, OECD Development Co-operation Report 2016 l version française


CONTACT Martin Wermelinger |


FDI Qualities Indicators

FDI qualities report 2019 250x355‌The FDI Qualities Indicators measure the sustainable development impacts of FDI in host countries. These new metrics focus on four clusters derived from the 17 SDGs:

  • productivity and innovation
  • employment, job quality and skills
  • gender equality
  • the low-carbon transition

Download the indicators

FDI Qualities Policy Network

The OECD has established a dedicated multi-stakeholderpolicy network to support and provide guidance to the FDI Qualities initiative, through policy dialogue and technical discussions on project activities. The network includes government officials from investment, development and other related policy communities from OECD and partner countries; representatives from the private sector and civil society; and experts from the OECD, other international organisations and academia. BIAC, TUAC and OECD Watch are important partners in the network. 

Download the agenda and summary from the 5th network meeting which took place on 31 March 2021.








Co-funded by the
European Union‌



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