The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises were updated in May 2011 and aim to develop a sustainable approach to business conduct and to promote mutual confidence between multinational enterprises and the communities in which they operate.
Companies operating in Australia and Australian companies operating overseas are expected to act in accordance with the principles set out in the Guidelines and to perform to — at minimum — the standards they suggest. The Guidelines are voluntary standards and as such their success and effectiveness depends on the responsibility and good faith of all parties involved with their promotion and implementation. While the Guidelines are voluntary, a complaint can be raised with a National Contact Point if a multinational enterprise is believed to have breached the Guidelines.
The Australian Government is committed to promoting the use of the Guidelines and their effective and consistent implementation. The common aim of the governments adhering to the Guidelines is to encourage the positive contributions that multinational enterprises can make to economic, environmental and social progress. Through business cooperation and support, the Guidelines can positively influence business conduct and, ultimately sustainable progress.
An important part of the Australian National Contact Point role is the promotion of the Guidelines to the business community, employee organisations, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders. Promoting appropriate business conduct by multinational enterprises is an important and growing challenge as their operations often straddle many countries and cultural, legal and regulatory environments.