Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the OECD On Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Paris, France
May 25, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Next, we turn to the OECD New Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. For over 35 years, these guidelines have occupied a unique space within the world of corporate social responsibility. They are the only ones formally endorsed by governments, 42 at last count. And they do bring together labor, civil society, and business to create the broadest possible consensus behind them. This is truly the work of a global policy network in action.

This year’s updated guidelines include an important new chapter on human rights, drawing on the work of UN Special Representative John Ruggie. These guidelines help companies ensure their dealings with third parties do not cause or contribute to human rights violations.

And let me now invite those who will be formalizing this very important step forward, because after all, if you look at these guidelines, they will be helping us determine how supply chains can be changed so that it can begin to prevent and eliminate abuses and violence. We’re going to look at new strategies that will seek to make our case to companies that due diligence, while not always easy, are absolutely essential. And I think now we can turn to the people that will represent this new commitment. I’d like to invite Joris Oldenziel, Rich Trumka, and Charles Heeter to join us on stage. Each represents business, labor, or civil society, and they’ve all made important contributions.

And I was particularly pleased to see a recommendation that businesses act as partners in promoting a free and open internet. We’ve seen the results of what happens when we see repression being exercised on the internet, so this is a very big step forward.

The countries adhering to the Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises are all OECD members, plus Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Latvia, Lithuania, Morocco, Peru, and Romania, adopting the amended Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

The OECD Council now adopts the amended decision on the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. And here I note that Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Latvia, Lithuania, Morocco, Peru, and Romania adhere to this decision.

Next, moving to the adoption of the Recommendation on Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas, the OECD Council adopts the recommendation, and I note that Argentina, Brazil, Latvia, Lithuania, Morocco, Peru, and Romania adhere to this recommendation. And Brazil has made a statement which will be included in the summary record and in the final text of the recommendation.

Each of these agreements reflects a great deal of consensus-building and hard work, and I think we should be especially grateful to those who are standing here on the stage. I think we all look forward to working closely with you and others committed to raising standards for corporate social responsibility, just as we have done today.

Thank you very, very much. (Applause.)

PRN: 2011/T47-08