HC Deb 08 July 2003 vol 408 c748W
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the OECD guidelines for multilateral enterprises are; and what the Government's policy is on these guidelines. [124373]

Mr. Mike O'Brien

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises ("the Guidelines") are recommendations addressed by adhering countries to multi-national enterprises. They represent a framework of principles of good conduct for multi-national companies in their business activities, designed to help ensure that they act in harmony with the policies of the countries in which they operate and that they consider the views of other stakeholders (for example in respect of social and environmental issues). The Guidelines aim to promote and develop a sustainable approach to business conduct and to build an atmosphere of confidence and predictability between business, labour, governments and society as a whole. It is intended that companies use the Guidelines as a benchmark when developing their own codes of conduct and should be seen as a minimum required standard of behaviour. Further information can be obtained from www.oecd.org

The Government supports the OECD Guidelines, which are an integral part of the Government's policy towards Corporate Social Responsibility. There are expectations of business, in respect of environmental and social responsibility and in high standards of corporate governance, wherever they operate. The Guidelines can have a positive impact on the contribution by businesses in these areas.