One out of three business leaders say that their company is in need of guidance on how to implement corporate responsibility according to a survey conducted for the OECD National Contact Point Norway .

Approximately half state that they are involved in international activities, including headquarter or subsidiaries abroad, imports, exports or other foreign investments. The Norwegian government expects companies operating in or from Norway to follow the OECD Guidelines for responsible business conduct. The Guidelines include inter alia recommendations on how companies should address worker rights, environment, bribery and human rights.

Kamilla H. Kolshus - leader of the secretariat. (Photo: MFA)

The 2013 survey results show that awareness of the OECD Guidelines have increased significantly from 1 out of 10 in 2011 till 6 out of 10 in 2012 and 2013. The companies to a large extent have internal codes of conduct that cover important areas of the OECD Guidelines. For instance 9 out of 10 companies have codes that cover EHS and working conditions, whereas 6 out of 10 have codes covering human rights.

Want practical guidance

– Our last survey confirms that many companies have internal codes of conduct for instance on EHS and human rights, but 1 out of 3 states that there is a need for guidance on implementation in practice, says Head of Secretariat Kamilla H. Kolshus.

– Working well with corporate responsibility is demanding, and our experience is that even the best can make mistakes. It is not about guaranteeing that everything is in order in the company itself or in the supply chain at all times. Companies are expected to map risks and to show how they address these risks. Dialogue with employees and others that may be impacted by the company and with civil society that critically scrutinizes the company, is often advisable, supplements advisor Mari Bangstad.

The survey was conducted by Norstat in June 2013 and IPSOS MMI delivered the analysis. .

As an OECD member Norway is obliged to raise awareness about the OECD Guidelines for responsible business conduct and to establish a national contact point (NCP) to seek to solve issues on alleged violations of the Guidelines through dialogue and mediation. The Norwegian is appointed by the government upon recommendation from business (NHO), trade unions (LO) and civil society (ForUM). The NCP is in substance independent and administratively under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which employs the secretariat. 46 countries have an NCP.