Increased knowledge of the OECD Guidelines for Responsible Business amongst Norwegian companies

The proportion of Norwegian business leaders in companies with international operations that is familiar with the OECD Guidelines has increased from one in ten in 2011 to six in ten in 2012.

The Norwegian NCP has actively spread awareness of the OECD Guidelines since the office was re-established in March 2011.

On the right track

– We see the increase as an indication that the NCP, along with others in this field, are on the right track in their efforts to make businesses aware of the OECD Guidelines as an aid to responsible operations, says head of secretariat Hege Røttingen.

In the present study, about half of business leaders (51 percent) have only heard about the guidelines, while one in ten has to some extent familiarized themselves with the Guidelines, and one in one hundred have good knowledge of the Guidelines. The complaint procedure for the Guidelines and the OECD NCP are less well known, but an improvement can be seen here as well. In 2011 roughly one in ten business leaders knew of the NCP. This year it has risen to over one in four (27 percent).

On the agenda for company union representatives

This year the NCP has also conducted similar surveys amongst company union representatives that are members of the executive board of Norwegian companies, as well as amongst civil society organizations and trade unions.

– Amongst union representatives, more than two in three know about the Guidelines, and 17 per cent know them well or fairly well. The feedback was particularly interested in safety and working conditions, environmental issues, and the monitoring of responsible operations with suppliers with their management. Many also wanted guidance on the use of the OECD Guidelines, states Røttingen.

Tool for dialogue

Among civil society organizations and trade unions, which submit most of the notifications, four in five are familiar with the OECD Guidelines. But few enter into dialogue about the Guidelines with companies.

– The preferred solution is if cases can be resolved through constructive dialogue before they develop into a complaint to the NCP. The NCP will always first offer dialogue towards a mutually acceptable solution with the NCP as a neutral facilitator. Whether dialog happens outside or within the NCP, the OECD Guidelines are a useful tool for specifying expectations of how companies can act responsibly, says Røttingen.

The surveys were designed and implemented in collaboration with Ipsos Norstat and MMI for the NCP.