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Grievance system fails to hold corporates to account

Allegations of corporate wrongdoing over the past 15 years have almost never resulted in companies being held accountable, a new analysis of cases has found.

OECD Watch's Remedy Remains Rare examines 250 complaints brought by communities, individuals and organizations under the national contact point (NCP) system, a grievance mechanism established by OECD governments in 2000. The system aims to resolve disputes between companies and the victims of environmental, labour, and human rights violations, which include deaths, injuries, displacements, land and natural resource theft, corruption, intimidation and pollution.

“The complaint process has tremendous potential to help advance corporate responsibility, but it is currently failing in its mandate. Far too many complaints are rejected outright, and of those accepted, the vast majority do not result in outcomes that end corporate misconduct, provide victims with remedies for harms incurred, or bring about changes to corporate behaviour,” said Dr. Joseph Wilde-Ramsing, coordinator of OECD Watch, the global network of more than 100 civil society groups and non-governmental organisations.

As governments gather in Paris for the OECD Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct, OECD Watch is asking for a revision of the procedural guidance governing national contact points in order to bring about specific improvements to the way they execute their duties.

“We are calling on governments to strengthen their commitment to this system and to bolster its capacity,” Wilde-Ramsing added.

The network’s research found that the complaint system is often inaccessible for community groups due to procedures that add unnecessary complexity and expense. National contact points (NCP) often insist upon burdensome amounts of evidence and apply unreasonable standards of proof, even at early stages in the process. Also, many NCPs are viewed as lacking independence and impartiality, and operate without sufficient transparency, the report says.

Access the full study here.

Picture credit: © Bacho12345 | - Businessman On Meeting Is Commenting Document Photo

OECD Watch | Global | corporate reputation

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