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OECD Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct

The mission of the OECD Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) is to advance the application of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct.

The OECD Guidelines are the most comprehensive international instrument for RBC covering all key areas of RBC. Moreover, the Working Party addresses matters relating to due diligence in responsible supply chains. The Working Party supports the OECD network of National Contact Points for RBC, which provide access to an out-of-court dispute resolution system.

51 countries are represented in the Working Party. In addition to the 38 OECD member states: Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Peru, Romania, Jordan, Ukraine, Uruguay and Kazakhstan and the European Union. The Working Party works closely with stakeholders from business, workers' organizations and civil society.

Since January 1, 2019 Christine Kaufmann is chair of the Working Party.

On July 13, 2021, European Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) have published a Guidance on due diligence to help EU companies to address the risk of forced labour in their operations and supply chains in line with international standards. The Guidance will enhance companies' capacity to eradicate forced labour from their value chains by providing concrete, practical advice on how to identify, prevent, mitigate and address its risk.


The observation that digital transformation is challenging some of the foundations of traditional international law and regulation also applies to Responsible Business Conduct (RBC). The article by Christine Kaufmann discusses the impacts of digitalisation on RBC and the relevant case law by OECD National Contact Points and shows that as a unique instrument of international law the Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises for RBC can play an important role in accommodating business as the key driver of digital transformation and in addressing the related risks on people, the environment and society. However, several shortcomings of the existing regulatory framework are identified, particularly with regard to the imbalance of state and business responsibilities and the challenges for adequate regulatory responses in a highly dynamic environment where developments are driven by the private sector. Therefore, a holistic approach, based on "RBC by Design" both in technology and regulation is suggested. Given the specific features and impacts of digitalisation RBC, such an approach would need to be of a hybrid nature by including a variety of actors and models of regulation beyond the state. To create a safe space for experimenting and testing new regulations and for mutual learning the article concludes with call for a new interface and for exploring a "regulatory sandbox" at the international level.

Article by Christine Kaufmann "Responsible Business in a Digital World – What’s International Law Got to Do With It?" (PDF, 241 KB) published in Heidelberg Journal for International Law, Switzerland.

The OECD e-learning Academy on Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) provides learners with a unique opportunity to advance their knowledge of responsible business conduct and OECD risk-based due diligence. 

Through the Essentials of OECD Due Diligence for RBC course, you will learn about:

  • International expectations on RBC and why business should care
  • Characteristics of the OECD due diligence approach include how it can be tailored to a company’s circumstances
  • Key elements of OECD risk-based due diligence include recommendations to prioritise risks and engage with stakeholders for effective due diligence.

The course is self-paced and includes short quizzes to assess your newly acquired knowledge. You may take approximately 2.5 hours to complete this course.

After successful completion of each course, learners will receive a certificate of completion. 

The courses can be completed here free of charge.

Following the successful launch of the OECD e-learning Academy on RBC last year, a new e-learning course for Garment and Footwear Supply Chains is now available to complement your learning from the Essentials of the OECD Due Diligence for RBC. It provides a deeper knowledge of the OECD risk-based due diligence in industry-specific supply chains. 

The new course is intended to deepen the knowledge of human rights, labour rights and environmental risks in the garment and footwear industry and to show how the OECD recommendations on due diligence can be implemented with regard to one's own business and supply chain.

You can sign up for the course here.

The 10th OECD Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct took place as a panel in hybrid format on the afternoon of 15 February 2023.

As part of the OECD RBC Week, the panel provided the opportunity to discuss the outcomes of the Ministerial Meeting on Responsible Business Conduct, taking place at the OECD Headquarters in Paris on 14-15 February 2023.

What Is the OECD Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct?

The Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct (GFRBC) is the annual flagship OECD event on RBC. Created in 2013 to debate the key global social and economic challenges related to RBC, the GFRBC has become the leading event for governments, businesses, trade unions and civil society to promote international dialogue on RBC and contribute to the effective implementation of the MNE Guidelines. The GFRBC remains an important opportunity to engage with high-level economic thinkers, industry thought-leaders as well as OECD members, and highlights the benefits of the multi-disciplinary approach to RBC led by the OECD Centre for RBC. The Forum positions the OECD as a strategic leader in defining what responsible business conduct means and how it can be scaled-up effectively. This event is also an opportunity to raise public awareness of the unique global implementation mechanism on RBC launched by the OECD – National Contact Points for RBC (NCPs) – that support access to remedy on a global scale by providing a platform for mediation and conciliation. Since 2000, NCPs for RBC have handled more than 500 cases, addressing impacts from business operations in over 100 countries and territories, linked to alleged corporate, social, environmental, labour or human rights abuses. This process can lead to remedy for victims and bring about significant changes in corporate conduct, thereby contributing to the prevention of future harms.

International voices shaping the debate

The GFRBC as a virtual event attracts up to 2 000 online participants from 130 countries, including representatives from 60 governments, including all 37 OECD Members. Last year, the 2020 GFRBC became the largest virtual OECD event. The Forum provides a space for policy shapers, industry leaders, and civil society champions to explore responsible business and human rights issues, including links to trade and investment policy, sustainable development, gender equality, new technologies, climate change, and the future of work. It highlights the OECD’s commitment on RBC and continued efforts to encourage critical thinking on sustainable global policy trends.

Find out more about the Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct and the past events here.

The 2023 edition of the OECD Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains took place on 24-28 April 2023 at the OECD Headquarters in Paris.

The Forum reflected longstanding and emerging priorities in fostering responsible mineral supply chains, with sessions spanning new conflict risks, corruption and environmental risks in mineral supply chains, drivers of responsible trade, and systemic issues like regulatory developments and taking responsible finance to scale. A key theme was on using due diligence to foster synergies between the objectives of a responsible and reliable supply of minerals critical to the energy transition.

Find out more about the Forum and responsible mineral supply chains here.

9th OECD Forum on Due Diligence in the Garment and Footwear Sector: 16-17 February 2023

The Forum reviewed the progress on the implementation of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains in the Garment and Footwear Sector to address emerging risks, and to share insights on implementing due diligence across geographies in a neutral environment. 

The Forum was organised in hybrid format with close to 400 participants in Paris and 1000 joining online. Representatives from governments, business, trade unions, international organisations, sustainability initiatives, academia and civil society shared their expertise and perspectives in eight panel discussions on a range of due diligence issues from increasing worker engagement in due diligence, to producer perspectives on due diligence legislation, to identifying risks in circular textile value chains.

In the opening session, Nazma Akter, a former child garment worker and now union leader and founder of a labour rights NGO in Bangladesh, urged participants to redress the power imbalances - between women and men, between workers and employers, and between suppliers and buyers-that are still a root cause of the social and labour rights challenges in the sector. She marked the tenth anniversary of the tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building and underlined the importance of the OECD Garment and Footwear Forum as a neutral space for critical reflection and the joint search for effective approaches and solutions. The Forum was increasingly diverse and inclusive of producer countries. More than half of the 40 speakers were female (55%), and voices were represented from across the value chain and geographies through speakers from Europe, the United States, Japan, China, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Viet Nam, and South Africa. The largest group of stakeholders present was business (37%), followed by governments and IOs (19%) and civil society (18%). Partners in Morocco and Viet Nam contributed to discussions through a local pre-Forum event in Casablanca, and the integration of a live panel from Hanoi in a Forum session. New and upcoming OECD tools to support company due diligence were featured at the Forum, including handbooks for businesses, policy notes on risk-based due diligence and sustainability initiatives, and practical assessment tools for initiatives and enterprises such as the new OECD Due Diligence Checker tool launched jointly with the German government. 

Further information on the 9th Forum on Due Diligence in the Garment and Footwear sector can be found here.

10th OECD Forum on Due Diligence in the Garment and Footwear Sector: 21-22 February 2024

The 10th OECD Forum on Due Diligence in the Garment and Footwear Sector will take place on 21-22 February 2024 at the OECD Conference Centre, Paris, and online. 


Further Information

Contact Information

Unit OECD, Sustainability: