New partnership to help multinational companies operate responsibly

Companies worldwide will be given greater guidance and support on how to conduct their business responsibly and report on their sustainability performance thanks to a partnership between the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The partnership, announced today (Monday 13 December 2010), will help companies make greater use of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the GRI Sustainability Reporting Framework, bringing increased coherence and consistency to their efforts to act more responsibly and be more transparent about their sustainability.

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are the most comprehensive corporate responsibility instrument developed by governments in existence today. They cover all major areas of business ethics and are addressed to all the activities of multinational enterprises operating in or from the 42 adhering countries. The OECD Guidelines also have a unique implementation mechanism to address issues arising from their non-observance.

GRI provides the world’s most widely-used framework for producing sustainability reports. The GRI Sustainability Reporting Framework enables large and small companies, non-profit organizations and government bodies worldwide to assess their sustainability and disclose the results. Transparency through reporting on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors drives the sustainability of individual organizations and, ultimately, the global economy. GRI’s key goal is to make sustainability reporting mainstream.

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the GRI Sustainability Reporting Framework are based on and promote the same internationally agreed standards and principles for responsible business conduct, including social and human rights and economic and environmental matters. The GRI Sustainability Reporting Framework provides guidance on how to measure sustainability performance and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises a benchmark to assess such performance.

Today’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aims to establish a three year program to encourage companies to use both the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the GRI Sustainability Reporting Framework. The MoU also outlines the way GRI and OECD can work together to make use of the synergies between the two instruments and strengthen cooperation in other common areas of mutual interest.

Mervyn King, Chairman of the Global Reporting Initiative’s Board of Directors, said: “We welcome today’s step forward in our work with OECD. GRI’s mission is to mainstream ESG reporting worldwide. By working with OECD, we can help responsible multinational enterprises lead the way to a sustainable future.”

Richard Boucher, OECD Deputy-Secretary General, concurred: “This MoU not only attests to the excellent co-operation that already exists between the OECD and the GRI but also to a common determination to assist enterprises to become more responsible corporate citizens.”

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