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Remedy Remains Rare: An analysis of 15 years of NCP cases and their contribution to improve access to remedy for victims of corporate misconduct

By: OECD Watch

National Contact Points (NCPs) were established to promote adherence to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (the Guidelines). In 2000, these statebased offices began accepting complaints from people harmed by companies’ noncompliance with the Guidelines. With this new role, NCPs acquired the potential to serve as a much-needed forum for accessing remedy for corporate abuses.

Now, 15 years on, we look back on NCP performance in handling these complaints. The evidence shows that there are very few examples of complaints leading to beneficial results that provided some measure of remedy, and most of these encompass only forward-looking corporate policy changes. These policy changes– if genuinely implemented – bring with them a potential for prevention of future harms related to a company’s activities. However, the overwhelming majority of complaints have failed to bring an end to corporate misconduct or provide remedy for past or on-going abuses, leaving complainants in the same or worse position as they were in before they filed their complaint.

These findings, based on a quantitative and qualitative analysis of 250 complaints filed by communities, individuals and NGOs, have critical implications for the NCP system. Positive outcomes of complaint handling are one of the most salient indicators of an NCP’s success in contributing to Guidelines implementation, yet the conclusions of this report indicate that, in most cases, NCPs are not achieving their central objective, which is to “further the effectiveness of the Guidelines.”