1) Promote Awareness and Encourage Implementation of the Guidelines
The USNCP is committed to its obligation to further the effectiveness of the Guidelines by undertaking promotional activities to raise awareness of the Guidelines among diverse stakeholders, including representatives of business, labor unions, NGOs, the general public, academia, and international organizations.
The USNCP offers itself as a resource to all of the above stakeholders, as well as to U.S. government agencies and U.S. embassies around the world. The USNCP welcomes the opportunity to meet with groups or individuals and to speak at internal meetings and public conferences, including in academic settings. The USNCP is available to participate in person, by video conference or by other means. Please contact the USNCP at USNCP@state.gov with any questions.
Have a good story to tell about implementing the Guidelines? Please email the USNCP about it!
2) Facilitate Practical Application of the Guidelines – the “Proactive Agenda”
The May 2011 update of the Guidelines included a provision that the OECD, adhering governments, and stakeholders would work together on a proactive agenda. The objective is for all partners to "look over the horizon" at potential challenges and, on a demand driven basis, collaborate on devising solutions, consistent with the principles of the Guidelines, to support MNE efforts to address challenges at an early stage.
In contrast with Specific Instances, which often retrospectively address issues arising out of the behavior of specific enterprises, the proactive agenda is intended to prospectively encourage responsible behavior by enterprises through constructive collaboration with stakeholders with the aim of reducing the number of future Specific Instances on those topics.
The Guidelines call on NCPs to maintain regular contact with stakeholders in order to:
3) Offer Specific Instance Mediation
As a part of its core function, the USNCP addresses issues relating to implementation of the Guidelines, raised in the form of a Specific Instance, with regards to the business conduct of an enterprise operating or headquartered in the United States. The office of the USNCP handles such Specific Instances in accordance with its procedures, which are based on the OECD Guidelines, the Procedural Guidance for NCPs and the Commentary on the Procedural Guidance for NCPs.
In this work stream, the USNCP’s primary function is to assist affected parties, when appropriate, in their efforts to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution through the offer of mediation services. The USNCP does not make a determination as to whether the enterprise that is subject to the Specific Instance has acted consistently with the Guidelines nor does the USNCP have legal authority to investigate, prosecute or adjudicate issues submitted under this process.
Acceptance of the Specific Instance is in no way an acknowledgement of or determination on the merits of the claims presented, but merely an offer to facilitate neutral, third-party mediation or conciliation to assist the parties in voluntary, confidential and good faith efforts to reach a cooperative resolution of their concerns. Entering into such mediation or conciliation in no way implies that the parties will reach agreement. In mediation, the parties are responsible for arriving at their own solution, and the process is designed to create an environment for cooperative problem solving between the parties.
Melike Yetken, Larry Memmott, and Alan Krill comprise the Office of the USNCP in the Economic and Business Affairs Bureau at the State Department.
The Office of the USNCP also consults with a broader Interagency Working Group (IWG) of U.S. government experts through, which includes but is not limited to representatives from the Department of Commerce, the Department of Labor, the Department of the Treasury, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The working group also includes Department of State officials from the Office of the Legal Adviser; the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor; the Bureau of Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs; regional country desk officers; and officers at U.S. missions abroad, as appropriate. The USNCP Office also frequently meets with other NCPs to share experiences and encourage best practices internationally.
The USNCP Office is impartial and equitable when handling a complaint. The USNCP Office will prioritize transparency, set and follow timelines, follow predictable procedures, and make itself visible and accessible to stakeholders.
The USNCP will contribute to resolving issues that arise in relation to the implementation of the Guidelines. It will operate in an efficient manner and in accordance with applicable law, the standards in the Guidelines and the following principles:
Stakeholder Advisory Board: In January, 2012, the State Department established a Stakeholder Advisory Board (SAB), whose function is to provide recommendations on implementation of the OECD Guidelines, including their public promotion, collaboration between the USNCP and stakeholders to anticipate and address future challenges in a proactive manner, and the operations of the USNCP. The SAB is a subcommittee of the Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy and is led by co-chairs representing business and civil society.
Interagency Working Group: The USNCP Office consults regularly with subject matter experts through an active interagency working group, which includes representatives from the Department of Commerce, the Department of Labor, the Department of the Treasury, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The working group also includes Department of State officials from the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, Office of the Legal Adviser; the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor; the Bureau of Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs; regional country desk officers; and officers at U.S. missions abroad, as appropriate.
Other NCPs: The United States works closely with other country NCPs on a range of matters, including the Specific Instance process. In Specific Instances involving more than one NCP, the Guidelines recommend that the host country NCP (i.e., the country in which the issues have arisen) take the lead, while consulting with the NCP of the home country (the country where the NCP is headquartered). The USNCP follows this approach.