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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Corporate Social Responsibility


Fact Sheet
Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs
September 16, 2011

   
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"The core tenets of corporate social responsibility complement both our diplomatic and development efforts. Our history has shown that we are most effective when we see the harmony between our interests abroad and our values at home." --Hillary Rodham Clinton

The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (EB) leads the Department’s engagement with U.S. business in the promotion of responsible and ethical business practices. The team:

  • Promotes a comprehensive approach to CSR in consultation with other bureaus and agencies;
  • Provides guidance and support for American companies engaging in socially responsible, forward-thinking corporate activities; and
  • Partners with the business community, trade unions, associations, NGOs, and other members of civil society to encourage the adoption and implementation of corporate policies that help companies "do well by doing good."

EB PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES

  • Support and Promotion of the OECD MNE Guidelines: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (MNE), newly updated in 2011, are voluntary recommendations, based on a binding commitment among governments with significant input from labor, civil society, and business. EB is the home to the U.S. OECD National Contact Point. The Guidelines are addressed to multinational enterprises to enhance the private sector's contribution to sustainable development in the following areas:
    • Information Disclosure
    • Human Rights
    • Employment and Industrial Relations
    • Environment
    • Combating Bribery
    • Consumer Interests
    • Science and Technology
    • Competition
    • Due Diligence and Supply Chains
       
  • OECD National Contact Point: The United States and the other 41 governments adhering to the Guidelines are obliged to establish a National Contact Point (NCP). The U.S. NCP has the following responsibilities:
    • Promote the Guidelines among business, labor, and other non-governmental sectors, including the general public and the international community.
    • Respond to inquiries and comments from stakeholders and others about the Guidelines.
    • Offer a forum for discussion for stakeholders and governments to contribute to resolution of issues regarding observance of the Guidelines.
       
  • Transparency: EB represents the United States in various multi-stakeholder initiatives:
    • The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative improves revenue transparency in the extractive industries. Extractive sector (oil/gas and mining) transparency is a key part of the U.S. government's good governance promotion, anti-corruption, and energy security strategies. EB has the lead role in USG engagement with the EITI and coordinates policy and outreach efforts.
    • The Kimberley Process is a joint governments, industry, and civil society initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds.
    • The Voluntary Principles on Human Rights were developed to assist companies in maintaining the safety and security of their operations within a framework that ensures respect for human rights.
       
  • Anti-Corruption: EB leads the U.S. delegation to the OECD Working Group on Bribery in International Business Transactions and is consulting with business on governance and accountability issues through the Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society. EB also participates in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Anti-Corruption and Transparency Experts’ Working Group.

  • Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence: EB manages the annual Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) program which recognizes the contributions of American businesses in furthering exemplary practices worldwide and for improving lives at home and abroad. Each fall, the Secretary of State presents the ACE to a small-medium enterprise and a multinational firm at a ceremony held at the Department of State. Nominations are submitted by U.S. Embassies worldwide.

For more information about the work of the State Department’s role in corporate social responsibility, please visit http://www.state.gov/e/eb/eppd/csr or contact CSR@state.gov.



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