OECD

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is a unique international organization that brings together member states and many partners to cooperate in solving critical global issues on national, regional, and local levels. This cooperation is made possible by the governments, politicians, and citizens who represent them, who work together to address globalization’s economic, social, and environmental challenges. Another key priority of the OECD is to be a leading unit in the efforts to help governments respond to new developments and concerns, such as corporate governance, the information economy, and the challenges of an aging population. The organization provides an environment in which governments can share political experience, seek answers to common problems, identify good practices, and work to coordinate domestic and international policies.

OECD GUIDELINES FOR MULTINACIONAL ENTERPRISES

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises were established in 1976 and constitute recommendations addressed by governments to multinational enterprises operating in or by countries that have agreed to adhere to them. They are the only multilaterally approved and comprehensive code of responsible business conduct that governments have committed to promoting by adhering to a specific behavior by a Decision adopted by the OECD Council in the context of the Guidelines. In essence, the Guidelines aim to promote the positive contribution of enterprises to global economic, environmental, and social progress. Through accepted principles and standards, the Guidelines define and improve the way of applying responsible business conduct in the context/framework of several main areas:

  • Human rights;
  • Labor and industrial relations;
  • Environment;
  • Fight against corruption;
  • Consumer interest;
  • Science and technology;
  • Competition;
  • Tax policy.

In 2023 the Guidelines were updated based on the 2011 edition. The 2023 edition of the Guidelines provides updated recommendations for responsible business conduct in key areas such as climate change, biodiversity, technology, business integrity and supply chain due diligence, as well as updated implementation procedures for National Contact Point for Responsible business conduct. 

NATIONAL CONTACT POINT FOR BULGARIA

The National Contact Points began to establish themselves as an increasingly important tool for implementing and promoting policies related to responsible business conduct. That is achieved through the introduction and implementation of national action plans for business and human rights protection, as well as through the performance of their activities to answer inquiries about various regulatory developments.

 

National contact points for responsible business conduct are agencies set up by governments with specific objectives, which are:

  • to promote the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and related guidelines for due diligence;
  • support businesses and their stakeholders to take appropriate measures to encourage compliance with the Guidelines;
  • to handle cases (called “specific cases”) as an out-of-court complaint mechanism;
  • to pass voluntary peer reviews that identify their strengths and areas for improvement.

To be implemented and promoted most effectively, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are to be supported by a unique mechanism of the National Contact Point (NCP), which functions as an agency established by the government that adopted the Guidelines. The effectiveness of the NCP is accomplished through a set of actions, which include undertaking promotional activities, processing inquiries, and contributing to resolving problems that may arise from non-compliance with guidelines in specific instances.

National contact points for responsible business conduct are agencies set up by governments with specific objectives, which are:

  • to promote the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and related guidelines for due diligence;
  • support businesses and their stakeholders to take appropriate measures to encourage compliance with the Guidelines;
  • to handle cases (called “specific instances”) as an out-of-court complaint mechanism;
  • to pass voluntary peer reviews that identify their strengths and areas for improvement.
  • Encourages voluntary compliance with the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises for Responsible Business Conduct;
  • Addressing cases of non-observance of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises for Responsible Business Conduct;
  • NCP considers the submitted inquiries by the Guidelines by accepting for consideration or refusing the submitted cases by the interested parties within a reasonable time;
  • In case of acceptance for consideration of the submitted case for non-observance or received an inquiry, NCP sends the same to the Working Group (WG) for further review and subsequent resolution;
  • NCP assists in the voluntary resolution of cases, concerning the rights of stakeholders under the implementation of the Guidelines, through mediation and concerning the considerations of the WG;
  • Encourages dialogue and finding mutually acceptable solutions for the affected parties concerned while respecting the standards of impartiality, predictability, fairness, and compatibility of the Guidelines and these rules;
  • Responds to inquiries from other NCPs, stakeholders, and national governments on the correct application of the Guidelines and, at its discretion, sends questions for consideration by the WG;
  • Keeps in touch and consults with other NCPs of OECD member and non-member countries, keeping in parallel the received information, practice, and experience public via the websites of the line ministry and BSMEPA and on this NCP website. The function is managed/performed by the head of NCP and assisted by the Secretariat of the NCP accordingly.

The National Contact Point (NCP) of Bulgaria was established by Decision No. 682/17.09.2021, as a permanent mechanism for implementing the Guidelines for Responsible Business Conduct of Multinational Enterprises in Bulgaria. Each country has the flexibility to structure its NCP as long as it functions in accordance with the basic criteria established by the OECD.

The structure of NCP – Bulgaria includes the following bodies:

  1. Head of NCP – Bulgaria
  • With Decision No. 682/17.09.2021, according to point 1, the executive director of the Bulgarian SMEs Promotion Agency who is under the Minister of Innovation and Growth has been designated as the head of the NCP – Bulgaria.
  1. NCP Secretariat
  • Provides administrative, technical and expert support for the NCP and coordination with the WG, organizes the preparation and holding of the WG meetings, ensures the timely distribution of the agenda and materials for the meetings, conducts correspondence related to the work of the WG which is addressed to the chairman of WG and other activities.
  1. Working Group (WG)
  • Each organization participating in the WG appoints a titular member and his deputy;
  • If necessary, ad-hoc and external experts from other departments, the nationally representative organizations of employers and employees, non-governmental organizations and the academic sector could be brought into the WG;
  • The Chairman of the WG is the head of the NCP, which by right this is the executive director of the BSMEPA. In the absence of the Chairman of the WG, his functions are performed by a person expressly authorized by him, a member of the WG or a member of the NCP Secretariat designated by him;
  • WG members:
  • Ministry of Innovation and Growth;
  • Ministry of Economy and Industry;
  • Ministry of Labor and Social Policy;
  • Ministry of Environment and Water;
  • National Revenue Agency;
  • Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association;
  • Bulgarian Industrial Association;
  • Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry;
  • Confederation of Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria;
  • Union for Private Economic Enterprise;
  • Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria;
  • Confederation of Labor “Support”;
  • Center for the Study of Democracy;
  • Bulgarian Association of Specialists in Corporate Social Responsibility (BASCSR);
  • Bulgarian Network of the UN Global Compact.
  1. National Economic Council (NEC)
    • The National Economic Council, in its capacity as a consultative body to the Council of Ministers, is defined as the supervisory body of the Bulgarian NCP and has the functions of monitoring the activity of the NCP.
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PROMOTION OF RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS CONDUCT

One of the missions entrusted by the OECD to NCPs is to support the promotion of OECD Guidelines and standards for responsible business conduct in the context of the adopted Proactive Agenda. In this part, the role of the NCP is related to maintaining constant contact with social partners and other participants in establishing and implementing responsible business conduct. This link aims to identify new trends and emerging practices in responsible business conduct, support positive initiatives by companies that make a positive contribution to economic, social, and environmental progress, and initiate cooperation for identification and response to risks from adverse effects of certain products, regions, sectors, and industries.

For this purpose, specific actions within the scope of NCP have been envisaged:

  • Organizing or participating in regular meetings with other National Contact Points;
  • Providing human and financial resources for the planned activities within the scope of the NCP;
  • They are maintaining active cooperation with the other National Contact Points in case of any cases related to implementing the Guidelines.
  • Promotional activities;
  • Inquiry processing.

SPECIFIC INSTANCES

The Guidelines are the only international instrument supported by governments with a built-in complaint system. This complaint mechanism through the OECD National Contact Points platforms is known as the “Specific Instances”. In case of suspicion/established violations, a specific organization/individual has the opportunity to complain about an undertaking that is alleged to be acting incompatibly with the recommendations in the OECD Guidelines. After the signal, the NCP must take action to hold discussions and assist the parties in finding a solution or commit to addressing the causes that have arisen. These actions must be handled impartial, predictable, and equitable, consistent with the principles and standards described in the Guidelines.

Specific instances do not have the force of legal cases, and the NCP is not a legal body.

Any person/organization having a legitimate interest in an issue may file an instance to the NCP in Bulgaria in the case of a company that has not complied with the OECD Guidelines. The complaint processing goes through three main phases: initial assessment, a proposal for decision, and conclusion.

  • The NCP has established a grievance procedure for promoting an agreement on contentious issues in a way based on dialogue and consensus;
  • Complaints can be filed by individuals and legal entities, trade unions, and NGOs that can show that they have a legitimate interest in an issue;
  • As a non-judicial body for agreements, the Bulgarian NCP offers a platform for dialogue between the parties to help resolve disputes related to the implementation of the OECD standards for responsible business conduct;
  • After filing a complaint, the multinational company is allowed to comment. The NCP performs an initial assessment to determine which complaints it considers to be in-depth;
  • In cases where the NCP accepts the complaint, it proposes moderation and mediation procedures in support of the parties involved;
  • According to this procedure, the NCP conducts talks with the participating parties to reach a solution that is acceptable for both parties;
  • The NCP draws up a protocol concluding the procedure for reaching an agreement. If that is a no-go, it shall publish a final statement, including recommendations for implementing the OECD Guidelines.

Any natural person or organization wishing to complain must complete and send the attached form to the NCP Secretariat at the e-mail address below.

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Address

2/4 Lege St., Sofia 1000, Bulgaria

Phone
+359 (0) 2 940 7940
+ 359 (0) 2 940 7993
Office hours

Monday – Friday  
9:00 am
to 5:30 pm

Specific Instances

Form