After World War II, Europe was devastated and urgently needed an organized plan for reconstruction, economic, and technical assistance. In 1947, America pledged financial aid for a program on European economic recovery under the ‘Marshall Plan’ to help European countries. To ensure equitable distribution of the funds and proper implementation of the recovery program, Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) was established. In 1961, it was succeeded by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), with headquarters in Paris, France. At present, there are altogether 30 OECD members. OECD’s aim is to strengthen the economies of its member countries through an efficient market system, expansion of free trade, and contribution to sustainable development in industrialized as well as developing countries.
OECD Watch is an international network of 47 NGO’s that was created to facilitate civil society’s activities around the Guidelines and the work of the OECD Investment CommitteeIn 1976, the OECD’s Committee on ‘International Investment and Multinational Enterprises’ (CIME), developed Guidelines for multinational enterprises that represent a set of voluntary principles and standards adopted by governments to which multinational enterprises operating in or from the OECD member countries are expected to adhere. The Guidelines were last revised in the year 2000, when after lengthy negotiations between business, trade union and NGO’s, a new implementation mechanism was agreed giving NGO’s for the first time, the right to submit complaints concerning the activities of companies to OECD member and adhering countries’ ‘National Contact Points’ (NCP’s). NCP’s are government offices established to promote multinational companies adherence to the Guidelines.
The project has been funded by IRENE (International Restructuring Education Network Europe), that is a not-for-profit action research group (a founding member of OECD Watch – See box), based in the Netherlands. The project has an international scope and would be carried out simultaneously in three separate regions of the world, namely Asia, Africa and Latin America. The project aims at identifying the scope and nature of the CSR practices, the role of national legislations in facilitating better environmental and social practices (standards, compliance procedures etc.) and the mechanisms adopted by the corporate groups for community development and participation. To be identified are areas of critical concerns in the implementation, enforcement and compliance procedures of legislations and standards applicable to corporate practices. Particular focus is on environmental issues. The project also looks into the potential of using the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises for improved CSR practices. The Pakistan component involves preparation of extensive capacity building and skills transfer training modules, development of strategies for more pro-active citizen involvement and the holding of a One Day Orientation Workshop on the subject of corporate social responsibility and application of OECD Guidelines targeted at the citizen groups, business and the media. The ‘Workshop would aim at facilitating channels for improving civil society and business interaction and increasing the capacity of civil society groups to effectively monitor the CSR practices of the corporate sector in the country and seek compliance.
The project is being executed in Pakistan jointly by Shehri-Citizens for a Better Environment and Sustainable Initiatives.