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The Relevance and Significance of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises in Switzerland

At a glance

  • Project leader : Herbert Winistörfer
  • Deputy of project leader : Prof. Dr. Claus-Heinrich Daub, Seta Thakur
  • Project team : Verena Berger, Marie-Christin Weber
  • Project status : completed
  • Funding partner : Federal government (Staatssekretariat für Wirtschaft SECO, Direktion für Entwicklung und Zusammenarbeit DEZA)
  • Project partner : Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz FHNW, öbu – Der Verband für nachhaltiges Wirtschaften
  • Contact person : Herbert Winistörfer


In order to fulfill their social responsibility and meet the expectations of stakeholders with regard to sustainable corporate governance, companies often refer to internationally accepted and legitimized standards. Among these standards, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises occupy a special position. By requiring signatory governments to set up a National Contact Point (NCP) and the respective complaints procedure, the Guidelines have a sovereign component that is unique. The study is based on a representative survey on the OECD Guidelines and the NCP and their popularity among and relevance for Swiss companies, compared to other international CSR standards. At the same time, it contributes to raising awareness of the OECD Guidelines and provides information on demand and the possible forms of support for companies concerning the implementation of the OECD Guidelines. In a first step, the reporting of the 500 top-selling Swiss companies as well as often international SMEs was analyzed with regard to the application of international standards for responsible corporate governance, including the OECD Guidelines. This was followed by an online survey of multinational companies headquartered in Switzerland on the awareness and relevance of the OECD Guidelines compared to other standards for responsible corporate governance. The standards of comparison used were the UN Global Compact, the standards of the Global Reporting Initiative, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the Sustainable Development Goals. In order to interpret the results correctly and link them to the personal experience of managers from different companies, a third part of the survey involved focus group interviews with representatives of selected companies.

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