ILO revises its landmark Declaration on multinational enterprises



GENEVA (ILO News) ‒ The International Labour Organization has revised its landmark MNE Declaration.

Its principles are aimed at multinational and national enterprises, governments, and employers’ and workers’ organizations in the areas of employment, training, conditions of work and life, and industrial relations as well as general policies. These include the fundamental principles and rights at work but also guidance on many other facets of decent work.

Forty years after the adoption of the original MNE Declaration, multinational enterprises remain key drivers of globalization. Their operations can affect the working and living conditions of people worldwide and they continue to play a vital role in promoting economic and social progress.

The revision of the Declaration by the ILO Governing Body  responds to new economic realities, including increased international investment and trade, and the growth of global supply chains. It also takes into account developments since the last update in 2006 within and outside the ILO, including new labour standards adopted by the International Labour Conference, the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights endorsed by the Human Rights Council in 2011, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development .

The revision has enriched the MNE Declaration by adding principles addressing specific decent work issues related to social security, forced labour, transition from the informal to the formal economy, wages, access to remedy and compensation of victims.

It also provides guidance on “due diligence” processes ‒ consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights ‒ in achieving decent work, , sustainable businesses, more inclusive growth and better sharing of the benefits of FDI, particularly relevant for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 8 .

The MNE Declaration recognizes the different roles and responsibilities of government, enterprises and social partners in achieving its aim of inclusive economic growth and decent work. Its principles are therefore addressed not only to enterprises but also to governments.

“The MNE Declaration provides clear guidance on how enterprises can contribute through their operations worldwide to the realization of decent work.”

Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General

To encourage commitment to the principles of the MNE Declaration by all parties, the Governing Body of the ILO adopted a range of operational tools, including a regional follow-up mechanism, tripartite appointed national focal-points, company-union dialogue, and interpretation procedure of the principles of the MNE Declaration. ILO country-level assistance will also be provided to governments, employers and workers.

“The revised MNE Declaration reflects a robust consensus among governments, employers and workers firmly anchored in today’s realities. The MNE Declaration provides clear guidance on how enterprises can contribute through their operations worldwide to the realization of decent work,” ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, said. “Its recommendations rooted in international labour standards reflect good practices for all enterprises but also highlight the role of government in stimulating good corporate behaviour as well as the crucial role of social dialogue.”

The MNE Declaration is the only global instrument addressing corporate social responsibility and sustainable business practices that was elaborated and adopted in a tripartite manner by governments, employers and workers from around the world.

Information and guidance on the application of the principles of the MNE Declaration is available through the website of the multinational enterprises unit  and further guidance on company operations can be accessed through the ILO Helpdesk for Business ( ).–en/index.htm